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52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks no. 33—John Carter (ca. 1790-1841)

John Carter, my 3rd great-grandfather, came from a prolific Carter clan. We do not really know the identities of his parents, but his father may have been named Caleb Carter.

John hailed from Greene County, Tennessee, one of numerous Carters in the county. Various sources report his birth date as 19 July in 1783, 1784, 1790, or 1793. His daughter Jane’s family Bible provides the 1790 date.

According to his widow’s claim for bounty land, John was drafted for the War of 1812 in February 1813 for the term of three months. He continued in actual service for six months. Her claim states he served as a private in the company of Captain Hyle under the command of Colonel Gibbs. At the time, his residence was Greenville, Tennessee.

After the war, John wanted to marry a neighbor girl, Polly Templeton. On 9 February, 1815 in Greene County, he executed an affidavit saying in part: on the 7 day of this instant he obtained a lacence (sic) of clerk of sd county to marry him the said Carter to Polly Templeton and further states that he lost them.” John signed the document with a mark, indicating that he could not write.

John did marry Polly that same day at Greenville, Tennessee. The first of their nine children arrived later that year:

  1. Susan (1815-1884)
  2. Shelton (1816-1890)
  3. Nancy (1818-1901)
  4. Bailey (abt. 1820-1847)
  5. Thena (1823-1855)
  6. Janete or Jane (1824-1907)
  7. Joseph (1827-1903)
  8. Elizabeth (1829-1848)
  9. Catharine (1832-1885)

After Susan’s birth, the family moved on to Wayne County, Kentucky. They lived in that state a number of years. When some lands opened up for settlement in Illinois, the Carters pulled up stakes and moved again. They became “Pioneers of 1830” in the about-to-be-formed Coles County, arriving on April 10 of that year. They settled east of the village of Ashmore.

Initially, John worked sometimes as a blacksmith in addition to farming. When other blacksmiths moved into the area, he gave up that trade and focused on his farm.

By 1841, John had become ill and knew he was dying. He asked that his funeral service be conducted on the Sabbath after his death. He requested the Scripture from the second Epistle of Paul to Timothy: 6-8. He said, “For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight. I have finished my course. I have kept the Faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day, and not to me only but unto all those also that love his appearing.” He instructed his children to “do the best you can and try and meet me in heaven.”

John passed away on July 19, 1841. He was buried in the Ashmore Cemetery, Coles County, Illinois.

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