Thursday, November 10, 2011

Marina Gunter, 3 Bushwhackers, and An Axe

As I've written in other blogs, I descend from a line of Gunters, so anything regarding the Gunters is interesting. A couple weeks ago I looked at the Gunter surname vertical file at the Tennessee State Library and Archives. It was a nice little treasure trove of information. Not only had two separate people given the archives information they had on their Gunter lines, but there was an interesting copy of a newspaper article. Actually it was two different articles on the same topic, Marina Gunter. One article is dated 3 July 1969 without the name of the newspaper, and the other is undated but includes the name of the newspaper. The reported event took place in March 1865, a time when this country was in turmoil due to the Civil War.

Marina Gunter lived with her family in Putnam County, Tennessee when she was 17. Her father was Larkin Gunter, a Southern man, and for what ever reason was at home instead of fighting in the war. One evening three men Maxwell, Patton, and Miller claiming to be Federal soldiers came to the Gunter home set on killing Larkin Gunter. According to the article the men informed Larkin, "...that his time had come" and proceeded to drag him from the house. Hearing the groans of her father being beat up, Marina raced to the woodpile, grabbed an axe, and rushed to the scene. She proceeded to attack the three men on this dark and drizzly night. Marina killed two of the men and broke the arm of the third who escaped, but later died from his wounds. She then lifted up her father and helped him home.

My favorite quote, because it is so dramatic, in this article is the following:

"This is the greatest achievement of female heroism of
its kind that has ever been recorded, and places Miss Gunter
on the pinnacle of glory that belongs not alone to patriotism,
but to the grandeur of filial affection the tie that stretches
from the cradle to the grave, spans the heavens, and is riveted 
through eternity to the throne of God on high."

Later, Marina would recount that she grew frantic hearing the groans of her father, and does not know how she managed her father's rescue. Eventually Marina would marry Joseph Harris and move to Fentress County, Tennessee. She died in 1926.

I don't know if my line connects with this branch of Gunters at all. It's just a cool published story of a woman in history, doing something other than getting married, having babies, or dying.


  1. Marina Gunter was my husband's Great-Great Grandmother, so this was so interesting. Thanks!

  2. So being a Gunter I understand that