BY ANNIE CRENSHAW
The Carters, who were among Butler County’s earliest settlers, included not only an American Revolution veteran, but several War of 1812 veterans.
Revolutionary War veteran John Carter, born about 1755 in Virginia, bought 160 acres of land in what is now Butler County in August 1818.
His name was recorded in the Receiver’s Office ledger in Milledgeville, Georgia, as “John Carter Sr.,” then a resident of Jones County, Georgia.
The Carters had come to Alabama even earlier than 1818.
“Col. Larkin Cleveland and Mr. John Carter” of Franklin County, Georgia obtained a passport through Creek Indian lands to “visit the newly acquired territory” of Louisiana in February 1804.
John’s son, Absalom Carter, made the same trip with Larkin Cleveland and David Cleveland in 1810.
In those 1804 and 1810 trips, the Carter men must have passed through the area that would become Butler County, and they liked what they saw.
They returned to purchase land here as soon as the federal government opened a territorial land office at Milledgeville in 1817.
The family’s decision to move from Georgia may have been delayed a few years as Revolutionary veteran John Carter’s sons: Absalom, Jarrett, Thomas, and John Carter Jr. (and probably their brother David, as well) served in the War of 1812.
The Carters were definitely a patriotic family whose men believed in serving their country.
John Carter Sr. received bounty land grants in Georgia for his military service.
By 1788, he was living in Franklin County, Georgia, where he was a respected man, a person of honesty and integrity. His name is mentioned frequently in Franklin County court records as an estate appraiser.
Family documents and court records indicate that John Carter’s wife, Nancy (Ann), who is thought to have been a Jarrett, died sometime after 1809, when she signed a deed in Franklin County, and before the 1830 census, when her husband John was living alone in Butler County.
John’s son, Absalom Carter, was an even earlier landowner here than his father. In fact, Absalom was the very first person known to purchase land in what is now Butler County, in August 1817.
The Carters chose to make their home near one of our county’s famous pioneer forts: Fort Bibb. They bought hundreds of acres of land at Pine Flat in northwestern Butler County, along what is now Alabama State Highway 10 between Greenville and Pineapple.
The men of the Carter family voted in Butler County’s first election held in 1820. One of the first designated voting precincts was Fort Dale, and the other was at “the house of Jesse Womack at Fort Bibb” – where voters included John Carter and his sons, David Carter and William Carter.
John’s son Absalom was appointed our first county treasurer in 1820.
John’s sons William and Alfred Carter owned shares in the Butler Springs mineral-water resort for a time.
John Carter and his wife Nancy had nine children: Thomas Carter (married Frances Glover), Absalom Carter (married Nancy Wilkerson), Jarrett Carter (married Martha “Patsy” Bowen), David Carter, John Carter Jr. (married Frances Warren), William “Billy” Carter (married Lucinda Luckie), Frances Carter (married Jesse Womack, Butler County’s first sheriff), Oliver Carter (married Mary Livingston), and Alfred Carter (married 1st, Sarah Livingston, 2nd, Nancy E. Jones).
Some of the Carter children and grandchildren emigrated to Texas, where Oliver Carter became known as the “Baron of Freestone County.”
John’s son Jarrett Carter went to Mississippi, while the others remained in Alabama.
Revolutionary War veteran John Carter died March 8, 1843. His grave in the Carter Cemetery at Pine Flat bears no marker that can be found today.
He deserves to be remembered, and his resting place should be marked, as should all of our military veterans.
Remember that as you look at your own family tree. Is every veteran’s resting place marked?
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) furnishes upon request, at no charge to the applicant, a government headstone or marker for the unmarked grave of any deceased eligible veteran, in any cemetery around the world.
Proof of service (in any war, from the American Revolution to date) includes military records as well as Federal pension documents and land warrants.
See https://www.cem.va.gov/hmm/ or call 1-800-698-2411.
Let’s mark ALL of our military veterans’ burial places. They made the sacrifices that gave us the free country we enjoy today.