John Carterís Family Killed on Clinch

By Emory L. Hamilton

From the unpublished manuscript, Indian Atrocities Along the Clinch, Powell and Holston Rivers, pages 158-159.

John Carter, a brother of the Dale Carter, who was killed at Blackmoreís Fort in 1774, had settled on a 400 acre tract of land on the northwest side of Clinch River, about 4 miles below Blackmoreís Fort, in Scott Co., in the year 1773. He had married a daughter of Joseph Blackmore and had seven children.

On August 27, 1787, Alexander Barnett, County Lieutenant of Russell Co., VA, wrote the following to the Governor (1):

That on July 9th last, the Indians had attacked the frontier, this time killing the wife of John Carter and six of his children, and at the same time plundering and setting fire to his house, thus reducing the bodies of his wife and children to ashes.

R. M. Addington, History of Scott County, page 99, says:

In a short time after moving to his farm, having planted his crop, and completing such other preparations as were necessary to move back to the fort, he went out one morning to listen for his horses and cattle, which had bells on, intending to collect them up prior to moving back to Fort Blackmore on the next day. This was locust year, and he went out early in order to collect his stock before the locust began their noises. He had proceeded about sixty yards from his house when he heard his wife cry out, "Oh John". Turning he saw eight or nine Indians entering his house, and at the same time they fired at him. Realizing his perilous situation, he thought it best to make his escape and go for assistance, rather than fight and exasperate the savages in an unequal contest. Hastening to the fort, he collected a company and returned to his house, which he found in flames. With some poles, his companions succeeded in pulling out of the burning coals the charred remains of his wife and six children, which they buried. When they had done this, they heard a plaintive groaning a little ways from the house, in the weeds and grass. They went to the place from whence the sounds came and found his little daughter, about ten years of age, with an awful gash across her abdomen and her entrails falling out. They carried her to the river and washed her, but she died before they finished. (Judge Wood and Peter Honeycuttís Letter, Draper MSS 4 C 27)

(1) Virginia State Papers, Vol. IV, page 335.

This file contributed by: Rhonda Robertson



Note: The following is submitted by Margie Brown as rebuttal to the often made claim that John Carter was a son of Charles & Lucy Carter of Amherst Co., VA.
One of the more tragic incidents in early Southwestern Virginia history was the death of Elizabeth Carter and her six children, by Indians in 1787. Her husband John Carter survived her and his will was filed in Russell Co., VA in 1803. This John and Elizabeth Carter have been misidentified by previous writers. In Dr. Miller's "Thomas Carter of Barford " genealogy, in "Lee County families," in an early "Blakemore Genealogy" and in Mr. Addington's "History of Scott County", all have identified John Carter as the son of Charles Sr. and Lucy Carter of Amherst County and Elizabeth, John's wife, as a Miss Blakemore. However, court documents from Sumner and Smith counties, Tennessee, prove otherwise.

My intent is to present court documentation, showing that Elizabeth Carter was the daughter of Charles Sr. and Lucy Carter of Amherst, and a step daughter of Captain John Blakemore. The above mentioned John Carter died in 1803 and his Will is of record in Russell County [Will Book 2 page 54]. His executor was .... Dale Carter son of Norris Carter.... John seemed to bequeathe his entire estate to his sister Sarah Pennington/Pendleton, but overlooked has been the fact that he left his slaves and other perishable estate unaccounted for. Other instruments show that John died 1803 in Smith County, Tennessee, and his estate was not finally settled until 1809 [Smith Co Will bk page 236, dated 1808, Russell Will Book 2, page 181 dated 1809.] There are other references to this estate in Russell County and Lee County court books between John Carter's death and the final settlement in 1809. In Russell Co. Will Book 2, page 137 is a sale and release to Matthew Moss and Wilson Cage of Smith Co., TN by Joseph Carter HEIR at LAW of John Carter, late of Smith County, TN., all his part and interest in the estate of John Carter. In Lee County, VA Deed Bk 2, page 192, a Charles Carter HEIR at LAW of Thomas Carter, who was a brother of John Carter, late of Smith Co, TN. makes another sale and release, again to Moss and Cage, as above. In Sumner County, TN., North Carolina Grant Bk 1 page 541, are the some other heirs at law of Thomas Carter: Morgan Carter, Joseph Carter, James Taylor and Elizabeth Carter, releasing their right to John Carter's estate to Moss and Cage. [see also Wythe Co., VA Superior Chancery Court suit dated 1828 Brickey vs Jones for all the children of Thomas Carter, as well as the will of Thomas Carter, who died 05 Oct 1803 and whos will was filed in Russell Co., VA 25 Oct 1803.]

I am going to cite further two Chancery Court suits out of Tennessee, the first is Sumner Co, TN suit # 9918, and second Mary Carter vs Dale Carter and others January Term 1832 Smith County, TN.

#9918: A certified copy of the Will of Charles Carter Sr. of Amherst Co, VA. Copy dated 19 July 1804 is presented in Sumner Co, Tn court. Charles Sr. died in 1766 in Amherst, and a careful reading of the terms of his Will are important. This Will names his five children and his widow Lucy Carter, and the slaves given to each:

1. son Dale Carter, one boy named Bob and one woman named Moll.
2. daughter Susanna, one man named Tom and one woman Judy.
3. daughter ELIZABETH one boy named Tom and one woman named Sal.
4. son Charles one boy named George and woman named Poll.
5. son John one boy named Saney (?) and girl named Rachel.

"If any of my said mentioned children should die without any lawful heirs begotten by their bodies, the negroes SHALL RETURN AND THEIR INCREASE and be equally divided amongst the rest."

Charles Sr. leaves nine other slaves and their increase to be equally divided amongst his said children but leaves his whole estate to his wife Lucy Carter DURING HER LIFETIME.

November term 1805 Sumner Co., TN:
Charles Carter ags Dale Carter exc'r of John Carter dec'd. Def sued on a bond for L95 [pounds] given to John Carter long ago. given for a negro Charles, now in the possession of Elmore Douglas, claimed by John Carter as the property of his wife, Sister of Chas. Carter. Deft thinks, Sal, mother of Charles as property left by will to mother for life, but left to Elizabeth who married Jno. Carter. And if she died without any lawful heirs begotten of her body the said negroes should return & her increase and be equally divided among the rest. John Carter's wife died 18 years ago [1787]. Mother eight years ago [1797]. Jno. Carter's wife and children died together. [Note: The above reference to Sal, mother of Charles, is a reference to the slave who was left by Charles Carter, Sr. to his daughter Elizabeth by his will of 1766. See the reference to Charles Carters will above.]

Smith Co Court Suit, TN State Archives listed as film #262 Box 15 file 779 and a portion misfiled in file 778:

Charles Carter Jr., the maker of the above instrument was the son of Charles Sr. and Lucy Carter of Amherst Co., VA and a step son of Captain John Blakemore of Blackmore's Fort. Charles Carter Jr. was born in December of 1760 in Virginia and died 01 January 1830 in Smith Co., TN. In 1779 Charles Carter Jr. married Mary Stanton the daughter of Richard and Charity Stanton. In 1779 he received land in [now] Sumner Co, Tn and settled on that land, known as Station Camp Creek by 1783. He had 7 children by Mary before abandoning her and moving to Jackson Co., TN with Mary Stanton's sister Milinda Stanton and had 7 children by her, Millie dying in 1820. After the death of Milly he made a marriage with a Rebecca Pearson, later Rebecca Stypes, with whom he had 2 more children. At Charles Carter Jr's. death Mary Stanton Carter, his only legitimate wife, returned from Livingston Co. KY. and claimed dower rights in the deceased Charles Carter Jr's. estate. Mary did prevail, and the lengthy lawsuit reinforces that Old Mrs. Blakemore's estate was divided into three lots and that Charles Carter Jr's. sister Elizabeth was killed by Indians in 1787.

The testimony of Robert McKinley: "Upon reflection witness says as to the death of John Carter's wife and children. He now recollects that Charles Carter Jr. stated the woman was killed and burnt up in the house by the Indians. When the white people got to the place the child was alive, hidinq in the corner of the fence with its bowels cut out and dyed on the same day after the mother was killed and burnt by the Indians." Mrs. Blakemore had died in 1797, and the above answer was in response as to why Charles Carter Jr. had given up a portion of the slaves left by Mrs. Blakemore. Mrs. Blakemore had moved on the Station Camp Creek land in October of 1794 and her husband John Blakemore remained in Davidson County, TN. The solution to the true heirs of Charles Sr. [of Amherst] and Lucy Carter are implied throughout this suit.

The heirs at law of the John Carter who died in Smith Co, Tn in 1803 but whose Will is filed in Russell Co. VA are all proven descendants of Peter and Judith Norris Carter out of Fauquier Co, VA. At least one of the children of Dale Carter who was killed at Blakemore's Fort in 1774, also appears to have claimed a portion of John Carter's estate. [Russell Co DBK 7 p. 131 ] showing a probability that this Dale was the son of Peter and Judith Norris Carter and not the son of Charles Sr. and Lucy Carter as has been claimed.

At Charles Carter Sr's. death in 1766 in Amherst Co. VA., he names five children. One daughter Susanna died and left a will in Washington Co., VA 15 January 1781. Elizabeth, as shown above, died in 1787, leaving Dale, John and Charles as the other children named. In 1797, the year of the death of Lucy Carter Blakemore, John Carter of Russell Co., VA. was appointed administrator of the estate of Elizabeth Carter [Russell Co. Law order Book 2 pg 379]. It would seem that under the laws of inheritance, Elizabeth had no estate until the death of her mother, and that estate would have passed to the 10 year old daughter who survived her mother by a few hours, and then to the child's father John Carter.

John Carter the younger, son of Charles Carter Sr., and brother to Charles Carter Jr. could not have been buying or selling land in Southwest Virginia prior to circa 1782, when he would likely have reached his majority, having been born after December 1760 and before the death of his father in 1766. If John and Lucy "Carter" Blakemore left the Clinch in 1779, it would be unusual to leave behind her youngest son, who was under the age of 20.

The Dale Carter killed by the Indians at Blackmore's Fort in 1774 has also been misidentified as another son of Charles Sr. and Lucy Carter. The administrator of Dale Carter's estate was identified as his brother Thomas Carter. Thomas Carter was a son of Peter and Judith Carter [Wash. Co., WBK 1 p 25], who has also previously been identified as a brother of the John Carter who died in 1803. Further, upon the death of Lucy Carter Blakemore in 1797, as stated above, the estate of Charles Carter, Sr. was divided into three lots. We know that Susannah left a will in Washington Co., VA in 1781 and that Elizabeth was killed by indians in 1787 leaving Dale, Charles Jr. & John Carter as the living heirs of Charles Carter Sr. All this means that the Dale Carter killed by indians in 1774 couldn't have been the son of Charles Sr. & Lucy Carter.

I would like to thank David Johnson a descendant of Charles Carter, Jr. and Mary Stanton Carter for sharing the finding of the misfiled portion of the Smith Co. lawsuit in box 778 and the birthdate of Charles Carter Jr. in a deposition filed in another Smith Co. suit. Other records that Carter researchers should look at: [Fincastle Co. VA. Loyal Land Grants, pgs. 82, 83 & 85. Lee Co., VA DBK 1 p 83. Montgomery Co., VA Survey Bk A pg. 72. Washington Co., VA Survey BK 1 p 151] All Carter discussion would be better directed to David Johnson. Carter researchers need to rework this line, as the previous reports on this family are apparently incorrect.

See Also the story about Dale Carter Killed at Blackmore's Fort.

Submitted by Margie Brown with the helpful sharing of David Johnson on 04 Aug 2002.




11341 visitor since May 17, 1998


Back to Russell VAGenWeb