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Hunters Hill was the home of Andrew Hunter, Charles Town lawyer and one of the prosecuting attorneys in the John Brown trial in 1859. During the Civil War, Hunters Hill was burned on July 17, 1864 by Union forces under the orders of Union General David Hunter, Andrew Hunter's first cousin. After the war Andrew Hunter rebuilt his home on the original foundations, the structure that exists today. In the 2000s the old mansion suffered from neglect and was threatened with demolition, but was saved in 2016 when a private family purchased Hunters Hill with the intention to restore it.

Hunters Hill

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Andrew Hunter (West Virginia State Archives)

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Union General David Hunter ordered the destruction of Hunters Hill in 1864

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General David Hunter's orders to burn the property of Andrew Hunter

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Hunters Hill

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Hunters Hill

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Prior to 2016 the home was empty, in disrepair, and threatened with demolition.

Plant, Property, Building, Window

Hunter’s Hill was the home of Andrew Hunter, best known for his role as a prosecuting attorney in the trial of John Brown and his raiders. Hunter was born March 22, 1804, graduated from Hampden-Sydney College, and then studied law. He settled in Charles Town and originally had a home on E Washington Street before moving to Hunter’s Hill. Hunter was involved in Whig politics in the 1840s and was a member of the Virginia Constitutional Convention in 1850. Hunter maintained his law practice in Charles Town and after John Brown’s 1859 raid on Harpers Ferry Governor Henry A. Wise asked Hunter to assist the county attorney with the prosecution of Brown and the other raiders.

During the Civil War Andrew Hunter supported the Confederacy and his property at Hunter’s Hill was burned in July 1864 at the orders of his cousin, Union General David Hunter. The destruction of the house was part of a series of attacks against private property between David Hunter and Confederate General Jubal Early in the summer of 1864. First, Hunter led a raid into Virginia, burning the Virginia Military Institute and the home of Governor John Letcher at Lexington. In response, Early pressed north in a campaign to threaten Washington, D.C. during which his troops burned the house of U.S. Postmaster General Montgomery Blair. Then in July 1864 Hunter ordered the destruction of his cousin’s Hunter’s Hill as well as Fountain Rock and the home of Edmund and Henrietta Lee (a cousin to Robert E. Lee). On July 17, 1864 Captain William F. Martindale carried out Hunter’s orders to burn Hunter’s Hill and Andrew Hunter was held in custody for about a month before being released. Supposedly in retaliation for the destruction of these private homes, General Early sent two brigades of cavalry and an artillery battery to Chambersburg under Brigadier General John McClausland to demand a ransom or burn the town.

After the Civil War, around 1866, Andrew Hunter rebuilt his home on the original foundation and lived at Hunters Hill until his death in 1888.

The mansion fell into disrepair in recent years, but in 2016 a couple purchased and began to restore it. 

Bushong, Millard Kessler. A History of Jefferson County, West Virginia. Charles Town, WV: Jefferson Publishing Company, 1941.

Engle, Stephen Douglas. Thunder in the Hills: Military Operations in Jefferson County, West Virginia, During the American Civil War. Charleston, WV: Mountain State Press, 1989.

"West Virginia Historic Property Inventory Form: 'Hunters Hill'/Andrew Hunter Home." Accessed February 12, 2021.

Image Sources(Click to expand)

"Hunters Hill" Facebook. September 20, 2017. Accessed February 12, 2021.

""His Soul Goes Marching On": The Life and Legacy of John Brown--A West Virginia Archives and History Online Exhibit." West Virginia Archives and History. Accessed February 12, 2021.

"David Hunter." Wikipedia. Accessed February 12, 2021.

The War of the Rebellion: a Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies. Series.1:vol.37:pt.2:Correspondence. p. 367-368. Accessed February 12, 2021.

"Hunters Hill" Facebook. April 13, 2018. Accessed February 12, 2021.

"Hunters Hill" Facebook. April 22, 2019. Accessed February 12, 2021.

"Hunters Hill" Facebook. April 4, 2019, Accessed February 12, 2021.