Tuesday, May 24, 2016


We really know very little of the details of John and Hannah’s early years of marriage.  What little we do know has had to be gleaned from census records, land records and church records.  It will be remembered that John had bought a house in Portland in December of 1804.  About 16 months later he marries Hannah in March of 1806.   Assuming he was still a mariner at this point, his world was in the process of being overturned buy forces that led to the War of 1812.  In 1806 Britain passed the Non-Intercourse Laws that made trade between the colonies and anyone except Britain illegal.  In 1807 they physically placed an embargo on the Colonial coast and were impressing (capturing) colonial sailors who were involved with countries other than Britain.  This essentially stopped legitimate shipping almost completely and led to privateers who survived by hiding from the Crown.  So by 1807 John must have left sea life for good, though the actual date is probably closer to his marriage date. 

                It is possible that John had premonitions that the life of a mariner was going to become difficult as some 4 months before he married Hannah, John purchased for $1200 a tract of 72 acres part in Scarborough, Cumberland County and part in Saco, York County.  In fact in the census of 1810 the family was enumerated in Saco, though the children are recorded as being born in Scarborough.  In any case the land, though not adjoining his father’s property, was not far removed from his childhood home. Saco is the township in York County that is directly south of Sarborough, Cumberland County.  Sometime in this 1806 – 1810 time period John had to have moved from his home in Portland to the farm in Saco/Scarborough.

 The family tradition is that John and Hannah had their first three children in Scarborough.  Dominicus was born 21 Jun 1806, Almira followed on 3 Jan 1808 and Hannah was born on 28 Jun 1809.  Everything ever recorded have these children as born in Scarborough.  Land records and the 1810 census essentially support this tradition, albeit with the little twist of the census listing them in Saco.

1810 Census - John Carter Family in Saco, York, Maine
                  These census records prior to the 1850 census only give the name of the head of the house and numbers representing the numbers of males and females living in the home based on certain age ranges.  On the 1810 census the family is recorded thus:  1 Free White Male under 10 – (Dominicus 4), 1 Free White Male 26 thru 44 – (John 28), 2 Free White Females under 10 – (Almira 2 and Hannah 1), 1 Free white female 26 thru 44 – (Hannah 24).  Therefore this census enumerated John's family exactly as we know it.  Often non-family members lived in a home but in this case it appears to just be John's family in the home.

                John must have done well financially as a mariner as he had the money to buy the house in Portland in 1804 and then to pay $1200 for 72 acres of land in 1805.  As will be seen John was capable of purchasing land throughout his life probably based on some nest egg he did develop while working as a mariner and his apparent ability to manage money.   In any case it can be seen that around the time he married Hannah, he had left the sea and was a farmer, an occupation he would follow the rest of his life.


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