Thomas Jefferson Gunter was the son of Thomas Goodson Gunter of North Carolina and Mary Ann Moore. Thomas Jefferson Gunter was born 2 Sept. 1844 in Tennessee. Thomas married Sarah Ann Delphenia Harkey in Yell County Arkansas on 2 March 1871.
The following was taken from the San Saba County History Book 1856-1983 by the San Saba Historical Commission in 1983 submitted by Elois Clark and Myrtis Byrd.
The Thomas Jefferson Gunter Family moved to San Saba county in 1890. Coming from Yell county near Daranella, Arkansas. The valley where they lived was referred to as Harkey Valley. Quite a number of the Harkey families in that area had already located in San Saba County. One of these was Israel Harkey, who had moved here in 1855. After a few years he went back to Arkansas for his bride, Cansadie Gunter, sister to Thomas Gunter. Thomas Gunter married Delphenia Harkey, daughter of Moses Harkey. So you see, these families were closely related.
Thomas Gunter was 50 years old when he and his family moved to San Saba County. He had been married several years and had eight children. The oldest, James Monroe, John Asa, Cansadia Cordelia, William Pearly, Tempy Jane, Moses Calvin, Fred Neashak, Luvenia Delphenia.
This was an arduous journey, made overland by covered wagons. They arrived safely, however, and were soon settled just north of the San Saba River on what is known as the Clark Farm.
He was what you call a diversified farmer. He always had some cattle and horses, as well as cotton, corn and etc. He also truck farmed, raised everything in the way of food except the few staples needed. During the next few years five more children were born. Namely, Annie Ardeania, Meldie Veola, Thomas Carlton, Henry Olga, and Julia Chestia. Of this group only one is still living, that being Julia and husband, Matthew R. Moore, who now live in Abilene, Texas, near their children.
After several years on the Clark Farm he bought a farm 10 miles north of San Saba in a community known as Fairview and moved his family out there. Their home was a large house built after the style of that day, two large rooms with a large fireplace in each of them, a wide hall and shed rooms on the back, a shed room and a porch on the front. The hallway went all the way through the house. It made a cool place to sit in the summer and there were doors at each end to close it in during the winter. This arrangement gave easy access to all other rooms.
Outside the back door was a large underground cistern that had been blasted out in solid rock. They also had a large walk-in storm underground cellar consisting of several rooms. It was always ready for everyone to go into in case of storms. There were plenty of beds and everything needed such as kerosene lamps, water, food, etc. One room was where all the food that had been canned, preserved during the year was stored. There was also a place to store potatoes and other vegetables to dry.
There were times when things were bad. The Mother died in 1899 when the last child was born. But the family held together. Mr. Gunter married a second time in 1902 to Mrs. Jammia Cowan. She was a very industrious woman helping to take care of the family. She also helped Mr. Gunter, our Grandfather, raise a garden from which they canned and dried lots of vegetables. Mrs. Gunter raised lots of chickens for meat and eggs.
Now he (our grandfather) was a good student of the Bible, and was a very active Christian. He was instrumental in starting congregations in areas where there was none. He had an outgoing personality--never meeting a stranger. He also loved to joke and play pranks in fun. He loved people and on Sunday after church he would invite all who would to go home with him for "dinner." Mrs. Gunter, "Grandma," was a wonderful cook and spent Friday and Saturday preparing the Sunday dinner. With all the canned vegetables and fruit they had, it was not too much trouble to fix scrumptious meals.
I can remember Grandpa calling his friends to contest. One was his kicking ability. He could stand flat footed and kick the top of the door facing.
He always wore a long beard. One day when he went into town, he decided to have it shaved off. He had not shaved in 40 years. When he came by on the way home no one recognized him. When he got home Aunt Julia and Grandma did not recognize him. He had to tell them who he was.
Tragedy struck the family again in 1918 during World War I. The two younger sons died in the Fall from influenza. Both were married at the time, leaving families.
Mr. Gunter retired in 1920. He sold the farm to Dr. Faris A. Bass, a dentist in San Saba and bought a home one mile east of San Saba and lived there until he passed away in 1932. Not too long after his death the house caught fire and it all the contents burned to the ground. Mrs. Gunter lived with one of her granddaughters until her death.
Return to the Daniel/Collier homepage