It is probably smart that we step back from the chronological story of John Carter to discuss the births and names of the family members. To the best of my knowledge there is no family Bible that recorded this family. If there was one, its existence is unknown to me. In addition we have a family who after 1834 and surely by 1846 was being scattered never to be a single unit again. Efforts by the family members to collect the family record began, as we know it with a list of the family gathered by John’s son, Phillip, in December, 1835. William Furlsbury Carter, another son, likewise collected this information it appears from Phillip in 1854 as he returned from his mission to India. So we have those two accounts from the family.
In addition we have the records of Newry, Maine where the family had settled. It was in Newry that the last eight of the children of John and Hannah would be born. Interestingly these records were not compiled as the children were born but all in one group indicating that they were being registered in the town records. This was a common practice in New England towns that family groups were registered in a town when they moved there or the town would occasionally gather the records of families. Some towns would record children as they were born in the community but an occasional listing was frequently done in many towns. This could lead to false assumptions of birth place and would usually leave off children who had previously died.
|Newry, Maine Town Record of Carter Family|
In 1821 or 1822 the Carter children were enumerated in Newry. The original document reads:
Dominicus Son of John and Hannah Carter was born June 21, 1806.
Almira Carter Daughter of John and Hannah Carter was born January 3, 1808
Hannah Carter Daughter of J & H Carter was born June 23, 1809
William Carter Son of J & H Carter was born May 1, 1811
Philip Carter Son of J & H Carter was born January 17, 1813
John Carter Son of J & H Carter was born October 6, 1816
Eliza Ann Carter Daughter of J & H Carter was born September 28, 1818
Richard Harrison Carter Son of J &H Carter was born August 8, 1820
( Office of Town Clerk, Newry, Maine, Town Records, 1805 - 1846, Family History Library Film #11589, pages unnumbered.)
The first obvious problem with this list the logical assumption that since this is a listing of children born in Newry, that all of these children were born there. We have ample proof that the family did not move to Newry until after the first three children were born. William was the first of their children to actually be born in Newry. The second problem is that this is a list of living children and they had lost one child born between Philip and John. The third problem is that this list is incomplete as John and Hannah had two more children born after the record was recorded. Because the town did not record children as they were born in this era and the Carters would move before another record would be made these last two children were never recorded in the town of their birth.
We need now to turn to the first of the two listings done by children of John and Hannah. The first is a record of Philip Libby Carter. Philip had left Newry early (around 1835 or so) and had moved to Massachusetts. There he worked at blacksmithing, married Martha Eames York (whose siblings married William Furlsbury and Hannah Carter), and in May of 1851 moved to Hancock County. I have not seen the original of Philip’s listing of children but our early Carter research Leslie A. Carter transcribed it on a visit to his cousin Dora Carter Bolt of Lima, Illinois in 1952. He titled the document “Transcript of Family Record of John and Hannah K. (Libby) Carter compiled by Philip L. Carter. Date: Dec – 1853” The following is his record:
|Philip L. Carter's List (Transcribed by Leslie A. Carter)|
The Record of
Dominicus Carter was Born June the 21st 1806
Almira Carter was Born January the 3d 1808
Hannah Carter was Born June 28, 1809
William Carter was Born May 1 1811
Philip L Carter was Born January the 17 1813
John H Carter was Born January 13, 1815
John Carter Jr. was Born October 6 1816
Eliza Ann Carter was Born September 28, 1818
Richard Carter was Born August 8, 1820
Mary Jane Carter was Born March 13, 1823
Rufus Carter was Born October the 9 1825
John Harrison Carter dyed April 11 1815
Rufus Carter dyed October the 9 1827
( Philip Libby Carter, List of Siblings recorded by Mrs. Dora Carter Bolt and transcribed of a family record of John and Hannah K. (Libby) Carter compiled by Philip L. Carter, dated Dec., 1835 – copy by Leslie Carter in possession of Robert E. Givens, Clovis, CA.)
This is a remarkable document as it includes all eleven children of John and Hannah. If the date of creation if accurate he would have had his parent’s help in creating this or maybe at that point there was a family Bible that he could have copied.
Before doing an analysis of this document, let’s address the 1854 version of the family produced by William Furlsbury penned during his return from a mission to India. The letter is addressed to his wife Sarah and dated 5 Feb 1854 in Boston. He had caught typhoid in India and had to leave his mission early. After asking to sail to New England , so he could visit his family left behind there, he was allowed to make passage with a ship sailing to Boston. He landed in Boston on 10 November 1853. He spent the rest of November with family in the Maine leaving for the West on 5 December 1853. Five days before Christmas in 1853 he arrived at Lima, Illinois where he visited with his siblings Philip, Mary Jane and Almira. It was here that he learned of the death of his father, John, and Jacob Dooley, Mary Jane’s husband. William’s letter clearly says Boston so he probably started to write it there but based on the date he was most surely in Illinois when he finished it. Since the listing of the children in his letter is almost identical I suspect he copied the information from the list that Leslie A Carter transcribed in 1952. Here is William’s listing:
|William F. Carter - Letter of 1854 listing siblings|
John Carter b. May 19, 1783 in Scarborough
Hannah N (sic) Carter b. October 9, 1786 in Scarborough
Dominicus Carter b. Jun 21, 1806 in Scarborough
Almira Carter b. January 3, 1808 in Scarborough
Hannah Carter b. June 28, 1809 in Scarborough
William F Carter b. 2 May 1811 in Newry
Phillip L Carter b. 11 January 1813 in Newry
John H Carter b. January 13, 1815 in Newry
John Carter Jr. b. October 6, 1816 in Newry
Elizann Carter b. September 23, 1818 in Newry
Richard Carter b. August 8, 1820 in Newry
Maryane Carter b. March 13, 1823 in Newry
Rufus Carter b. October 9, 1825 in Newry
John Harrison Carter died in ... Aprill (sic) 11,1815
Rufus Carter died in Newry October 9, 1827
(William Furlsbury Carter, Letter: Boston (sic), to Sarah Carter, 1854 Feb. 5, LDS Church History Library, MS 18978. Original letter donated to the Library by the author of this work.)
We owe a lot to Philip and William for compiling these lists. Without them we might have had problems collecting the complete record of this family. My grandmother, Christa Lillis Wilkins Givens Damron, who was William’s granddaughter, wrote a moving story of rereading the letter with William’s listing of the family in the 1930’s or 40’s and realizing that her branch of the family had totally left Rufus Carter out of this family group. So these lists were of a great value to our early genealogists.
One more topic ought to be addressed at this time: Names! There have been issues for what seems forever over the actual names of some of the members of this family. First I would like to point out that the exactness of names as we perceive them now, has not always been that way. An illustration of this can be drawn from my mother’s family. My mother was named Jennie Elizabeth after her grandmother. The only problem was her grandmother, Jennie Elizabeth Beck Sands, was actually born Elizabeth Jane Beck and changed her name in 1870 when she married my great grandfather. So were names in those days. People often changed or altered their names. With this in mind let’s visit a few names in this family:
John Carter – I have done extensive research on John and have never seen a middle name or initial for him in any document that I have viewed. Yet in the family is a tradition that his name is really John C Carter. If that is claim could be substantiated by records held by others I would love to have you step forward and let us see the documentation.
William (Furlsbury) Carter – Now William is my 2nd great grandfather so I feel vested in studying him. I really think he was born William Carter. The Furlsbury never appears before the Illinois period of his life. I think at that point he made up a middle name to differentiate him from the other William Carters in the Church.
John (Harrison) Carter (Jr.) – This second John in the family, born after the first John H. died in 1816 was apparently born just John Carter Jr. He was known by that all the way through the Nauvoo years and it was only after then that he started using John Harrison Carter as his name.
Now that the family of John Hannah has been established, we need to move on the John’s life in Newry.