William Hunter

Eugene Procknow


A British Soldier’s Son Who Became an Early American In June 1798, President John Adams signed the now infamous Alien & Sedition Acts to suppress political dissent. Facing imminent personal risks,...

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A British Soldier’s Son Who Became an Early American

In June 1798, President John Adams signed the now infamous Alien & Sedition Acts to suppress political dissent.

Facing imminent personal risks, a gutsy Kentucky newspaper editor ran the first editorial denouncing the law's attempt to stifle the freedom of the press.

Almost immediately, government lawyers recommended his arrest and prosecution.

That editor was William Hunter, amazingly, the son of a British soldier.

During the American Revolution, he accompanied his father on a campaign to fight the American Rebels. Witnessing first-hand the terrors of combat and twice experiencing capture, Hunter wrote the only surviving account written by a child of a British soldier during the American Revolution. Previously unknown, the journal is one of the most important document discoveries in recent years.

Remarkably immigrating to an enemy country, Hunter started the second newspaper west of the Alleghenies in Pennsylvania. Moving to Kentucky's capital, Hunter spoke his mind as a newspaper editor, took entrepreneurial risks, and helped start educational and civic institutions.

Particularly compelling, Hunter overcame two major personal setbacks that tarnished his character and left him bankrupt. Each time, he tenaciously persevered and regained prominent stature.

Later, Hunter became an elected Kentucky representative, a staunch Andrew Jackson supporter, and moved to Washington, DC, to root out fraud and waste in his administration. Beyond the well-known founders, William Hunter represents a previously underappreciated community leader who made essential contributions to developing democratic and civic institutions in Early America.

Author: Eugene Procknow
Page Count: 300
Trim Size: 6 x 9
Publish Date: January 19, 2022
Imprint: Oxford Southern
Genre: History

HISTORY / United States / Revolutionary Period (1775-1800)
HISTORY / United States / 19th Century

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Customer Reviews

Based on 2 reviews
Virginia Rafferty
First hand account of life in the early days of our Republic

William Hunter Finding Free Speech
A recently discovered journal and extensive research provide the reader of William Hunter Finding Free Speech a fresh perspective on American life in the early days of our Republic. Throughout the book, liberal firsthand recollections add authenticity.

William was the son of a British soldier. The family traveled with William’s father’s regiment and William lived in major cities, including New Brunswick, New Jersey, New York City, and Montreal, Canada. William gives an account of his first day in school in Montreal as well as the hardship suffered by British captives and their families. William witnessed the privations suffered by the rebels and experienced the suffering of the British soldiers and their families during the harsh, bitter revolutionary winters.

William’s family returned to England where William began a printing apprenticeship. William eventually returned to America where he hoped for better career opportunities and a more welcoming social and political environment. Many of the issues he faced as a publisher in the late 1700s and early 1800s would be recognized by a publisher today.

The book will be of interest to a reader interested in the life of an ordinary man who experienced the early days of our Republic.

Kate Blair
A Fresh Perspective

Eugene A. Procknow brings the American Revolution to life from a fresh perspective. Based on the journal of William Hunter, the son of a British soldier fighting the American Rebels, this immaculately researched book tells a tale that we’ve not heard before. Women’s and children’s roles and the trials of military life on both sides of the fight are illuminated, inspiring the desire to turn the page and learn more about William’s interesting life in journalism, manufacturing, and politics after the war. Truly a compelling and worthwhile read.