BIOGRAPHY and GENEALOGY
(b. ca. 1765 d. 1835)
MARSHALL COUNTY, ALABAMA
One of the first persons to settle in Marshall County was John Gunter, a Scotsman who migrated from North Carolina after the Revolutionary War around 1785. He found a salt deposit and decided to settle near the Tennessee River and trade with the Cherokees The Cherokees originally had a village near the site of Red Hill, a point about twelve miles southeast from Guntersville. The town of Guntersville, Alabama is named after John Gunter.
“Chief Bushyhead, head of the Paint Clan, brought his beautiful 15-year-old daughter, Ghe-Go-He-Li, to exchange for Gunter’s salt. Gunter accepted the offer and changed his bride’s name to Katherine and Chief Bushyhead and Gunter signed a treaty stating “as long as the grass grows and the waters flow the Indians can have salt.
John and Katherine Gunter had seven children.
His son Edward Gunter served with Gen. Andrew Jackson at the battle of Horseshoe Bend and stayed with him throughout the war. He started a ferry across the Tennessee River in 1818 and had seven children by two marriages. At times, he was also called Edmond or Ned.
Sam Gunter, another son, died on Town Creek in Alabama about 1835. He left a son George Gunter, who became a captain in the Second Cherokee Mounted Guards during the Civil War.
His third son, John Gunter, Jr. became a leader among his people and was his father’s favorite. “He was described as a wild and reckless spender. He moved to the Indian Territory and operated a store at Webber Falls and also owned a steamboat that plied between Cincinnati, Ohio, and his hometown of Gunter’s Landing. He died aboard his boat of smallpox and was buried below Morrilton on the Arkansas River.”
John and Katherine had four daughters and only Aky was not mentioned in the will. She may have died early after she married Alexandre McCoy. They did not have children.
Their daughter Catherine Gunter was born in 1811 in Alabama and moved to the Indian Territory in 1838. She married Oliver W. Lipe the following year and they operated a store at Tahlequah. They had six children: Dewitt Clinton Lipe, born Feb. 17, 1840; Nancy Gunter Lipe, born in 1844 and killed in a skirmish near Fort Gibson in 1826; Jennie Lipe, born in 1846 and married P. M. Blackstone, died in 1894; Clark C. Lipe, born in 1853, died in 1901; Oliver Lipe died in infancy and Fanny Lipe, born 1853, died when she was 16.
Another daughter, Elizabeth Gunter was born in 1804. She married Martin M. Shrimsher at Creek Path in 1831. They had a son John Gunter Shrimsher, born in 1835 who served as captain in the Confederate Army and was twice sheriff of Cooweescoowee District, Indian Territory. He later served as judge and senator of that district but was killed by lightning July 5, 1905. His mother Elizabeth Gunter Shrimsher died in his home near Claremore in 1877.
A third daughter, Martha Gunter married Hugh Henry. He was the father of the present heads of the house of Henry in Madison. County. Her father John Gunter evidently disliked Hugh Henry because in his will he left Martha the same amount of money as his other children but that her brothers be in charge of it so Hugh Henry could not get it. Martha later married Dick Blackburn and moved to Indian Territory, and settled at Fort Smith, Arkansas. Albert G. Henty and Patrick Henry were two of their children or grandchildren and were reliable, safe merchants in the wholesale markets in Marshall County
“John Gunter was described as a man of great ability and exemplary character. The Cherokees admired him and accepted him into their tribe. After other white settlers arrived, Gunter was called on by both the whites and Indians to act as a mediator in disputes and treaties. Before his death in 1835, He became a wealthy landowner and an influential person in the area.”
John and Katherine’s home was located at the foot of the hill near the present George Houston Bridge for many years. The large double-story house had a “dog trot” hall between the double partitions. The house was “L” shaped and had a large smokehouse at the end of the “L” It was the largest structure in the county for many years, and when John Gunter, Jr. acquired it, he painted it white and it became known as the “White House”
- Northern Alabama History
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