Born in North Carolina on November 14, 1845, Jonathan “Jot” Gunter was a member of a rather large family. He was the son of Lemuel and Rebecca Williams and, to the best of historians’ knowledge, had nine brothers and one sister. After four of his brothers joined the military to fight in The Civil War, Jot, being too young to go into combat at 16, joined as a drummer boy. After the war, Gunter studied law at Gilmer under the strict Judge Oran M. Roberts.
After obtaining his law degree, Jot Gunter married Roxanna Ford and moved to Sherman, Texas where they had their daughter, Eula. She married John Hardie of Dallas and had two sons and one daughter. In 1901, Eula passed away just days before Jot was going to deed over the land for the town of Gunter. Roxanna and Jot took their grandchildren out of the hands of John and moved to San Antonio to raise them. After moving to San Antonio, Jot started to build the Gunter Hotel which, unfortunately, he was never able to complete.
Jot partnered with the founder of Denison, Texas, Ben Munson, and opened a law office. Together, they surveyed the Panhandle and in exchange, the state of Texas offered them land for their efforts. Their services resulted in them becoming land barons which ultimately lead to Jot owning a few hundred thousand acres and his partner, Ben, more than a million acres.
In 1884, Jot shot and killed Dan T. on Travis Street in downtown Sherman. This happened as a result of Jot loaning Dan T. thousands of dollars and then going bankrupt. The debt lead to Jot filing a claim against Dan T. Dan planned to kill Jot and, with success, Jot defended his family. In the end, the Grand Jury found no sufficient evidence to prosecute Jot Gunter.
Jot drew from the flower of life every bit of nectar he could. He was a swashbuckling character
Jot turned the land now known as Gunter into another ranch. He asked his nephew, Jule, to be the manager of this particular ranch. Jule was later joined with his younger brother, Nat Gunter, to help manage the ranch. After Jot died, Jule filed a lawsuit against Roxanna. However, the court ruled against Jule and he lived the rest of his life bankrupt.
Since trains needed to stop every 10-12 miles for water, Jot made a water stop in Gunter for the rail line that stretched from Sherman to Carrollton. The Red River, Southern, and Texas Railroad were the rail lines stopping in Gunter and was owned by several investors, including Jot Gunter.
Jot was involved in many different things throughout his life. He took part in soldiering, surveying, land speculation, ranching and farming, banking, railroading, and politics. According to Gunter Historian Scott Jordan, Jot Gunter lived a life that was “multi-faceted, multi-dimensional. Jot drew from the flower of life every bit of nectar he could. He was a swashbuckling character.”
Guest Authors: Taylor Prosser and Rylie Lashley
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