Last updated: September 20, 2021
J.C. Hunter Jr.
When J.C. Hunter died in 1945, his son, J.C. Hunter Jr. inherited the Ranch. “Jr.” followed in his father’s footsteps. He continued acquiring sections of land until the family ranch encompassed approximately 72,000 acres of Guadalupe Mountains in Texas. like his father, Jr. had an abiding interest in conservation and harbored similar dreams of seeing the Mountains protected in perpetuity.
J.C. Hunter, Jr., like his father, was a well-respected civic leader. During the early 1970s he was mayor of Abilene, Texas, for six years. Besides being involved in the family oil business, he served on the boards of Hardin-Simmons University, the Baptist Foundation of Texas, the Independent Petroleum Association, Citizens National Bank of Abilene, and the West Texas Utility Company. Similarly, like his father, he was outgoing and generous and enjoyed sharing the Guadalupe Mountain Ranch with friends and associates.
Jr. followed the lead of his father and expressed interested in creating a park, but after Wallace Pratt donated his land to the NPS, Pratt helped Hunter Jr. decide the fate of the 72,000 acre Guadalupe Mountain Ranch. Hunter could not donate his land like Pratt, who had become wealthy as a petroleum geologist and high ranking employee of Standard Oil. Following in the footsteps of his father, Hunter Jr. continued to operate his Guadalupe Mountain Ranch as a hunting and recreational site, with a few sheep, goats, and cattle. Hunter kept the land healthy through the careful management of elk, turkey, trout, and other animals that his father had introduced. But as he grew older he worried that his death would leave his family with a large piece of property and large taxes, so he began contemplating ways to sell the Ranch. Hunter knew of his father’s pre-World War II discussions with the Park Service and the state of Texas, so sale to the state or federal government for the purpose of creating a park was familiar to him.
Congress approved the park six years after J.C. Hunter Jr. decided to sell his ranch, and roughly three years after the first Congressional hearing on the Park.
During the hearings before the House National Parks Committee, Wallace Pratt complimented the Hunters for their conservation of the Mountains. “I want to commend the remarkable wisdom of my neighbor, Mr. J.C. Hunter Jr., and his father before him, whose persistent efforts have brought under one ownership by far the larger part of the area that will constitute Guadalupe Mountains National Park.”