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Mary Louisa Bunting


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At a Glance

Born c. 1833, Mary L. Bunting was one of two Bunting girls to attend the Burwell School. Daughter of Sampson County physician Dr. Thomas Bunting, Mary is listed in the 1848 catalog. She married John Hampden Hill Jr. (1834-1910) in 1858. Together they were the parents of 7 children. All were born in NC with the exception of their second son, John Holmes Hill (1861-1943) who was born in Mississippi where his father was engaged in farming. She lived most of her life in either Sampson County, NC, North Carolina or in either Wayne County, NC. She was widowed in 1910. The US Federal Census of 1920 indicates she is living with her son John Holmes Hill (1861-1943) in Goldsboro, Wayne County, NC. and with two of her other children Elizabeth Hill (1866-1928) and Minnie Beall Hill (1870-1948) [1].


Very little could be found about Burwell School student Mary Louisa Bunting's mother, Elizabeth Holmes (1820-1846) in In Mary Claire Engstrom's book The Book of Burwell Students, it is reported that Elizabeth Holmes is the daughter of Gabriel Holmes, 18th Governor of North Carolina from 1821-1824. However, nothing could be found in to verify this nor in biographical information about Gabriel Holmes. Sources do indicate Holmes married Mary Smith Hunter in 1795 and that they had six known children. However, a list of the children's names was not found.

More is found in about the forebears of Mary Louisa Bunting's father, Dr. Thomas Bunting (1801-1871). Her gggggg grandfatherWilliam Bunting (1543- ), ggggg grandfather William Bunting (1576-1663), gggg grandfather Anthony Bunting (1600-1700), and ggg grandfather Samuel Bunting Sr. (1648-1724) were born in Matlock, Derbyshire, England. But by the time of Samuet Bunting Sr.'s death, the Buntings were located in Crosswicks, Burlington, New Jersey. Her gg grandfather Samuel Bunting Jr. (1687-1741) and her great grandfather Ebenezer Bunting (1723-1774) were born in New Jersey. By the time of Ebenezer Bunting's death, the Buntings had migrated to New Hanover County, NC. Mary Louisa Bunting's paternal grandfather David Bunting (1772-1828) born in New Hanover County, NC married Elizabeth Clinton (1767-1810) in 1790 and they settled in Sampson County, NC. Clinton's father was Richard Clinton (1741-1795) American Revolutionary War officer and politician. The town of Clinton is named for him.

According to the 1820 US Federal Census for Sampson County, NC, David Bunting owned 21 slaves both male and female. The total number of people in the household including the 21 slaves was 26.

Dr. Thomas Bunting (1801-1871) Mary Louisa Bunting's father was listed as a patron of the Burwell School according to Mary Claire Engstrom's book The Book of Burwell Students. He was also a trustee of the Clinton Academy (in Sampson County, NC) which became the Clinton Female Institute in 1852. Educated at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Bunting became a physician but later devoted his entire time to farming.

In, two spouses are listed for Dr. Thomas Bunting--May A. Bunting (1823-1910) or Mary Ann and Elizabeth Holmes (1820-1846). Dr. Bunting and May A. Bunting or Mary Ann are shown as having 9 children and the names are listed. In the US Slave Record Schedule for Sampson County, NC for 1860, Dr. Bunting is shown as owning both male and female slaves. In the 1870 US Federal Census Schedule for Sampson County, NC a May A. Bunting, age 47 and black, and several others are listed in a household. Six of the names listed in the household match the names and ages of the 9 children listed as being the children of Dr. Thomas Bunting and May A. Bunting or Mary Ann. The six are listed in the 1870 US Census Schedule as being mulatto. The researcher concludes that Dr. Thomas Bunting fathered possibly as many as 9 children with perhaps one of his former slaves May A. Bunting or Mary Ann.

As best as the researcher could determine from, Dr. Thomas Bunting and Elizabeth Holmes were the parents of three children--Burwell School student Mary Louisa Bunting (1838-1928), Mildred  "Minnie"  Bunting (1843- ), and Thomas Owen Bunting (1845-1913). Mary Clare Engstrom in her work writes that Mary Louisa Bunting had a sister, Sally Bunting, who also attended the Burwell School. However, the researcher could not find a Sally Bunting in her search.

Burwell School student, Mary Louisa Bunting (1838-1928) married John Hampden Hill Jr. (1834-1910) in 1858. Together they were the parents of 7 children. Only one of their children, Mary Ann Hill (1863-1923) who married Robert Dickson Cronly (1863-1936) had children. Descendents of their son, John Hill Cronly (1892-1958), were found in the Richmond, VA area in 2015 [2] [1].

Biographical Data

Important Dates

Mary Louisa Bunting was born on October 10, 1838, in Sampson County, NC. She died on March 27, 1928, and was buried in Willow Dale Cemetery in Goldsboro, NC.

Places of Residence

  • Hillsborough, NC, from 1850. She appears in the 1848-1851 catalog but it is unclear exactly when she was a student [1].
  • Sampson County, NC, from 1838 [1].
  • Goldsboro, NC, between 1878 and 1928.
  • Mississippi, in 1861. According to an entry on Ancestry, her husband farmed in Sunflower, MS after their marriage. According to census records, heir first son was born in NC in 1859, second sone in MS in 1861, and third child (a daughter) in NC in 1863.
  • Sampson County, NC, until 1860.
  • Sampson County, NC, between 1862 and 1877.
  • Goldsboro, NC, between 1878 and 1928. Lived in Goldsboro until her death

Schools Attended

  • Burwell School, from 1850. Mary L. Bunting attended the Burwell School about the time the Burwell School Catalogue of 1848-51 [3] was being compiled [1].



  1. Mary Claire Engstrom. The Book of Burwell Students: Lives of Educated Women in the Antebellum South. (Hillsborough: Hillsborough Historic Commission, 2007).
  2. Oscar M. Bizzell. The Heritage of Sampson County, NC. ed., 1983.
  3. Burwell School Catalogue of 1848-51.