Directly north of Stratton lies the Town of Hunter, which derives its name from the early settlers of that name
who, from the time of their arrival became leading men in the county. The town comprises 20,480 acres (32 sections)
of land, the greater part of which is prairie. The tract of 2,000 acres, once owned by Henry Clay of Kentucky and
known as “Clay’s Prairie,” is in this town. The markets of the people of Hunter are Vermilion and Paris, either
of which is convenient and easily accessible over the graveled highway by which these places are connected with
farms in the town. In the Town of Hunter the first settlers were Murphy, Brown, Blackburn, Wilson, the Hunters,
Bolands, Curtis, Mayo, Patrick, David, McCulloch, Keys and Camerer.
Henry Clay during the ‘30’s purchased two thousand acres of fine land in what was then Wayne Precinct— now in the
Town of Hunter — and later he caused a dwelling to be built of hewed logs, two stories high, with a gallery all
around both above and below; also stables for horses and cattle, and prepared to raise fine stock. He sent his
son “Tom,” as he was familiarly called, to this place as the manager. Tom soon fell in with the free and easy ways
of Western life; in fact, was already bred and born to them in Kentucky. The first thing he did was to make a track
upon which to train and speed the thoroughbred horses his father had sent out from Kentucky. He was fond of whisky
and poker, hospitable as a prince, and prodigal in his dispensation of it. This outfit was luxurious for that time
in Edgar County, and his methods soon brought the kind of companions he enjoyed, and he led a rollicking life while
it lasted, but Mr. Clay soon found it would cost less to keep Tom in Kentucky, so he sold his lands and stock and
withdrew from Illinois.
In the Town of Hunter there is a Catholic church, the St. Aloysius, and three Methodist churches.
Bituminous coal has been developed and is now being mined near the east line of the town. The stratum being worked
is four feet eight inches thick and ninety feet below the surface. Another stratum of superior coal, seven feet
thick, lies below this some two hundred feet. Coal underlies the town everywhere, and promises to become a large
element of the future wealth of the land owners of Hunter Township.
TOWN OFFICERS.— E. B. Blackman, Supervisor; L. D. Frazier, Town Clerk; J. K. Blanford, Assessor; T. F. Egan, Collector;
M. B. Fresner, John T. Wilson, Justices of the Peace; Rulla Fulby, W. H. McCarthy, Constables; James Hunter, William
Grady, W. T. B. Murphy, Commissioners of Highways.