Isaac Hunter, the first of three generations of the same name to serve as chief Mills Agent based at Dukesfield, was appointed after the death of John Featherstone early in 1728. His origins are unknown and there are no known local records of anyone of that name prior to this date. In 1730 he married Mary Marshall of Walltown near Haltwhistle, who brought a handy £500 dowry. It is possible he met her through his work, for the Blacketts were in partnership in Weardale with the Bacon family; John Bacon was married to Mary’s sister Jane. Their first son was baptised Calverley in 1731, Walter Blackett’s surname before he had inherited the Northumberland estates 3 years earlier. If sycophancy was intended by Hunter then ‘Blackett’ was surely a better option by 1731, so perhaps it was a reference to the place – on the outskirts of Leeds – rather than to the person, raising the possibility that Hunter, like his employer, was from Yorkshire. Hunter ran the Blackett smelt mills and carriage from Dukesfield for 36 years, resigning in the summer of 1764, apparently due to poor health. He was succeeded at Dukesfield by his 3rd surviving son, Isaac. Hunter could probably afford to retire, having the management of his wife’s estate from Walltown, where he was still living at her death in 1775. His second son William was a lawyer and his wife Esther Allgood belonged to the respectable local gentry. Isaac senior was probably the Isaac Hunter buried at Ebchester in 1780, near where has daughter Ann Surtees lived.
Yvonne Purdy/Greg Finch
Various parish registers, & ‘Dukesfield Documents’ letters
J.Hodgson, A History of Northumberland, in Three Parts: Part II, Vol III, (1840), p.324
J.C. Hodgson, A History of Northumberland, Vol. VI (1902). Pp 274-5