J. Marvin Hunter

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John Marvin Hunter
Born(1880-03-18)March 18, 1880
Mason County, Texas, USA
DiedJune 29, 1957(1957-06-29) (aged 77)
Kerrville, Kerr County, Texas
OccupationJournalist; Historian; Printer
ResidenceBandera, Bandera County, Texas
GenreAmerican West
Spouse(1) Hattie Westerman (died soon after marriage in 1901)
(2) Susie Rogers Hunter (married 1903-1957, his death)
ChildrenFour children

John Marvin Hunter (March 18, 1880 – June 29, 1957) was an author, historian, journalist, and printer who founded the Frontier Times Museum in Bandera, Texas. The museum, which contains about 40,000 artifacts of the American West, opened in 1933. It is named for Hunter's Frontier Times magazine, which was first published in 1923.[1]


Hunter was born to John Warren Hunter and the former Mary Ann Calhoun in Loyal Valley in Mason County, Texas, and was raised in the communities of San Saba, Menard, and Mason. He left school to work for his father’s newspaper, the Mason Herald. He later worked for newspapers called The Times in both Llano and Comfort, Texas, the latter publication which he had founded but soon abandoned. In 1899, he plunged into the tasks of Two Republics, a bilingual daily in Mexico City. After the Mexican government suppressed the paper, Hunter returned to the United States.[2]

After working for other newspapers and trying his hand as a rancher in Kimble County, Hunter settled permanently in Bandera in the Texas Hill Country, where he published the Bandera New Era from 1921–1935 and the Bandera Bulletin from 1945 until his death twelve years later. Hunter published 16 papers, many of which were four-page weeklies set by hand. He also wrote western history books and printed brochures and other publications on a contract basis. Besides Frontier Times, he published the defunct Hunter’s Magazine and Hunter’s Frontier Magazine.[2]

In 1925, Hunter posthumously published the autobiography of outlaw John Wesley Hardin.[2] His books include Pioneer History of Bandera County: Seventy-five Years of Intrepid History (1922), The Bloody Trail in Texas (1931), Old Camp Verde, the Home of the Camels (1939), a reference to Jefferson Davis's 1850s camel experiment in the Southwest, Cooking Recipes of the Pioneers (1948), and Peregrinations of a Pioneer Printer (1954). His own autobiography and The Story of Lottie Deno: Her Life and Times (1959) appeared after his death. He also edited The Trail Drivers of Texas (1920 and 1923) and co-authored Album of Gunfighters (1951).[2]

In June 1940, Frontier Times published "The Old Chisholm Trail" by the journalist Elmo Scott Watson, who earlier had discovered the old-time cowboy Frank H. Maynard working as a nightwatchman at the Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo in Colorado Springs, Colorado.[3][4]

Hunter envisioned the museum as a sales vehicle for his books and other materials. After Hunter’s death, the Doan Foundation, named for Chicago industrialist F.B. Doan, acquired the museum. In 1972, the foundation bequeathed the facility to the museum's board of trustees.[1] As an oral historian, Hunter was fortunate in that many of the frontier settlers, cattlemen, and pioneers were still living at the time he did the majority of his research and writing. In July 2009, the Frontier Times Museum posthumously inducted Hunter along with folklorist J. Frank Dobie and marksman Joe Bowman into its newly established Texas Heroes Hall of Honor.

Personal life[edit]

Hunter was a member of the Church of Christ. His first wife, the former Hattie Westerman, died soon after their marriage. In December 1903, he wed the former Susie Rogers (June 25, 1884 – December 1984)[5] in December 1903. The couple had four children, all of whom Hunter trained as printers. Hunter died in Kerrville north of Bandera at the age of seventy-seven.[6]


  • Hunter, J Marvin (2010) [1920]. The Trail Drivers of Texas: Interesting Sketches of Early Cowboys... University of Texas Press. ISBN 978-0-292-79317-0.
  • Hunter, J Marvin (1922). Pioneer History of Bandera County: Seventy-five Years of Intrepid History. Hunter's Printing House.
  • Hunter, J Marvin (1931). The Bloody Trail in Texas.
  • Hunter, J Marvin (1937). Horrors of Indian Captivity. Frontier Times.
  • Hunter, J Marvin (1948). Old Camp Verde.
  • Hunter, J Marvin (1951). Album of Gunfighters.
  • Hunter, J Marvin (1953). 100 Years in Bandera County.
  • Hunter, J Marvin (1954). Peregrinations of a Pioneer Printer; An Autobiography.


  1. ^ a b "Frontier Times Museum: A Monument to Pioneer Days". frontiertimesmuseum.org. Archived from the original on December 28, 2008. Retrieved July 8, 2009.
  2. ^ a b c d "Wayne Gard, "John Marvin Hunter"". tshaonline.com. Retrieved July 8, 2009.
  3. ^ Frank H. Maynard, Cowboy's Lament: A Life on the Open Range (Lubbock, Texas: Texas Tech University Press, 2010), p. 29, ISBN 978-0-89672-705-2
  4. ^ "Frontier Times Magazine, Vol. 17, No. 9 (June 1940)". frontiertimesmagazine.com. Archived from the original on December 16, 2010. Retrieved December 9, 2010.
  5. ^ "Social Security Death Index". Rootsweb.ancestry.com. Retrieved July 9, 2009.
  6. ^ ’’Bandera Bulletin’’, July 5, 1957