William and John Hunter were born in the Lowlands of Scotland in the beginning of the eighteenth century, in a time of political strife and poverty, when loyalties were sharply divided in relation to the exiled Royal House of Stewart not only between Scotland and England but between roughly equal factions in Scotland itself. The family had originated in the early part of the fourteenth century on the Ayrshire coast, and the name commemorates a royal appointment to preserve the hunting there and in the adjacent islands.
The Hunters' father, a farmer, moved thirty miles or so to the east and, as a result of a favorable marriage to Agnes Paul, daughter of the City Treasurer of the City of Glasgow, became a small landowner and built the farm steading of Long Calderwood, until recently preserved unchanged as to structure and environment but now engulfed by the new satellite town
MACKEY WA. Three Great Scots: William and John Hunter and Joseph Lister. AMA Arch Surg. 1960;80(1):151–161. doi:https://doi.org/10.1001/archsurg.1960.01290180153019
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