Robert P. Hunter, M.D.

Robert Hunter, grandfather of our subject, was born in Westmoreland county, in 1782, and was one of the first settlers of Indiana county. He married Miss Mary Lawrence, a native of New Jersey, born in the year 1781. There were born to this pair fourteen children, nearly all of whom grew to maturity. The father died in Jacksonville, Indiana county, in 1861, surviving his wife three years.

John M. Hunter, father of the subject of this sketch, was born June 12, 1807, and lived all of his life in his native county, dying in Blairsville March 28, 1868. He was married May 30, 1830, to Miss Annie Reese Banks, who was born in this state October 10, 1810. She died August 16, 1875, in Leechburgh, where she had come to reside with her son. Nine children were born of this union, whose names, together with dates of their births, are as follows: Joshua Banks, born November 5, 1832; Mary A., born October 23, 1835; Robert P., January 23, 1837; William I., September 29, 1839; Ella M. (wife of Dr. W. H. Kern, of McKeesport), August 16, 1842; Morgan R., April 4, 1844; John A., August 20, 1846 (the last-named became a physician; was elected to the legislature, and died upon the day he became a member of that body); Milton C. was born August 7, 1850 and J. Irwin, June 10, 1855.

Of the above, Joshua Banks, Morgan R. and John A. served their country in the war for the Union.

Of the above, those who are deceased, besides John A., are William I. and Mary A., who became the wife of William F. Boyer, in 1855. John M. Hunter, the father of these children, followed shoemaking most of his life, but during the years 1854 and 1855 was a foreman on the Pennsylvania canal, under his son-in-law, Mr. Boyer, who was the superintendent.

Robert P. Hunter began the study of medicine under his uncle, Dr. Mr. R. Banks, of Livermore, Westmoreland county, in 1862. Prior to this time he had worked on the Pennsylvania canal under his father for two years, and had taught school during the winter months for five years. The proceeds of both his manual and intellectual labor were saved with commendable economy and prudence, and supplemented by his limited earnings from the practice of his profession after he had taken a few lectures, enabled him to obtain a thorough professional education at the Jefferson Medical College of Philadelphia. Doubtless he studied harder and with better results from the fact that he had earned by hard work the means necessary to pay his way through college.

His first course of lectures was taken in 1864, and he graduated, standing well in his class, in 1869. He first located in Leechburg to follow his profession, May 9, 1865, and has been permanently and prosperously engaged in practice there since his graduation.

He is a man who finds exercise for his energies outside of his profession, although the greater part of his time and attention is devoted to it. In 1873 he was one of the leading spirits in organizing the Leechburgh bank, and has been a stockholder and director in the institution continuously since, until 1880. He was also among the first to bring fine short-horn cattle into the county, procuring them in Kentucky in 1878. As a result of the interest he has felt in good stock and the action he took to secure it, there are now many fine blooded cattle and horses in the immediate vicinity. Dr. Hunter served two terms as burgess of Leechburgh, and during the Pittsburgh railroad riots was surgeon-in-chief of Gen. Harry White's staff, 9th division, N. G., having been commissioned by Gov. Hartranft December 29, 1875. On June 29, 1882, he was made president of the Armstrong County Prohibitory Amendment Association, a temperance organization which met in Kittanning upon that date. He is an elder of the Presbyterian church of Leechburg, and superintendent of its Sunday school. Highly respected both as physician and citizen, Dr. Hunter occupies a useful position in the community, and is an active worker for good.

Upon May 18, 1875, Dr. Hunter was united in marriage with Miss Rebecca Hill, daughter of Daniel and Eliza (Kuhns) Hill, who was born in Armstrong county June 30, 1853. They have had three children -- John A. H., born June 18, 1876; Anna Lyda, born January 10, 1878, and Robert K., born October 19, 1879, all of whom are living.

Source: Page(s) 605, History of Armstrong County, Pennsylvania by Robert Walker Smith, Esq. Chicago: Waterman, Watkins & Co., 1883.
July 2000 by James R. Hindman for the Armstrong County Smith Project.
Contributed by James R. Hindman for use by the Armstrong County Genealogy Project (

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