Martin Hunter (1757-1846) was born in Medomsley, England. He received his early education at a small school on his father's estate and later attended school in Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Throughout his long and distinguished military career he served with several regiments, but his first commission was as an ensign in the 52nd Foot. He was with this Regiment when he saw action during the American Revolution and when he served in India under Lord Cornwallis. In one of the charges of the 52nd, he was severely wounded and returned to England in 1794. Subsequently, he rose rapidly through the ranks, serving with the 60th Foot in the West Indies, and with the 48th Foot, which he joined in Gibraltar and commanded at the siege of Malta.
In 1803, Hunter was chosen to be the colonel of the New Brunswick Fencibles, one of four infantry regiments raised for service in North America. He arrived in New Brunswick in the autumn of that year and immediately began recruiting in the Maritimes and in Lower Canada. By 1805, the Regiment had reached full strength, with the addition of recruits from Scotland, and was placed on the establishment. In 1810, it was granted the status of a regiment of the line and became the 104th Foot. During the 1812-1814 war with the United States, it was the 104th Foot which made the famous winter march overland from Fredericton, New Brunswick to Upper Canada, and served with great distinction in the defense of that colony.
With the departure of Lieutenant Governor Thomas Carleton in 1803 on permanent leave in England, Martin Hunter, as the senior military officer in the colony, became commanding officer of the forces, and after promotion to major-general in 1805, was sworn in as President of the Council on 24 May 1808. From then until 15 June 1812 when he left the colony for England, he was Lieutenant Governor in all but name.
After his return to England, he was made a full general in 1825. Hunter was married to Jean Dickson on 3 September 1797 and she bore him seven sons and four daughters. One of their daughters, Anne, compiled the journals and letters written by her parents, and The Journal of General Sir Martin Hunter and Some Letters of his Wife Lady Hunter, was published in Edinburgh in 1894.