CARTER, John. - The life and work of John Carter are a part of the yesterday of Jacksonville and Morgan County, yet so faithfully did he perform his share towards subduing the wilderness, and so substantially was he later connected with the business life of the town, that he is assured of permanent remembrance, notwithstanding the fact that seventeen years have elapsed since his death, March 5, 1889. Mr. Carter was the representative of an English family established near Cartersville, Cumberland County, Va., October 17, 1821. His father, John Carter, Sr., is supposed to have been born in the South, and in 1825 came overland to Morgan County, where he settled on land of primeval wilderness, and devoted the balance of his life to farming and stock_raising. He was a man of ability and resource, and represented the law for several terms as Justice of the Peace.
John Carter, Jr., was four years old when he came to Morgan County. As soon as his strength permitted he performed small tasks around the home farm, gradually making his labor of practical use, and devoting his leisure to roaming over the timber lands in search of game which then abounded in large numbers. Eventually he engaged in trading of various kinds, and at the outbreak of the Mexican War volunteered under John J. Hardin, whom he accompanied to Mexico, and there participated in several notable engagements. In 1847 he married, near Lynnville, Morgan County, Nancy Todd, who died a few years later without issue. In 1860 he married Mary H. Carter, eldest daughter of Col. William Gordon, a prominent character in the early days of Morgan County, and a valorous soldier in the Black Hawk War. Mr. Gordon was a man of liberal education, and after coming to Illinois represented Morgan County one term (1834_1836) in the State Legislature. He was the friend of education, and voted for the charter of Illinois College.
In 1870 Mr. Carter abandoned farming and moved to Jacksonville, where he purchased an interest in a drug store, and conducted the same in partnership with his brother_in_law, B. F. Beesley, for three years. He then became sole owner of the drug store, to the management of which he devoted the balance of his life. Thereafter the store was managed by his wife for seven years, when it passed out of the possession of the family. This was the first drug store in Illinois, having been established by David B. Ayers, one of the first settlers in Morgan County. Three children and his wife survive Mr. Carter. Of these, Grace lives with her mother in Jacksonville; Stella is the wife of A. S. Mitchell, of New York City; and John Gordon is an attorney of Chicago.
Many public undertakings in the early days of the county claimed the attention and support of Mr. Carter. He was public spirited in the extreme, and a generous contributor to worthy causes, among them the Christian Church at Lynnville, of which he was an Elder for many years. Politically, he was first a Whig, but after studying the slavery question from all sides, joined the Republican party. In all his dealings with his fellow_men he was the soul of honor, and as farmer and druggist invested his work with dignity and thoroughness. His memory was a storehouse of events connected with the early settlement of the county _ events which soon will exist only in the pages of history, and in the memories of the descendants of the pathfinders.