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John Carter (abt. 1613 - 1670)

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Col. John Carter
Born about in Newgate, London, Englandmap [uncertain]
Husband of — married in Lancaster County, VAmap
Husband of — married [location unknown]
Husband of — married in Englandmap
Husband of — married in Corotoman, Lancaster Co. VAmap
Husband of — married [location unknown]
Died in Corotoman Plantation, Lancaster County, Virginia Colony, Americamap [uncertain]
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Categories: US Southern Colonist | Corotoman Plantation, Lancaster County, Virginia | Lancaster County, Virginia, Slave Owners | House of Burgess, Virginia Colony | Lancaster County, Virginia Colony | Christ Church Parish, Virginia Colony | US President Direct Ancestor.

US Southern Colonies. This person settled in the US Southern Colonies Prior to incorporation into the USA.
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Ancestor of William Henry Harrison 9th US President



John Carter, Colonel

Born ca 1613
Died January 10, 1670 or June 10, 1669
Immigrated between 1638 and 1641
Married 5 times, see the Family sub-topic
Owned: Corotoman Plantation, Lancaster County, Virginia

Uncertain Origin

John was born ca 1613, based on his own statement in 1635 that he was "twenty-two."[1] He was certainly born in England, but his parentage is uncertain, and no birth or christening record has yet been identified.[2] He was probably the son of the Newgate vintner, John Carter and his second wife, Bridget Benion Carter, and if so, he was born at Newgate Christ Church, Middlesex, London, England.[3][1] Whoever his parents were, they were well connected with the Virginia Company, at least as business associates and possibly as family.[1]

Parents: John Carter and Elizabeth Benion. [1]
Place of birth: Newgate Christ Church, Middlesex, London, England.[1]

Specific date of birth: October 7, 1613[citation needed]


Edward Carter (d. 1682), House of Burgesses and governor's Council, was certainly related, but the exact connection is unknown.[1]

Thomas Carter (1672-1733), also of Lancaster County, may have been a first cousin, as there is some evidence their fathers were brothers.[3]

Early Years and Immigration

As a young man, John probably made frequent voyages, facilitating the tobacco trade between Virginia and London as a representative of the Virginia Company.[1] His family in England certainly had connections, both political and economic in Virginia.

On August 10, 1635, John boarded the Safety at London and gave his age as "twenty-two."[1] He may have also been identical to the John Carter who set off for Virginia in 1637, age 23, but the ship was captured by the Spanish.[1] He decided to settle in Virginia sometime between May 1638 and January 1641/2, when he began, almost immediately, his first term as burgess for Upper Norfolk County (later Nasemond).[2]


John married five times. He may have married for the first time to Jane Glyn before settling in Virginia.

1) Jane Glyn, born in Fulham, Middlesex, England, died before 1655, a daughter of Morgan Glyn.[3]

Children of John and Jane Glyn:

  1. Elizabeth Carter b ca 1651, d 4 Aug 1699; 1) Col. Nathaniel Utie, (as his 2nd), son of John Utie and Ann; 2) Capt. Henry Johnson; 3) Edward Boothby.
  2. George Carter died young
  3. John Carter, Lt. Col. born 1648, died 1690

2) Eleanor (Eltonhead) Brocas, married in 1655, daughter of Richard Eltonhead, widow and 3rd wife of William Brocas of the Virginia council.[1] She died soon after their marriage, and there were no known children.[3]

3) Anne Carter, married in 1656 on a trip to England,[1] daughter of "Mr. Cleve Carter."[3] She died soon after the marriage, and there were no known children.[1]

4) Sarah Ludlow, married in 1662, born 1635 and died before June 10, 1669, daughter of Gabriel Ludlow and Phillis Wakelyn, nephew of Cromwell's General Edmund Ludlow.[4] married by early 1660's.[1][3] Her son, Robert, was less than five years old when she died.

Children of John and Sarah Ludlow:[3]

  1. Sarah Carter died in infancy
  2. Robert "King" Carter b 1664, d 1732

5) Elizabeth Shirley/Sherley, marriage agreement executed on October 24, 1668, a widow from Gloucester County, and according to Stephen Carter, this was not a happy marriage.[3] Son, Charles, removed to England as a young man and died there in 1690. (Is it possible that his mother joined him? Billups-130 13:22, 20 December 2014 (EST))

Child of John and Elizabeth Shirley/Sherley:[1]

  1. Charles Carter b 1669 Lancaster Co, d 1690 England

House of Burgess and Other Offices

John served as Lieutenant-colonel, Burgess, and Councillor.[4] He was first elected in 1642 as Burgess for Upper Norfolk County (in 1646 Nansemond).[5] He served again in 1649 as Burgess for Nansemond County, and in 1654, 1657/58, 1658/59, and 1659/60, as Burgess for Lancaster County.[5][6] He was elected as Governor's council in 1658, but returned as a Burgess in 1659.[1] Records are incomplete, but in 1663, he had been reelected and was again serving as Councillor.[3]

John served as Commander against the Rappahannock Indians in 1654; he was made Colonel of Lancaster County in 1656.[3] His troops are said to have "entirely exterminated the Rappahannock Indians.[7]


By the time of his election as Burgess in 1642, John had probably established residence in Virginia.[1] He first settled in Upper Norfolk County (Nasemond) and meanwhile he acquired land in Charles River County (to become Lancaster in 1751). In 1642, John received his first of several land grants along the north bank of the Rappahannock River.[1] In April of 1652, he applied for an extension by act of the Assembly on his land in Lancaster County.[2] It seems that soon thereafter he moved to this land and built Corotoman plantation which became the family home.[2] Corotoman Plantation was located overlooking the Rappahannock, flanked by Carter's Creek on the east and the Corrotoman River on the west.[8] In 1656, John was made Colonel of Lancaster County militia, and by 1666, both he and his son, John, were members of the vestry for the Lancaster County Christ Church.[3]

Christ Church

John and his eldest son John were members of the Christ Church Parish vestry.[9] John, Sr. was found in the vestry book beginning in 1654 (no longer extant), and sons John, Jr. and Robert were also included, their names always preceding the minister's in a large, bold hand. Signatures in vestry books indicated social status, so this placement is significant. Meade writes he has never seen anyone else's signature placed before the ministers, even baronets like Skipwith or Chicheley.[9]

John also had the contract to build the original Christ Church, said to be "the oldest religious edifice in Virginia," despite the fact that it was rebuilt in brick by his son, Robert.[7] The original, probably built from wood, was finished in July 1670, six months after John died.[10] John and four of his wives are buried there.

Slaves and Indentured Servants

At the time of his death, John left some thirty indentured servants and some forty African slaves.[1] This increasing reliance on the lifelong service of African slaves as opposed to the finite service of indentured Europeans typified the changing labor norms in Virginia.[1]

Death and Legacy

According to the Encyclopedia of Virginia, John died on January 10, 1670,[1] probably at Corotoman Plantation, Lancaster County, Virginia. He was buried inside the Christ Church, now rebuilt on the foundation of the original. A large etched tombstone, to the right-hand side of the chancel, covers John, four of his five wives, and some of their children (Elizabeth Shirley is not there). The epitaph reads:

Here lyeth buried ye body of John Carter, Esq., who died ye 10th of June, Anno Domini 1669; and also Jane, ye daughter of Mr. Morgan Glyn, and George her son, and Elenor Carter, and Ann, ye daughter of Mr. Cleave Carter, and Sarah, ye daughter of Mr. Gabriel Ludlow, and Sarah her daughter, which were all his wives successively, and died before him.[3]

Note: According to Edmund Berleley, Jr., he died in 1669.[2] Researcher, Stephen Carter states his death date was 10 June 1669, but apparently the source for this is the "LDS."[3]

John left the majority of his estate to his eldest son, Lt. Col. John Carter, as was the tradition, but he specifically left to second son Robert: one-third of his personal estate, 1,000 acres on a branch of the Corotoman River, one-sixth of his books, and "his mother's hoop ring & christall necklace."[2] After son John's death, the inheritance transferred to the younger son, Robert "King" Carter, who vastly increased the family's wealth.[2] Robert had been well prepared, as also dictated in his father John's will, he had been provided a tutor for his classical education, including Latin.[2]

Research Notes

(One ref. states he was b. Garston, Hertford, England). Sarah: The Colonial Genealogist, vol.8, no.2 [Apr 1976], pp.65-66: by Dom W. Wilfrid Bayne, O.S.B., of Portsmouth Priory, RI). ().


  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 1.15 1.16 1.17 1.18 1.19 Quitt, Martin H. and the Dictionary of Virginia Biography. "John Carter (ca. 1613–1670)." Encyclopedia Virginia. Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, 15 August 2013. Web accessed 28 July 2014.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 Berkeley, Edmund , Jr., transcriber, editor, and annotator, "The Diary, Correspondence, and Papers of Robert "King" Carter" October 10, 2009, Web accessed July 28, 2014
  3. 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 3.11 3.12 Carter, Stephen "Stephen Carters John Carter Research", Posted by John Size on July 31, 2004, Web accessed July 28, 2014
  4. 4.0 4.1 Tyler, Lyon G., Encyclopedia of Virginia Biography, Vol I. (Page 60) New York: Lewis historical publishing company, 1915, Open Library, Web accessed July 28, 2014
  5. 5.0 5.1 Virginia. General Assembly. House of Burgesses; McIlwaine, H. R. (Henry Read), Journals of the House of Burgesses of VA, 1659/60-1963. (Vol 1 1619-1658/1659, Page ) Richmond, VA: [Library Board, Virginia State Library] accessed June 30, 2015
  6. Virginia. General Assembly. House of Burgesses; McIlwaine, H. R. (Henry Read), Journals of the House of Burgesses of Virginia. Richmond, VA: [Library Board, Virginia State Library] 1915, accessed June 30, 2015
  7. 7.0 7.1 Armstrong, Zella and Janie Preston Collup French, Notable Southern Families, Volume 2 (pages 59-62) Chattanooga, TN: Lookout Publishing Company, 1922, accessed December 20, 2014
  8. "Corotoman", Web accessed August 1, 2014
  9. 9.0 9.1 Bishop Meade, 1910 Old Churches Ministers And Families Of Virginia. (Vol II, Pages 110, 115-16) Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott Company, accessed 9 March 2016.
  10. National Historic Landmarks Program, Christ Church (Lancaster County) accessed December 20, 2014

See also:

  • Dowdey, Clifford, The Virginia Dynasties; the Emergence of "King" Carter and the Golden Age. Boston, Little, Brown [1969], Page 18.
  • Germanna Colonies, History of County Formations in Virginia 1617-1995. Germanna Colonies Family History: The State of Virginia, accessed June 30, 2015
  • Hayden, Horace Edwin, Virginia Genealogies: a Genealogy of the Glassell Family of ... (Page 225) Wilkes-Barre, PA: E.B. Yordy, printer, 1891, accessed December 15, 2015.
  • A History of the Carter Family. Copyright 1972 by Amer. Gen. Research Inst., Wash., DC
  • National Historic Landmarks Program, photographs of Christ Church Library of Congress, accessed December 20, 2014.
  • Nelson, Alice, 1984 Virginia Lineages, Letters & Memories. (p.194)


Thank you to Edmund Berkeley, Jr., for your excellent research on this family and for publishing online.

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On September 25, 2015 at 16:02GMT Vicki Norman wrote:

Nice biography .. interesting, concise facts, good organization.

On September 23, 2015 at 23:37GMT US Presidents Project WikiTree wrote:

Carter-9288 and Carter-413 appear to represent the same person because: death date is the same, without sources, hard to tell if -9288 is a different person.

On August 10, 2015 at 16:08GMT Nae X wrote:

Merge completed after set as an unmerged match by Kelsey-745 because not enough information.

Reasons: Same DOB, basic POB, Same DOD (off 1 year probably because of calendar used), same POD. Same info regarding member of House of Burgess, etc...

On September 15, 2014 at 03:27GMT Trudy Roach wrote:

I have info that Anne Carter might be the daughter of Charles Carter of Cleve. I am sorting out info. There are several trees with various info but not any valid sources like birth cert. or babtistism papers. None of the trees are backed up by sources.

On August 1, 2014 at 13:28GMT Cynthia B wrote:

Removed the suffix, II, to avoid confusion, (as some genealogies call this I), and the WikiTree convention is to only use a suffix if it was used during the person's lifetime, and we can always replace it, if someone has primary evidence of its use.

John is 16 degrees from Kevin Bacon, 19 degrees from AJ Jacobs, 29 degrees from Gene Kelly, 22 degrees from Bram Stoker and 16 degrees from Queen Elizabeth II of the Commonwealth Realms on our single family tree. Login to find your connection.

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