JOHN HUNTER HOUSE
This report was written on August 20, 1981
1. Name and location of the property: The property known as the
John Hunter House is located at 5607 Sardis Road, between Shasta Lane and
Livingston Drive, Charlotte, North Carolina, 28211.
2. Name, address and telephone number of the present owner and
occupant of the property: The present owner of the property is:
James P. Hammond and his wife, Ann A. Hammond
5607 Sardis Road
Charlotte, North Carolina, 28211
3. Representative photographs of the property: This report
contains representative photographs of the property.
4. A map depicting the location of the property: This report
contains a map which depicts the location of the property.
Click on the map to browse
5. Current Deed Book reference to the property: The most recent
deed to this property is listed in Mecklenburg County Deed Book 3451 at page
449. The current tax parcel number of the property is 185-142-39.
6. A brief historical sketch of the property: This report contains
a brief historical sketch of the property by Dr. William H. Huffman, Ph.D.
7. A brief architectural description of the property: This report
contains a brief architectural description of the property by Mary Alice
8. Documentation of why and in what ways the property meets the
criteria set forth in N.C.G.S. 160A-399.4:
a. Special significance in terms of its history, architecture,
and/or cultural importance: The Commission judges that the property
known as the John Hunter House does possess special historic significance
in terms of Charlotte-Mecklenburg. The Commission bases its judgment on
the following considerations: (1) the house, erected c. 1869, is a
well-preserved example of a vernacular Greek Revival farmhouse and is one
of the few remnants of the built environment of the old Sardis Township;
and (2) the house was erected for Reverend John Hunter, a prominent and
long-time pastor of Sardis A.R.P. Presbyterian Church, now Sardis
b. Integrity of design, setting, workmanship, materials, feeling
and/or association: The Commission judges that the architectural
description included herein demonstrates that the property known as the
John Hunter House meets the criterion.
9. Ad Valorem Tax Appraisal: The Commission is aware that
designation would allow the owner to apply annually for an automatic
deferral of 50% of the Ad Valorem taxes on all or any portion of the
property which becomes unhistoric property." The current Ad Valorem tax
appraisal on the John Hunter House is $23,560.00. The current Ad Valorem tax
appraisal on the .9 acres of land is $8,500.00. The land is zoned R15.
Date of Preparation of this Report: August 20, 1981
Prepared by: Dr. Dan L. Morrill, Director
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historic Properties Commission
3500 Shamrock Drive
Charlotte, North Carolina 28215
Dr. William H. Huffman
Following a fire in 1869 which burned an original Civil War deed to some
of his property, the Reverend John Hunter constructed a new house in rural
Sharon Township in Mecklenburg County.1
John Hunter's grandfather, Henry Hunter (1751-1836), had emigrated from
Ireland in the early 1770's, and volunteered for service in Capt. William
Alexander's Company during the Revolutionary War, in which he helped defend
Charlotte against the British. He was also a founder and longtime ruling
elder of Prosperity A.R.P. Church in the county. 2
John Hunter was born November 13, 1814, in Mecklenburg County, the second
of ten children born to Henry and Martha Hunter. In 1841, he graduated from
Jefferson College in Pennsylvania and began his theological studies in
Divinity Hall, Due West, S.C., following which he was licensed by the First
Presbytery on April 18, 1843. The following year he was ordained and
installed as the minister of Back Creek, Prosperity and Gilead Churches in
Mecklenburg County. In 1859, Rev. Hunter was installed at Sardis
Presbyterian Church, a post he held for 27 years until overtaken by ill
health in 1886. 3
Two days after receiving his license, Rev. Hunter was married to Isabella
Peoples of the county, with whom he had four children, Jane Eliza
(1846-1863); Richard Brown (1848-1926); Margaret Alice (1850-1875); and
Lester Walker (1853-1937). 4 Following Isabella's death in 1859,
the minister married Mrs. Martha Simonton Bell, of Fairfield Co., S.C. in
1861. 5 The second Mrs. Hunter died in 1864, and Reverend Hunter
subsequently was married a third time, to Mary Ann McDill of Chester, S.C.
in 1866.6 In 1860 and during the Civil War, the Presbyterian
minister acquired the property on Sardis Road for the homesite which would
be his residence for the last twenty years of his life.7 (A
description of the house and surrounding area may be found in an attached
research paper by a former Queens College student, Rosa Wall Sanabury dated
In 1886, illness forced his retirement, and almost four years later, Rev.
Hunter died on May 16, 1890. 8 The following day his funeral was
held in the Sardis Church, which was attended by a large number of the
minister's friends and relatives. In his will, John Hunter left the "Home
Place" to his son, Lester Walker Hunter. 10 Dr. Lester Hunter was
a "venerable and long-honored physician of Mecklenburg County." He was
educated at Erskine College, Due West, S.C., the College of Physicians and
Surgeons at Baltimore and Bellvue Hospital, New York City. After graduating
from the latter in March, 1875, Dr. Hunter settled in a house near his
father's on Sardis Road, began his rural horseback practice of nearly sixty
years, and married later that same year. He died in 1937 at the age of
eighty-four, and was survived by ten children. 11
In 1898, Dr. Lester Hunter sold the Home Place as a parcel of 20.1 acres
to his older brother, Richard Brown Hunter. 12 R. B. Hunter was
also educated at Erskine College, served in the Civil War, and, in addition
to farming the home place, became a longtime schoolteacher. In 1890 and
1891, he served as County Superintendent of Education, and was active in the
civic affairs of the county. When he was sixty-seven, R. B. Hunter sold the
homestead to his daughter, Eliza Isabella Hunter Alexander and her husband,
Ellis U. Alexander in 1915.14 The Alexanders owned the house for
thirty years, and it was during their ownership and that of R. B. Hunter
that the house was modernized to its present appearance with plumbing and
electricity added. 15
Mr. Alexander died in 1934,16 but Mrs.Alexander continued to
own the house until she sold it to her brother, Oscar Cannon Hunter
(1870-1962), now with a lot size of 7.25 acres in 1945. 17 O. C.
Hunter, a farmer and lumberman of the Sardis area, resold a 4/5 interest in
the house later that same year to another brother, John Lester Hunter
(1876-1957) and kept 1/5 interest for himself.18 John Lester
Hunter also graduated from Erskine, and spent many years working for the
YMCA, including twenty years as YAM secretary for the state of Arkansas.
Upon his death in 1957, the house was willed to John Lester Hunter's son,
John Morton Hunter of Liken, S.C., who also purchased the remaining l/5
interest from the son and heir of Oscar Cannon Hunter.20 In 1964,
J. M. Hunter sold the Sardis Road house to William and Olivia Sells21,
and, in 1972, the former home of the rural Presbyterian minister was
purchased by the present owners, James P. and Ann A. Hammond.22
There is no question that the rich history surrounding the John Hunter
house is indeed the history of the Sardis area of Mecklenburg County itself,
and for that reason the dwelling and its environs eminently deserve
designation as a historical site.
1 Deed Book 6, p. 89.
2 William M. Hunter, The Hunter Family (Charlotte: The
Observer Publishing House, 1920), pp 12-13.
3 Ibid., p. 93; monument in Sardis Presbyterian Church
4 Ibid., pp. 93-6.
5 Monument in Sardis Presbyterian Church cemetery.
6 The Hunter Family, p. 97.
7 Deed Book 4, p. 514; Deed Book 6, p. 89.
8 The Hunter Family, p. 93.
9 The Charlotte Chronicle, May 18, 1890, p. 6.
10 Will Book 1, p. 502.
11 Charlotte Observer, Oct. 28, 1937, p. 1; The Hunter
Family, p. 96.
12 Deed Book 156, p. 87, 14 Dec. 1898.
13 Charlotte Observer, Nov. 8, 1926; The Hunter Family,
14 Deed Book 340, p. 258, 17 Aug. 1915.
15 Interview with Catherine Deimer, Aiken, S.C., by Rosa Wall
Sansbury 22 March 1978.
16 Monument in Sardis Presbyterian Church cemetery.
17 Deed Book 1135, p. 629, 22 Mar. 1945.
18 Deed Book 1157, p. 270, 23 Jug. 1945.
19 Charlotte Observer, April 24, 1957, p. 7B.
20 Will Book 14, p. 415.
21 Deed Book 2504, p. 510, 28 Feb. 1964.
22 Deed Book 3451, p. 449, 5 July 1972.
The Hunter-Hammond House is a vernacular
Greek Revival farmhouse standing on a .98-acre site surrounded by a
low-density suburban neighborhood. The building is an exceptionally
well-preserved example of the unpretentious genre of weatherboarded frame
construction that flourished in the rural Piedmont during the middle of the
19th century, Although the Hunter-Hammond House was built about 1869, its
framing and modest wooden ornamentation continue traditions popular in the
vicinity for several decades before the Civil War.
The house is a weatherboarded
frame structure standing on a raised brick foundation. The house is
organized as an L-plan with a two-and-a-half story main block, three bays
wide and two deep, and a one-story rear wing, two bays wide and five deep.
The main block is covered by a transverse
gable roofs. Two gables faced with imbricated shake
shingles pierce the attic roof line along the main (south) facade.
Molded cornice returns frame single-shoulder exterior end chimneys along the
eastern and western side elevations. The chimneys, built of brick laid in
common bond, have slightly corbeled caps which intersect the apex of the
molded gable end at either side.
Fenestration consists primarily of six-over-six
sash windows, flanked,along the main facade, by louvered shutters.
Beaded corner-posts articulate the facade edges and frame a one-story shed
porch extending almost the full length of the facade. Chamfered posts and
beaded pilasters carry the porch roof. A slender balustrade links posts and
pilasters. The inner porch wall is sheathed with flush beaded horizontal
siding. The central entrance is a single-leaf door carrying four flat panels
in two vertical tiers. A six-light
transom surmounts the door; to either side stand three engaged columns
enclosing five-light sidelights. Flat-paneled aprons beneath the
sidelights are in proportion to the porch pilasters and facade corner
The rear wing, built along the northwest corner of the main block, is
covered by a gable set at a right angle to the main roof. The rear (kitchen)
chimney is built of brick laid in
running bond and terminates in a slightly corbeled cap. In the second
quarter of the 20th century a demi-hexagonal bay was added to the western
elevation of the rear wing. The bay contains two six-over-six sash and one
eight-over-eight sash. Other rear additions include an enclosed porch and
two bathes a second-story bath, one bay square, is attached to the center
rear bay and a first-story bath, one bay deep and two bays long, runs
beneath it. Each of these additions is weatherboarded (except for the
enclosed porch) and covered by a shed roof. The additions are relatively
unobtrusive and consonant with the typical front-to-back growth patterns of
the typical Greek Revival Piedmont farmhouse.
The interior of the main block features a center hall plan one room deep.
The center hall, faced with flush siding, contains an open string two-run
stair with a half-turn landing. The lower run stair in anchored by two
newel posts, each capped by a ball on a chamfered plinth; the upper run
is anchored by chamfered newels capped by truncated pyramidal knobs.
balusters support a molded
The house contains five wooden mantels; four in the main block and one in
the kitchen. All of the mantels, except the utilitarian kitchen mantel, are
decorated with simple geometric inventions. The mantel in the first story
eastern room has engaged colonettes and a blank frieze flanked by end blocks
surmounted by a mantel shelf. An unusual band of dog's teeth molding
underlines the frieze. The mantel in the room above has plain uprights
supporting a molded bracket shelf above a blank frieze. A band of notched
molding runs along the lower border of the frieze. The mantel in the first
story western room has plain uprights above flat-paneled beaded plinths. The
frieze features three semi-circular cut-out reliefs terminated in flattened
angular drops. The mantel in the room above has chamfered engaged posts
standing on blank plinths. The frieze is ornamented with a double-curve
cut-out beneath a boldly rounded mantel shelf.
Trim throughout the house is simple. Molded cornices, base-boards, and
chair rails enclose the ground story rooms of the main block. Ceilings are
laid in flush siding. Second story trim is similar but plainer and omits the
molded chair rail. Doors and windows, except in the remodeled rear wing, are
set within plain surrounds. Most of the interior doors carry two rectangular