Select Carter Miscellany

Here are some Carter stories and accounts over the years:

Early Carters

Francis L. Berkeley of the University of Virginia gave this account of Carters in his introduction to Currer-Briggs book, The Carters of Virginia: Their English Ancestry.

"Carters, originally by trade as well as by name, were craftsmen, artisans, and yeomen farmers during the medieval centuries, becoming landowners in early Tudor times.  Always fecund, they sent many of their younger children to nearby London, where in the Elizabethan and early Stuart reigns.they became commercial venturers.  Some of them were mariners and an extraordinary number of them were vintners and freemen of the great Vintner's company.

The Carters in Portsmouth

The Carters cannot avoid a charge of nepotism.  Their domination of Portsmouth in the late 18th century, through family influence and with their associates, was almost complete.  Some saw the Carters, ever stating their high Unitarian principles, as hypocrites.  But the law placed them in this position.  And the tenacity with which they held their power prevented the establishment of more socially and religiously repressive authority.

Violet Bonham Carter has pointed out the following in their defense:

"They had to make themselves and the law look foolish if they were not to submit to endless frustration and, at times, real persecution.  As men of strong character and a long tradition of independence behind them, they were not the kind to stand for that.  Indeed, had they not acted as they did, it is unlikely that the battle for toleration and reform would haver been won so roundly and convincingly as it was."

The Fate of the Carters at Deerfield

In 1704, an Indian tribe attacked the village of Deerfield in northern Massachusetts and force-marched the captured inhabitants in winter three hundred miles north to an Indian village in Quebec.  The novel The Ransom of Mercy Carter provides an account of this harrowing journey.

The family of Samuel Carter lived at Deerfield and the following was the fate of the Carters taken:


Hannah Carter
Killed en route
Samuel Carter
Died in Canada in 1714
Mercy Carter
Remained in Canada and married an Indian
John Carter
Remained in Canada, as John Chartier
Ebenezer Carter
Ransomed in 1707 for 24
Thomas Carter
Killed in the village
Marah Carter
Killed en route
Hannah Carter
 7 mos.
Killed en route (died of exposure)
The Carters who survived ended up in the protection of Jesuits at their mission on the Prairies river.

Samuel Carter had been away from Deerfield on the day of the attack.  He returned a day later to find his village burnt and his family gone.  A year later, he moved to Norwalk in Connecticut and married again.

Edmund Carter and Racial Prejudice

Edmund Carter was born on the Landon Carter Plantation on the Watauga river in 1790.  He was the son of a Negro slave and an unknown white man.  He took his name from Landon Carter who is suspected to be his father.  Edmund's grandmother had been a native of Africa and came to America as a victim of the slave trade.  She was called "Togo" and when she arrived in Virginia she was presumably placed on the auction block and sold to John Carter, Landon Carter's father.   

At birth Edmund Carter was a free person of color as it was the law of the land that children born of Negro slaves and white fathers were deemed free persons.  Not much is known of his childhood years and the date of his marriage to Susanna has not been established.  Their son Alexander was born in Tennessee in 1816. Edmund and family migrated to Arkansas territory and thence to Texas. 

The Carters were one of only 397 free Negroes in Texas.  Here they carried on various businesses of dry goods stores, freight and grocery, supply wagons and livestock, and eventually started their Carter ranch.  However, in 1857, both Edmund and his son Alexander were murdered by a white man named Draper for reasons of prejudice, wealth and jealousy.  Alexander died instantly, Edmund lingered for about 28 days.

Amon Carter and Dallas

Carter's disdain for Dallas, Fort Worth's larger and richer neighbor, was legendary in Texas.  One of the best-known stories about Carter is that he would take a sack lunch whenever he travelled to Dallas so that he wouldn't have to spend money there.

Another story relates to a ceremony at the county line to bury the hatchet between the two cities.  Carter and other leaders from Fort Worth and Dallas were each presented with hatchets and with shovels to bury them.   As the ceremony was wrapping up, a young reporter said to Carter that the handle of his hatchet was still sticking out of the ground.  Carter replied that he was well aware and that he might need his hatchet later.

The Carter Family: Will The Circle Be Unbroken

In August 1927 three musicians arrived at a makeshift recording studio in Bristol, Tennessee, to audition for a talent scout from the Victor Talking Machine Company.  The songs A.P. Carter, his wife Sara and her cousin Maybelle recorded that day drew upon the rich musical traditions of their native rural Appalachia.  The Carter Family sang of love and loss, desperation and joy, and their music captured the attention of a nation entering the darkest days of the depression.  In the coming years, with the release of songs such as Keep on the Sunnyside, Will the Circle Be Unbroken and Wildwood Flower, Carter Family record sales exploded. 

The film The Carter Family: Will The Circle Be Unbroken draws upon rarely seen photographs, memorabilia and archival footage to tell the bittersweet story of these influential musical pioneers whose songs and style laid the foundations for American folk, country and bluegrass music.

The Carter Brothers of Werribee

The Carter brothers of Werribee in Victoria (near Melbourne) numbered four, James, Walter, Roland, and John.  In 1911, they had bought their first egg incubator, a Petaluma of 100 egg capacity.  In 1919 they installed an Austral Mammoth incubator of 6,000 egg capacity and in 1924 a Buckeye I-lot water incubator of 10,300 egg capacity. 

By the 1930's, the four brothers were the largest egg farmers in Australia and, for many years, they had the largest egg-producing farm in the world.  They specialized in egg production for the table, for both the Australian market and for export to the United Kingdom. They had an all-white Leghorn flock and hatched their own replacement chickens each spring.

With a laying flock of 250,000 birds, the saving for the Carters financially in being able to separate the pullets and cockerels at a day old was considerable.  Before they employed a Japanese chick sexer (Mr. Kataoka) in 1935, all of their cockerels had to be reared until they were about six to eight weeks old and then sold at Melbourne poultry auctions - for well below the cost of the feed that they ate. 

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