Carson Surname Meaning, History & Origin

Select Carson Meaning
Carson is a name of Scottish origin, possibly from a long lost
place-name.  The first
record of the name
occurred in Dumfries in the 13th century
in the form of
Acarson.  The Corsans or Carsans were a long-standing Dumfries
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Carson Ancestry

Early Carsons were noted for their ferocity.  John a’Carson
and his followers seized the castle of Dumfries in 1305.  They
were to settle in Dumfries a hundred years later.

“Sir John Corsane, the next heir male,
settled at Dumfries and was the head of a far-descending line which for
eighteen generations presented an unbroken array of male heirs, all
bearing the name of John.”

These John Corsanes were provosts of Dumfries during the
1600’s and wealthy.
John Corsane of
Meikle Knox who died in 1777 was the last of this male line.  But
the name Corsane or Corson, more often now written Carson, is still
in Dumfries.

Ireland.  Carsons
migrated across the Irish Sea to Ulster at the time of the Scottish
Plantations of the 17th century or later.  They settled first
in county Tyrone and then spread to other parts of the province,
to Antrim and Derry.  A number of these Scots Irish Carsons
and there is one family history which traces a Carson family from
Antrim who made the
reverse journey to Ayrshire in Scotland in 1873.  But many stayed.

A Carson family had moved to Dublin from Dumfries in 1815.  They
were a wealthy Anglican family in Dublin during the 19th century.
Edward Carson of this family made his name as a barrister in the Oscar
Wilde trial of 1895.  He subsequently became a politician,
espoused Unionism, and led the Irish Unionist party between 1910 and

“In 1932, he witnessed the unveiling of
a large statue of himself in front of the Parliament Buildings at
Stormont in Belfast.  The statue was unveiled by Lord Craigavon in
the presence of more than 40,000 people.  The inscription on the
base read: “By the loyalists of Ulster as an expression of their love
and admiration for its subject.”

America.  Carsons in
America are most likely to be of Scots Irish origin.

The most
famous of
them was the trapper and Indian agent Kit Carson,
born in Kentucky in 1809.  His
grandfather William Carson had arrived in America in the 1750’s and received
a land grant in Iredell county, North Carolina.  Robert
Trennert’s 2003 book Kit Carson and
His Three Wives
is a recent family history of the man.

Another Carson, John Carson, preceded him.  He was an 18th
Indian trader who founded Carsonville in Dauphin county, Pennsylvania
in the 1760’s.

One family history traced the story of a Carson familiy from county
who arrived in Charleston, South Carolina in 1773 and
migrated to Georgia, Alabama, and then to Brazos county, Texas.

Talk show host Johnny Carson was born in Iowa in 1925.  It was
Marshall Carson,
four generations back, who had made the move from
Maine to Iowa in the 1870’s and his forebear, Adam Carson, who had
arrived from Ireland in the 1750’s.

William Carson grew up in Belfast and migrated
to Canada via New York with his wife Anne in 1832.
He bought land unseen on a bend in the Ottawa
river called Gore of Lock Harbor.  The
land must have been all right because he farmed and lived there until
his death
in 1874.

John Carson was another Irish
Protestant, in this case a tenant farmer from the Curragh in Kildare,
who came
to Quebec in the early 1830’s.  It is
possible that he lost his first wife during the 1832 cholera epidemic
Montreal.  He married his second wife
Mary in Montreal in 1834 and they moved to the English river area of
around 1850.


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Corsane Origins in Dumfries.  Robert Dinwiddle
wrote an article in 1922 entitled Corsanes
of Meikle Knox, an Old Dumfries Family
in which he stated that the first
Corsane in Dumfries was in fact Italian.

asserts that this family is descended from an Italian
named Corsini, reputed to be of the many artisans of skill brought from
Continent by Queen Dervorguila to build Sweetheart Abbey around the
year 1280.  From the original prefix, “A”
“AP,” occurring as a routine in old writs, some authorities question
this origin, considering the name to be Celtic and of Galloway origin.”

Queen Dervorguila had been very devoted to
her husband, John de Balliol.  After his
death she had his heart embalmed and carried it with her in a little
casket. To his memory she then built Sweetheart Abbey near Dumfries and
her death she was buried under its altar with the silver casket on her

The Corsanes of Dumfriesshire
have spelled their name “Corson” or “Corsane.”  A
characteristic of them was their brown eyes
and very dark hair. 

John Corsane, Provost of Dumfries.  John
Corsane, the twelfth in descent from the first
Sir John, was Provost of Dumfries in 1621.
This Provost Corsane was one of the richest commoners in
Scotland.  Besides his country estates, the
chief of
which was Meikle Knox, he was said to have owned a third of his native
town.  At one time, many of its old
houses bore the family arms, the head of a pagan pierced by three
darts, with
warriors as supporters, and the motto: “præmium virtutis gloria.”

The Provost died in 1629, in his seventy
sixth year, and was buried near the entrance gate of St. Michael’s
cemetery at
a place where eleven of his ancestors had been laid before him.  His son John, the thirteenth of his line,
built a monument to his memory.

Early Carson Scots Irish Emigrants

Samuel Carson (1700-1766), died in Chester, Pennsylvania

Thomas Carson (1710-1790), born in Down and died in Georgia

Samuel Carson (1712-1762), born in Down and died in Pennsylvania

Adam Carson (b. 1730), born in Belfast and died in Maine

William Carson (1735-1801), born in Tyrone and died in South Carolina

Adam Carson (1765-1842), born in Tyrone and died in Georgia

William Carson (1765-1834), born in Antrim and died in Nebraska

Samuel Carson (b. 1768), from Belfast to South Carolina in 1803

Eleanor Carson (1782-1821), born in Monaghan and died in Canada

Thomas Carson (b. 1784), from Derry to Philadelphia in 1834

Catherine Carson (1787-1881), born in Cavan and died in Wisconsin

John Carson (1798-1847), died in Illinois

James Carson (b. 1798), from Belfast to New York in 1848

Matthew Carson (1799-1885), died in Brisbane, Australia.

Carsons from Northern Ireland to South Carolina.  Thomas Carson
and his family were from a small town near Newry in county Down.  They left Ireland on the Elliott
in June 1773 and, after a stormy crossing, reached Charleston,
South Carolina four months later.  There were about 40 people in their group,
including the McGoughs
and McDowells who were their friends and neighbors.
The Carsons originally settled in the
Abbeville district of South Carolina which at the time was heavily
Scots Irish.

Revolutionary War soon came.  Thomas
and his sons enlisted on the American
side.  In retaliation their home was
burned by the Tories.  After the war
Thomas received bounty land and moved to Wilkes county, Georgia.  He died there in 1790.  His
descendants were to be found in Georgia,
Alabama, and later in Texas.

Marshall Carson’s Obituary.  Marshall Carson, a long-time
Iowa resident of Logan, died at his home there on May 21, 1922 at the
age of
89.  He had been in failing health for some time.

born in 1833 near Bangor in Maine.  At the age of 21 he moved to
Minnesota, working there for two years in the pine forests until the
gold discoveries at Pikes Peak drew him west.  Marshall stayed
a short time and then took a claim in western Nebraska.  He
married Emmeline Kellogg there in 1870.  To this union came eight
surviving children.  They moved to Iowa in 1874 and to a farm west
of Logan in 1882.

Carson lived a long and useful life and was
honored by all who knew him.  Though he was blind and deaf for
many years, he bore these great afflictions patiently and with extreme
kindness toward all.

Lieutenant Joseph Carson and Miss Charlotte Briggs.  While the
Civil War was raging, Major John Carson of Georgia became concerned
about the
education of his children.  So he hired a
tutor, a Miss Charlotte Keith Briggs of Greene county in Virginia, who
seeking employment as a governess.  Major Carson arranged for his
brother, Lieutenant Joseph Carson, to get a furlough for the purpose of
escorting Miss Briggs from Richmond to the Carson home in Macon county.

The story goes that the lieutenant did not
want to escort a school teacher to Georgia.  He obeyed orders; but
he did
not care how he looked and did not bother to change his clothes or
shave when
he went to meet her.  Imagine his surprise when the school teacher
out to be a beautiful 25-year-old.  Miss Briggs took one look at
the dirty
soldier and made up her mind not to go anywhere with such a man.   Joseph Carson, blushing, asked her to think
it over and he’d come back later.

evening the calling card of Lieut. Joseph Perryman Carson was delivered
to her
room.  When she came downstairs, a
handsome young officer in a new uniform and new boots was waiting for
her.  She could hardly believe it was the same man that she had
seen that
morning.  She changed her mind and went to Georgia with Lieutenant

The lieutenant was wounded in battle in 1862
and witnessed his elder brother John dying in a hospital in Lynchburg,
two years later.  But there was a happy
outcome.  Joseph Carson married Miss Briggs
in Macon county, Georgia on January 15, 1864.
And he survived the war and was able to return to the family

The Carsons in Utah.  George and
Ann Carson had begun their lives in Pennsylvania.  Later
they made their home in Garden Grove,
Iowa.  And it was from there that they
embarked with their family in June 1851 on that great trek west to the
colony in Salt Lake valley.  They all
there safely.  But George passed away
that December.

His son John and two of
his brothers established themselves at Fairfield, a growing town with a
of soldiers living there.  In 1858 John
built what is now known as the Stagecoach Inn. Here his family lived
operated a hotel for travelers until its doors closed in 1947.

The Inn was subsequently restored by the Utah
State Park and Recreation Commission and reopened in 1964.



Carson Names

  • Kit Carson was a 19th
    century American frontiersman.  Carson City in Nevada was named after him.
  • Edward Carson was the leader of the Irish Unionist party between 1910
    and 1921.
  • Rachel Carson was an acclaimed
    American conservationist, the author ot the seminal work Silent Spring. 
  • Willie Carson was English champion jockey four times in the 1970’s.  He also rode four Epsom Derby winners.
  • Johnny Carson was an American
    TV host and comedian, the long-time front of the Tonight Show.

Select Carson Numbers Today

  • 14,000 in the UK (most numerous
    in Northern Ireland)
  • 21,000 in America (most numerous in California)
  • 11,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Canada)



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