John Dunn Hunter
Historical Figure
Nationality: Cherokee (by adoption)
Date of Birth: c. 1796
Date of Death: 1827
Cause of Death: Execution by hanging
Occupation: Author of Non-Fiction, Diplomat, Hunter
Parents: Unknown
Fictional Appearances:
"Hail! Hail!"
POD: December 15, 1826
Type of Appearance: Direct

John Dunn Hunter (ca. 1796–1827) was a close associate of the Cherokee people in Mexican Texas. He was a leader of the Fredonian Rebellion in Nacogdoches, Texas in December 1826. As a consequence of his participation, he was executed the following year.

Hunter claimed to be ignorant of his birthplace and that he was taken prisoner with two other white children by Native Americans who either belonged to or were associated with the Cherokee nation. However, Hunter also claimed ties with the Kickapoo. In any event, he traveled widely during his time with the native people, and received a good education. Not knowing his real name, Dunn Hunter took on the name of an English benefactor, one John Dunn. The "hunter" was added later in recognition of his prowess as a hunter. While in England Hunter wrote an account which was published in London in 1824 under the title of Memoirs of a Captivity among the Indians of North America.

He arrived in Mexican Texas in 1825, and developed a working relationship with Chief Richard Fields. Hunter acted as Fields' emissary to Mexico City when Fields sought to secure a land-grant in East Texas. When that failed, Hunter backed Fields' decision to negotiate with the leaders of Fredonia Rebellion. While the rebellion began in Nacogdoches, Texas in December 1826, the Mexican government sent agent Peter Ellis Bean to convince the Cherokee to break the alliance. Bean succeeded. In an effort to demonstrate the Cherokees' loyalty to Mexico, the Cherokee council ordered the deaths of Fields and Dunn. While both fled, they were each captured and hanged in February, 1827.

John Dunn Hunter in "Hail! Hail!"[]

John Dunn Hunter, Chief Richard Fields, and the Cherokee had already agreed to help Haden Edwards and the Republic of Fredonia when the Marx Brothers arrived from 1934.[1] However, Julius Marx convinced the Cherokee to stay in the alliance, thereby changing history.

After the Marx Brothers convinced first Adolphus Sterne and Haden Edwards of their identity, Sterne took them to the Cherokee.[2] At this point, the Marx Brothers' only real plan was to make the Cherokee like them better than the Mexicans.[3]Fields greeted them when they arrived, and Sterne explained who the Marx Brothers were and why they were there to meet. Fields agreed to listen and summoned Hunter.[4]

The group ate a supper of grits and armadillo before talks began. Once again, Julius explained that he and his brothers were from 1934 and offered coins to prove it. A full-blooded Cherokee named Eightkiller also looked at the coins. All saw dates from the 1920s, and Eightkiller observed the "clock" on Julius' wrist as being far more advanced than anything he'd ever seen. Based on this, the Cherokee were tentatively convinced the Marx Brothers were telling the truth. Julius then explained that in the Marx Brother's historical record, the Mexicans convinced the Cherokee not to back Fredonia, and the rebellion failed. He further explained that, despite the Cherokees' change of heart, the Mexican government still mistrusted them, and that Fields and Hunter were hanged in the spring of 1827 as a result. Julius withheld the fact that the Cherokee people themselves did the hanging. Fields reasoned that if they threw in with Fredonia, they had to go all the way. Eightkiller pointed out that they could also just flat out refuse to help now, as well. The Cherokee began discussing in their own language their next course of action.[5]

In order to sway the Cherokee, Sterne explained the white and red strips of the Fredonia flag symbolized whites and Indians working together. In response, the Marx Brothers sang the Freedonia anthem from Duck Soup. The Cherokee weren't wholly receptive to these idealistic exclamations, although the faux anthem didn't hurt. When Eightkiller asked what the best course of action was, Julius simply stated that sitting back as they had in the original timeline didn't work, but he made no guarantees as to what would happen if they backed Fredonia all the way. While the Cherokee had reservations about trusting Haden Edwards, the realized that the didn't really trust the Mexicans either, and so opted to back Fredonia, even chanting "Hail! Hail! Fredonia!" in a show of solidarity.[6]

The group stayed with the Cherokee for the next several days. Warriors started joining the band. On Christmas Day word came that the Mexican envoy, Peter Ellis Bean was on his way to convince the Cherokee to stay away from Fredonia. Fields reiterated his resolve to ignore Bean given his and Hunter's fate.[7]

Bean arrived on December 27. He'd received information about the Marx brothers, and was immediately dismissive of them. Julius Marx began goading Bean in response, reciting the playground song "Beans, Beans, the Musical Fruit". While it didn't exist in 1826 yet, every English-speaker quickly understood the gist. For good measure, the Cherokee warrior Eightkiller even translated for some of the other Cherokee warriors present. One made a fart-noise with his mouth. Bean also understood Cherokee, and this act made him even angrier. Marx continued to taunt Bean, but took things too far by slapping Bean in the face. Bean immediately declared that Marx had challenged him to a duel. As the challenged, Bean selected pistols, and declared the duel would be at sunup the next day.[8] Sterne agreed to be Marx' second, and even provided him a pistol.[9]

The next morning, Bean and Julius Marx met for their duel. Marx had a pistol that had been loaded by Sterne. Bean and Marx agreed to the final rules of ten paces, and one shot only. Bean also made it clear that only this duel could repair his honor. As the sun came up, the duel commenced.[10] After ten paces, Bean turned and aimed faster, but his gun misfired. Marx took aim at Bean's chest and fired. His gun discharged, hitting Bean in the chest. The wound was not immediately fatal, and Bean took an hour and a half to die.[11] Bean's death insured that the Cherokee would stay in the Fredonian camp, as the Mexican government would not believe that the Cherokee were blameless. Cherokee Chief Richard Fields announced that the warriors would head to Nacogdoches after they buried Bean.[12].


  1. "Hail! Hail!", loc. 393-444
  2. Ibid., loc. 523-583.
  3. Ibid., loc. 393-444
  4. Ibid., loc. 523-583.
  5. Ibid., loc. 583-666.
  6. Ibid., loc. 666-696.
  7. Ibid., loc. 689-739.
  8. Ibid., loc. 739-782.
  9. Ibid., loc. 782.
  10. Ibid., loc. 803-847.
  11. Ibid., loc 847-867.
  12. Ibid., loc. 867-877.