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Pleasant Hunter Family papers

 Collection 0280-MDHC

This collection contains a group of business-related letters, addressed to a Pleasant Hunter, mainly from correspondents in Annapolis and Baltimore. Hunter was active in local politics and was the county sheriff of Baltimore County for many years. Also includes letters addressed to Sheriff Hunter's daughter, Laura ("Lida") Hunter in which the women describe their families, personal relationships and jobs.


  • 1852-1890
  • Majority of material found within 1860-1870

Use and Access to Collection

The collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Photocopies or digital surrogates may be provided in accordance with Special Collections and University Archives duplication policy.

Copyright resides with the creators of the documents or their heirs unless otherwise specified. It is the researcher's responsibility to secure permission to publish materials from the appropriate copyright holder.

Archival materials may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal and/or state right to privacy laws or other regulations. While we make a good faith effort to identify and remove such materials, some may be missed during our processing. If a researcher finds sensitive personal information in a collection, please bring it to the attention of the reading room staff.


105 Items

Scope and Content of Collection

The Pleasant Hunter Family papers date from 1852 to 1890 and consist primarily of personal correspondence between Pleasant Hunter's daughter, Eliza ("Lida") Hunter, and her cousins and friends, dating from 1860 to 1870. Also included is other family correspondence, including letters to Pleasant Hunter and his wife, Margaret. Topics covered include daily activities, weather, places visited, illnesses, weddings, births, and deaths. A portion of the collection documents Pleasant Hunter's business and political activities, primarily dealing with financial matters. Correspondents include Joshua Frederick ("Fred") Cockey Talbott, U. S. Congressman from Maryland.

Family History

Pleasant Hunter was born in Maryland in 1810 and lived his adult life in Baltimore County in the area of Parkton and Wiseburg along York Road. He was a farmer, an innkeeper, a Baltimore County sheriff (1853), a member of the Board of County Commissioners (1851-1852 and 1875-1876), and a delegate to the Maryland General Assembly (1860-1861). During the 1850s he also collected taxes and other monies. In 1875 he ran on the "Potato Bug" ticket, a third party comprised of Republicans and Democrats who wanted a change in the county Democratic leadership.

In 1839 Pleasant Hunter married Margaret Smyser (b.1820) at the Saint James Protestant Parish, Baltimore. Between 1841 and 1866, Pleasant and Margaret produced nine children. Their son, Pleasant, who was born in 1855, became a clergyman who married and subsequently moved to Minnesota. Peter (b.1841) was a farmer; Thomas (b. 1845) a lawyer; and Silas (b.1849) a physician. All three married and settled in Baltimore County. The oldest daughter, Eliza (b.1843), also known as "Lida," was educated at Linden Hall Seminary in Lititz, Pennsylvania. She died of consumption on April 18, 1872. Clara lived and died in the 1850s. Maggie Eloise (b.1866) died at age seven on January 16, 1873, of scarlet fever. Mary (b.1847) and Laura (b.1857) were living with their parents in 1870; in 1880 only Laura was still at home.

Pleasant Hunter died at his home in Wiseburg on May 2, 1894. Three sons (Thomas, Silas, and Pleasant) and one daughter (possibly Laura), and several grandchildren survived him. In 2001, the Baltimore County Council placed the Pleasant Hunter House and Smokehouse at 18213 York Road, Parkton, on its Landmarks List.


The collection is organized into two series:

  1. Series 1: Family Correspondence
  2. Series 2: Business Correspondence

Custodial History and Acquisition Information

The University of Maryland Libraries purchased the Pleasant Hunter Family papers from Carmen D. Valentino, a rare books and manuscripts dealer, in 1996.

Related Material

Researchers may consult the following works in the Maryland Room:

  1. Clemens, Shirley B. From Marble Hill to Maryland Line. [s.l. : s.n., 1976] (UMCP HBK Maryland Room, Maryland Folio F187.B2C55)
  2. O'Neill, Francis P. Index of Obituaries and Marriages in the (Baltimore) Sun, 1871-1875. Westminster, Md., Family Line Publications, 1995. (UMCP HBK Maryland Room, Maryland Stacks F189.B153A253 1995)
  3. Scharf, J. Thomas. History of Baltimore City and County. Baltimore, Regional Pub. Co., 1971. (UMCP HBK Maryland Room, Maryland Reference F189.B1S3 1971)

Processing Information

The materials were placed in acid-free folders and stored in an acid-free box. One item, a flyer from the Central Congregational Church, was added to the Maryland Manuscripts collection as MDMS 5493.

Guide to the Pleasant Hunter Family papers
Processed by Terry Ann Sayler.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English

Library Details

Part of the Special Collections and University Archives

University of Maryland Libraries
Hornbake Library
4130 Campus Drive
College Park Maryland 20742