John Lewis Hunter (1905 - 1999) was born in Taylor, TX. He and his mother moved to Dallas in 1918. There, he worked at various jobs, including soda jerk (which he seemed to recall fondly). Some time in the 1930s, Rev. Hunter began to carve as an occasional hobby. In 1936, he began his religious education. He was pastor of a church in Texarkana, TX for 13 years, then pastor of a church in Sherman, TX, for 8 years. He was pastor of the True Light Baptist Church in Dallas for 30 years.
In the late 1960s or early 1970s, Rev. Hunter began to carve figures from branches, giving them as gifts to his parishioners. Gradually, collectors discovered his work.
Typically, Rev. Hunter worked with a branch of a tree. A "y" form became the legs and torso, with sticks attached for arms and feet. He also constructed figures and ships from scraps of lumber. Eyes are usually screws or nails, mouths are an economical slit, with paint and/or glitter giving the piece color and sparkle. He signed them by burning the initials JLH into the bottom or side with an ice pick heated over a gas stovetop.