Cryptures June 2016

Dr. James Edward Petaway Hunnicutt was born in Petersburg, Virginia May 28th, 1805. His mother was Polly Petaway who was Methodist and his father was a Quaker. He married Martha Lundie Atkinson. Martha’s grandfather John Pepper Atkinson was a clergyman of the Church of England. Martha was said to have an exceptional strength of mind and sweetness of nature. Martha’s mother was Elizabeth Bland Lundie Atkinson. They all migrated to Coweta County, Georgia in 1833. This was a time when many extended families migrated all along the east coast of the United States. Some went directly west while others traveled south and then west. The country was growing rapidly and people were looking for more space in new lands away from the coastal areas.

James and Martha had three boys and two girls. As the children grew they worked the farm. James and Martha made sure that religion was put first in the life of the family. They were strict though loving parents.

James Hunnicutt was a Trustee and founding member of Cokes Chapel in 1843 and was one of the signatories when Mark Smith deeded the 600’X600’ property to Cokes Chapel for $25 or about $806.45 today. This was the present site of the church and was a log structure in front of the current church building. James was also the superintendent of the Sunday school for 54 years.

Because of the itinerant preachers, weekdays were frequently days of services. On these days all work was stopped on the farm and everyone attended church including the slaves.

James was physically weak and suffered from profound depression but his habit of godliness remained intact. He was a practicing physician and was in high demand in a large territory. But James never took a fee for his medical services on Sundays.

In 1850 he and Thomas D. Goodwin, Miles Jones, Rev. George Edward Smith, William Overby, Isham Smith founded the Longstreet Academy in February of 1850. James was the class leader, steward, and trustee of the Academy.

Martha died in 1851 and James then married her sister Clara Ann Atkinson Parks in 1858. She was the widow of Thomas H. Parks. Clara passed in 1875.

When James was on his death bed on March 6th, 1884 his last words were an evening benediction upon his little grandchild. J. E. P. Hunnicutt passed at midnight without pain in his sleep. He was so loved that all the Hunnicutt slaves and their 40 descendants attended his funeral.

James’ two wives, Martha and Clara are buried in Cokes Chapel Cemetery along with their parents and Thomas H. Parks.
Thom McCague,

Leave a Reply