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Denzell Hunter

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Questioning the Lord is an awkward business. Thee does get answers, but they are inclined to lead thee to strange places.


Denzell Hunter, called Denny by his intimates, is the brother of Rachel Hunter and husband of Dorothea Grey. He is a Quaker who was put out of meeting after his decision to serve as a Continental army surgeon during the Revolutionary War.

Personal HistoryEdit

Denzell's mother died when his sister Rachel was born, and his father drowned three years later in a flood. He and his sister were supported by the local meeting of the Religious Society of Friends until Denzell could become apprenticed and learn a trade. After some of their neighbors sought out any kin to the Hunters, one was located in London: one John Hunter, a famous surgeon, who provided Denny with the means to travel to Philadelphia to attend the new medical college, and later to London to learn with Dr. Hunter himself. Upon Denny's return, Rachel kept his house for him.

As tensions rose between England and the American colonies, the larger meetings of Quakers determined that the best course was to reconcile with England, rather than support the violent rebellion. However, Denny believed that liberty was a gift from God, and was worth joining the fight for, so he decided to join the Continental army as a surgeon.

Events of the NovelsEdit

An Echo in the BoneEdit

In the summer of 1777,[2] Denzell and his sister Rachel sell their house in a small Quaker settlement Oak Grove, and travel north to join the Continental army – Denny as a surgeon, Rachel as a camp follower. They are accompanied by Denny's former patient, William Ransom.

On their journey, they encounter a Mr. Johnson and his wife, and decide to spend the night at their house, as it's the only shelter from the rain in the near distance. In the middle of the night, Mrs. Johnson attempts to cut Denny's throat, but is restrained by the Hunters, while Mr. Johnson tries to kill William with an ax and is subsequently killed in the fight. Some days later, Denzell and Rachel part company with William at a nameless crossroad in New Jersey. They join the Continental army at Fort Ticonderoga, where they meet Jamie and Claire.[2] They quickly become friends with the Frasers; Claire values Denzell as a doctor, and he in turn doesn't disregard her on account of being a woman.

In late November 1777, William comes to Valley Forge under a flag of truce to fetch Dr. Hunter for his cousin Henry Grey, who is seriously wounded. The Hunters go with William to Philadelphia. At Christmas, Denzell operates on Henry, and is later reunited with Lady Dorothea Grey, with whom he fell in love when he was in London. Denzell and Dottie become engaged. In April 1778, Denzell assists Claire Fraser in two surgeries in which she uses ether and Denny is very happy when she offers to teach him how to make it.

Written in My Own Heart's BloodEdit

In June 1778, Denny tends to an eye injury Lord John Grey sustained at the hands Jamie Fraser. Later Dottie and Denny help John escape from a Continental army's camp. During the Battle of Monmouth, Dottie helps as a nurse for Denny and Claire Fraser.

In late July/early August 1778, Dottie and Denny are married in a double Quaker wedding with Racheland Ian.

In September 1778, Dottie travels with her uncle John to Savannah in search of Amaranthus Cowden, a woman who claims to be the widow of Dottie's brother Benjamin Grey and the mother of his son Trevor. When Dottie realizes that she is pregnant, Lord John takes her back to New York to be with Denny.

PersonalityEdit

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Physical AppearanceEdit

Hunter is small-boned and cheerful.

RelationshipsEdit

Dorothea GreyEdit

Denzell met and fell in love with Dorothea Grey while he was studying in London. However, he had to return to the colonies. Unknown to him, Dottie planned to get to the colonies by having her step-cousin William Ransom pose as her betrothed. When Denzell and his sister Rachel came to perform surgery on Dottie's brother Henry, she proclaimed her love to Denny and that she had given it much thought and would become a Quaker for him. The two become engaged in December 1777, and got married in summer 1778 in a double Quaker wedding. In September 1778, Dottie realized that she was pregnant with their first child.

NameEdit

  • Denzell is an English name based on a location in Cornwall.[3]
  • Hunter is an occupational name which referred to someone who hunted for a living, from Old English hunta.[4]

TriviaEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. Age as of the end of Written in My Own Heart's Blood.
  2. 2.0 2.1 There is some inconsistency in An Echo in the Bone:
    • On June 12, 1777, the Frasers and Ian Murray are at Fort Ticonderoga. Claire talks to Ian about his problems with having children, and he leaves the fort the next day (Chapter 35).
    • On June 21, 1777, William Ransom is wandering through the Great Dismal (Chapter 36). A few days later, he is wounded and meets Ian Murray who helps him to get to a Quaker settlement in search of medical care (Chapter 37). William is tended by Denzell and Rachel Hunter (Chapter 38). William then travels with Rachel and Denzell north for some weeks and they part ways in New Jersey (Chapters 41–42). Denzell intends to join the Continental army as a surgeon.
    • On June 18, 1777, Claire writes in a letter to Brianna and Roger from Fort Ticonderoga that Ian left the fort a month ago, and that "the new influx of recruits brought with it a young Quaker doctor named Denzell Hunter and his sister, Rachel" (Chapter 43).
  3. SheKnows.com: Denzell - accessed 15 June 2016
  4. Behind the Name Surname: Hunter - accessed 15 June 2016

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