I, Marie Brady Hunter, was born December 13, 1905 at Gay Hill, Washington County, near old Independence, Texas, daughter of Camden Chovoin and Laura Hill Brady, who lived in Dallas. My education began at William B. Travis grammar school in Dallas, 1913, where I graduated in 1920. My father had attended this school 20 years earlier, having had the same first grade and second grade teachers, Miss Seabaugh and Miss Effie Johnson. I attended Bryan High School until North Dallas High was built in 1922, graduating in 1924.
In 1924, I entered the University of Texas at Austin, majoring in architecture, desiring to become an interior designer. In 1925, I attended Baylor Girls School at Belton, specializing in oil painting and home economics.
I came home to Dallas to work and save money to pursue interior design; obtained a position with Metro-Goldwyn, where as “Helen of Hollywood,” I spoke from the Baker Hotel on the first radio station in Dallas, WRR.
In 1928, I went to New York to study in the New York School of Decorating. There I worked at Gimbel’s Old World Shop selling antique furniture and imported gifts.
A friend of my mother, a government artist, stationed at Governor’s Island, took me to visit the island. He pointed out a beautiful old galley slave boat with oars leaving New York Harbor above us. (Actually, the ship was mechanized.) He explained this was Admiral Byrd’s South Pole Expedition. I still open my letters with a small sword my new friend presented to me as a memento of the occasion.
Several former classmates of U.T. days, graduates of the Electrical School of Engineering, were chosen to go to Schenectady to work with General Electric. One, Alda Bedford, became assistant to Dr. E. F. W. Alexanderson, who had recently invented television. Alda asked me to meet him 6 September 1928 at Madison Square Garden, where he and a friend were to present “television” to the public for the first time! He wanted me to try out for the “Perfect Television Type.” I refused, but later, I felt someone grasp my elbows-from behind and I found myself on the platform being interviewed. Alda apologized for forcing me on TV, but assured me later I could tell my grandchildren I was on TV the first time it was shown to the public.
The Great Depression was in progress when I returned to Dallas. I obtained a position at Neiman Marcus’ new Decorating Studio, LeVerre Carre, only to lose it in a few months later, when the studios were forced to close. Thus, my experience as a decorator was short-lived.
I found employment at the Dallas Gas Company where I met Felix E Hunter. We were married 30 September 1933 in the home my parents had purchased in 1919.
Our son, David Hill Hunter was born 24 August 1934 and, on 3 September 1939, daughter Loy Lenoir Hunter was born.
After 12 years of marriage, we were divorced in 1946 as World War II ended. I learned to use the new “electromatic” typewriter and became a secretary for the Southwestern Medical Foundation. I later worked for Freeman Memorial Clinic and Blue Cross-Blue Shield, making posters, advertising layouts, letterheads, etc.
I saw the need for a folder-holder to hold our literature at the hospitals, and designed one for which I obtained a patent selling them to Blue Cross-Blue Shield.
My son, David, attended the University of Texas; my daughter, Loy, went to Texas Tech, and married Jack Burgess of Waco, on 21 September 1958. Loy and Jack have five daughters: Katherine, married Charles Esserman in 1985; Paige, married Kendall Cashion 31 December 1988; Ashley, married Marvin Kegarraig February, 1992; Leslie, married Jay Jandrain June, 1990; and Laura a senior art major at Texas Tech in Lubbock, 1992.
After both my children were married, I worked in my chosen profession as an interior designer with McLure’s Decorating Studio, 2916 Oak Lawn, and later with Daisy Akard Interior, 2539 Cedar Springs. When Daisy retired, I continued with my own business, Marie Hunter Interiors, for ten years from my home, which I bought in 1963. I furnished it with antique furniture, adding family pieces inherited from my mother, who died in 1973.
My only brother, Hudson, and I have traced the Hill family back to 1300 and the Barksdale name on our father’s side back to 1200.
I am a member of the Daughters of the Republic of Texas and Daughters of the American Revolution through my great-great grandfather, Issac Hill of North Carolina. I served as curator of the Jane Douglas Chapter Museum of the DAR at the State Fair Grounds 1978 and 1979, and during the State Fair, I recreated my grandmother Hill’s bedroom, where I was born, for the Fair visitors to see. I also belong to the San Jacinto Descendants and the National Society of New England Women, Texas Colony #121.
Photo: Marie Brady Hunter beside grave of maternal grandfather, Wm. Carroll Jackson Hill, b. 1814 d. 1897, Oak Rest P resbyterian Cemetery, near Gay Hill, Brenham and Washington on the Brazos; at a memorial service on March 1, 1987 commemorating a D A.R. Service emblem by his granddaughter.
By Marie Brady Hunter for Dallas County Pioneer Association for Proud Heritage, Volume I.