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The Carter Project

Last year I wrote about my pioneer ancestors Thomas Reed and Anne Kirkham. This year I will tackle their contemporaries John Carter (abt. 1790-1841) and Mary (Polly) Templeton (1792-1857). Both couples were original settlers in Coles County, Illinois in 1830.

They had all migrated from Kentucky, and their children Caleb Reed and Jane Carter eventually married.

Although these people had lived in the Bluegrass State for a time, they did not reside near one another. Thomas and Anne lived in Spencer County, and he born in Pennsylvania.

John and Mary had traveled to Wayne County, Kentucky from Tennessee after their marriage. Prior to that, he had served in the War of 1812

This week I dug into my cousins’ research yet again to see what they collected about the Carters. They had half a dozen Carter genealogies written by various people. I found photocopied pages from county histories and Mary’s application for a war widow’s pension. There were several issues of a family newsletter for Mary’s people called The Templeton Times.

This will give me a good start on the research into this couple. I anticipate a challenging year. I know nothing about doing Tennessee research and will face a learning curve there.

The Carters were a large family with a common name, and it will be difficult to keep all the family lines straight. Online trees attribute several different sets of parents to John and Mary. Will I be able to make a good case for their true parentage?

The research begins this week with a review of the original sources—the widow’s pension application, and the family Bible pages as reproduced in the Reed family history.

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