Monday, May 20, 2013

The Usual Suspects: A Cheat Sheet on Historical Virginia Families--The Virginia Carters

In high school, I was spoiled by one fantastic history teacher who made history come to life with his lectures. In his class, history was about people, real people, in all their power, might, glory, frailty, faults, and failures. It was interesting. It was exciting. It was real. And we learned.

And then I wound up in another class that was supposed to have been an honors US history class. And we filled out worksheets with lists of dates that Congress passed this act and that act that we were supposed to memorize.

Yeah. We spouted them back for the test, and that was that.

I love biographies and family histories. They're like little slices of history, where you glimpse the big picture through the lens of every day events.

A number of years ago while reading biographies of Robert E. Lee, I started researching some of the famous members of his family, which led to more research on colonial and Revolutionary War history, which led to more relatives, which led to the whole quagmire of the genealogy of the First Families of Virginia (FFV's). When I finally untangled myself, I had arrived at the people I have dubbed The Usual Suspects.

Since I have quite a few Virginia sites to present, let's deal with one family that is entangled in most of them.

Note: Most of the men mentioned were politically, socially, and financially influential, with significant land holdings, and most held multiple local political offices. Many were elected to represent their district in the House of Burgesses, and some received royal appointments to the Governor's Council. Council appointments were for life, and upon death, the son was sometimes appointed to fill the father's seat. To prevent redundancy, I won't list each individual's offices unless it provides clarity to the situation. Read with assumption that they were all powerful men.

This page will be updated as the relevant posts are published.

The Carters of Virginia

Generation 1. 
John Carter I of Corotoman (1613-1669/70) emigrated from London to Virginia in 1635. Settled the Corotoman plantation 1652 in Lancaster County, VA. Built the first Christ Church in Lancaster County.

Generation 2.
Robert "King" Carter (1663-1732), son of John Carter I. Inherited Corotoman 1690 after the death of older brother John II. A powerful man, Robert Carter amassed a holding of 48 plantations totaling 300,000 acres, making him the richest man in Virginia and earning him the nickname "King". Had 15 children by two wives. Built at own expense the current building of Christ Church.

Robert "King" Carter's surviving daughters all married powerful men. Biographer Douglas Southall Freemen in R. E. Lee Volume 1 details them thus:

The eldest of the five, Elizabeth, had a daughter of the same name who married William Nelson, president of council of Virginia.

Their son, Thomas Nelson, was a signer of the Declaration and a man of high patriotism. By a second marriage, this granddaughter of Robert Carter became the wife of George Nicholas and was mother of a treasurer of Virginia and grandmother of a governor, Edmund Randolph.

Judith, the second daughter of Robert Carter, married Mann Page of Gloucester. Among the descendants of this union were a governor and many men of station.

Still another of Robert Carter's daughters, Anne, married Benjamin Harrison and was mother of a son of the same name, Governor of Virginia and signer of the Declaration of Independence. Another of her sons was a brigadier-general in the Revolutionary army, and a third was president of the state senate. This same Anne Carter Harrison was grandmother of one President of the United States, William Henry Harrison, and great-great-grandmother of another President, Benjamin Harrison.

Mary, fourth daughter of Robert Carter, chose George Braxton as her husband. Their son was Carter Braxton, publicist and signer of the Declaration.

The fifth daughter of "King" Carter was Lucy, who became the wife of Henry Fitzhugh, progenitor of distinguished Virginians not a few.

... It is hard to believe that pure chance should have made the five daughters of Carter the ancestresses of three signers, three governors, and two Presidents.

The surviving sons of Robert King Carter were:

John Carter of Shirley (1696-1742) married Elizabeth Hill of Shirley, Charles City County.

Robert Carter of Nomini and Williamsburg (1704-1732) married Priscilla Churchill.
http://www.oldroadsoncetraveled.blogspot.com/2013/04/williamsburg-part-2.html

Charles Carter of Cleve (1707-1764) married 1) Mary Walker, 2) Anne Byrd of Westover, Charles City County.

Landon Carter of Sabine Hall (1710-1778) married 1) Elizabeth Wormeley, 2) Maria Byrd of Westover, Charles City County, 3) Lucy Taliaferro.

Generation 3.
John Carter of Shirley (1696-1742) married Elizabeth Hill of Shirley, Charles City County.
Children:
  1. Edward Carter (1726-1792) married Sarah Champe
  2. Elizabeth Hill Carter (1731-1760) married William Byrd III of Westover
  3. Charles Carter (1732-1806) married 1) Mary Walker Carter, 2) Ann Butler Moore
Generation 4.
Charles Carter of Shirley (1732-1806)
     married 1) Mary Walker Carter (1736-1770), daughter of Charles Carter of Cleve & Mary Walker
     married 2) Ann Butler Moore (1756-1810)
Total 23 children by two wives including:
  • Elizabeth Hill Carter (1764-1832) married Robert Randolph (1760-1825)
  • Dr. Robert Carter of Shirley (1774-1805) married Mary Nelson (1774- )
  • Ann Hill Carter (1773-1829) married Henry "Light-Horse Harry" Lee III (1756-1818)
Generation 5.
Dr. Robert Carter married Mary Nelson, daughter of Gov. Thomas Nelson, Jr. & Lucy Grymes
  • Hill Carter of Shirley (1797-1875) married Mary Braxton Randolph (1800-1864)

Ann Hill Carter of Shirley (1773-1829) married Henry "Light-Horse Harry" Lee III (1756-1818)
2 step-children, 6 children including:
  • Gen. Robert Edward Lee (1807-1870)
Generation 6.
Hill Carter of Shirley (1797-1875) married Mary Braxton Randolph (1800-1864), daughter of Robert Randolph & Elizabeth Hill Carter

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