Much time has gone into the search to find a reasonable beginning for The
Carter Family, but this has proven to be an impossible task.
The earliest information of this beginning was in Robeson County NC. The
census information of 1800 listed a Tabitha Carter on having a small child,
no name was given, only that the child was male. From this source of
information, which is purely conjecture, I was led to Nelson Carter, The
census of 1820 listed a Nelson Carter living in the town of Fayetteville NC.,
as head of house, having no family at that time. Following the census
information of 1820, 1830 and 1840 in the town of Fayetteville NC., Nelson
Carter was consistently listed.
The census of 1840 listed Nelson Carter as having a wife and two sons. Again
no names were given. Finally the marriage records were checked for
Fayetteville NC. The search yielded the marriage record for Nelson Carter
and Rona Smith. Records show they were married August 8, 1832.
Again, seeking the identity of the two sons of Nelson Carter, the census
records of 1850 were searched. No trace of Nelson Carter or Rona Smith
Carter was to be found. Deciding that Nelson Carter had moved, a search of
surrounding Counties was made, again yielding no results. Finally, going
back to the census records of Fayetteville, NC. for 1850 two Carter boys were
found living with a Jesse Burnette and his wife Elisabeth. The two boys were
William Nelson Carter and David Carter. Their ages were listed as William
Nelson 16, and David 14.
It was decided at this time to search the Wills to see if Nelson Carter and
Rona Smith Carter had died. This search was very fruitful, yielding the Will
of Nelson Carter. The Will proved to be a bonanza! It listed his two sons
William Nelson Carter and David Carter. The Will showed that Nelson Carter
had died somewhere around June of 1842.
The Will of Nelson Carter
In the name of God Amen. I Nelson Carter of town of Fayetteville being
of sound and perfect mind and memory (delected by hand) do this day
of May in the year of our Lord 1842 make and publish this my last Will
and Testament, in manner following that it to say. First I give and
bequeath to my friend Peter Port my home and lot in lower Fayetteville,
also two vacant lots with all my personal goods in special trust for my
two children William Nelson and David and I request of my friend Peter
Port to take charge of and keep my children and I further authorize
and empower the said Peter Port should be deemed it best to sale or
dispose of all or any of my real estate. In witness whereof I the said
Nelson Carter have to this my last Will and Testament set my hand and
seal, this day and year above written.
Nelson X Carter Seal
Signed, sealed & Mark
published in presence
John P. Leemont
Patrick Daily x
Filed June 1842
Peter Port qualified as Execution according to Law
were you see His Mark was how Nelson Carter signed his name
Apparently, Peter Port died before fulfilling the conditions of the Will. This is
probably why William Nelson and David Carter were in the Burnette home.
Again, an assumption will be made about William Nelson and David Carter,
that being that in some remote way, the Brunette's maybe the wife, Elisabeth,
was related to Nelson Carter.
The tax records for 1860's in Fayetteville and Cumberland County NC. failed
to list William Nelson and David Carter. This Prompted speculation that they
had moved away. Further checking of census information for Robeson
County showed William Nelson and David Carter living in Robeson County in
A search of marriage records show that William Nelson Carter married
Hellin Revels on November 24, 1855 and that David Carter married Caroline
Smith on November 29, 1856.
As a result of this information, new questions began to emerge, why had
William Nelson and David Carter left Fayetteville in their middle teens and
come to St. Pauls, NC.? Why had they come to the same community that
Nelson Smith lived in? To answer these questions it was necessary to do
further research. Lets remember that Nelson Carters wife Rona Smith and if
we examine the census information on the Nelson Smith Family we will find
that they migrated to Robeson County by way of Cumberland County from
Brunswick County NC.
In 1832, the same year that Nelson Carter and Rona Smith were married,
Nelson Smith and his family were living in Cumberland County NC. Nelson
Smith had a brother Huge Smith, who was born that same year in
Cumberland County. This prompted the speculation that Rona Smith and
Nelson Smith were brother and sister or related in some way, especially since
William Nelson and David Carter went directly to the St. Pauls community
where Nelson Smith and his family had located after leaving Cumberland
Again, we return to Tabitha Carter,could Tabitha Carter have been Nelson
Carter's mother. If not why was Nelson Carter given two lots of land in the
town of Fayetteville NC. in 1829? Could she have been a sister? Remember
the census in Robeson County of 1800 showing Tabitha Carter with a small
boy child. We may never know for sure, but one thing we can be fairly certain
of is that the life of Nelson Carter and Rona Smith Carter is a fact and no
conjecture is needed from their generation on: Their marriage is recorded
and the death of Nelson Carter is recorded.
So let's begin from this point, to try and determine how many offspring's
emerged from the union of Nelson Carter and Rona Smith.
One more point should be noted: little attempt has been made to record all the
Family of William Nelson and Hellin Revels Carter, only the first generation
of their family is recorded in this paper. It would prove too time consuming to
Another puzzling relationship was that of Angus Carter and Nelson Carter.
Angus Carter and Nelson Carter owned property jointly in Cumberland
On July 29, 1836 Angus Carter and Nelson Carter sold a two acre track to
James w. Carter. There is an amazing similarity in the names of Angus
Carter's children to those of William Nelson and David Carter.
This is a list of the Angus Carter Family as listed in the 1850's. Angus Carter
45, Dexdz 38, Nelson 16, Angus 15, John 13, Margaret 12, Betsy 10, David 8,
Alonzo 2, and Alva 2 months. David Carter's children, Margaret, Serenah,
Nelson, Isabella, Alonzo, William H. Fannie, Floyd, Sarah Elisa, Alvin, and
David Carter was mustard into the Confederate Army on May 19, 1862 at age
of 30. He was assigned to Company C, 54th Regiment of NC. He apparently
engaged in battle during the Civil War.
On September 21, 1866, David Carter was listed as absent without leave.
However, on November 7, 1863 he was officially listed as missing in action.
Later Military records show that he was wounded and captured on the
Rappahanneck River near Petersburg Virginia on March 25, 1865 by the
Union Army. He was held as a Prisoner of War at Point Lookout Maryland.
On March 16, 1864 David Carter was transferred to City Point Virginia for
an exchange of Prisoners of War. The exchange took place on November 17,
1864. David Carter was discharged from the Confederate Army on June 26,
1865. Next Page