Robert William Carter was American Revolutionary War Veteran

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 10, 2002

For those interested in Covington County history, it may be astounding to know there where at least five and possibly two other, veterans of the American Revolutionary War who lived for a time in and were buried in this county. Among these was one named Robert William Carter, a native of Edgefield District, South Carolina. He was born in 1757 to Thomas and Rachel (Pike) Carter.

In 1780-1781, William served 150 days in South Carolina and fought under General Nathaniel Greene at Eutaw Springs, the last major engagement between the British and the Americans in the South. Interestingly, another of the five Revolutionary War veterans buried in Covington County. Jeremiah Dixon, fought in the same battle, but under a different command.

After his discharge from the army, William moved to Georgia, where he married Jane Thomas in 1786, in Warren County. Jane had been born in 1765, in Hancock County, Ga. They reared the following large family of children: Michael, b. 1787; William, b. 1789; John "Jack," b.1791; Hiram, b. 1793; Asa, b. 1797; John Simpson, b. 1799; Lee, b. 1803; Patience, b. 1805; Enoch, b. 1897; and two other daughters, Jane and Mary.

William's wife, Jane, died in Hancock County in 1818, which left him a widow with a number of young children. For some reason, he and several of his grown sons decided to move from Georgia. This could well be because he "drew land" in Covington County in 1821. On December 13, 1823, he bought land located a mile or so east of the present-day Heath, near the source of Five Runs Creek. Over the years, several of his sons purchased land in the same area.

William and his sons became some of the earliest settlers in the county. They took an active interest in local politics, for the signatures of Michael Carter and William Carter appear on a petition to Governor Pickens in 1823 to make William Hewitt the sheriff of Covington County. However, Michael Carter himself, William's oldest son, received the appointment instead of Hewitt. A few months later, the signatures of Hiram Carter and William Carter Sr., appear on another petition to Gov. Pickens in 1824 to make John William Devereux the Judge of the County Court.

William died during 1924 and was buried in the historic Carter Cemetery, located about a mile east of Coldwater Church and a short distance north of County Road 86, the Dunn's Bridge Road. The cemetery is well maintained at present, but the grave of William in not marked.

William's sons were also prominent in their communities. His oldest son, Michael, was probably the first of the family to come to this county. Records indicate he was here by 1820, a year before the county was organized. He settled first in the Montezuma community along with the very first settlers in the area. He was appointed sheriff of the county in 1823 and continued to led in the affairs of the new county.

William Carter Jr. was in Covington County by 1821 when he was appointed to serve as a county commissioner to help organize the new county. He and the other commissioners were to select a site for the new county seat and contract for construction of the public buildings. A few years later he became captain of a subdivision of the county in command of a militia company from his district. In 1837, he was a private in Captain Littleberry Rogers's Company of Mounted Infantry, Alabama Militia. A John Carter, who was probably William Jr.'s brother, served in the same company.

Hiram was elected to the office of Justice of the Peace for Beat One in 1823. He resigned later and was made Vice Justice of the Peace for the same beat in 1824. That year his family, along with his father's, settled near Heath.

Asa was elected Constable for Beat One in 1823. He was next elected Justice of the Peace for the same beat in 1826. He was re-elected to that office in 1850, 1853, 1856, 1859, 1862, and 1866.

Asa's wife was named Jane, just as his mother was. He and Jane were listed in the 1850 and 1860 Census of Covington County. He has died by 1870 when Jane is listed as head of the household. In 1850, the following children were in their household: Ellen, 28; Hiram, 26; Susan, 24; Mary, 22; Jane, 20, and Asa Jr., 14. The oldest daughter, Martha, had apparently married, and two younger children, Elizabeth, b.1839, and Michael, b. 1842, were no longer in the household. In 1870, the following children and/or grandchildren were still residing in Jane's household: Ellen, 39; Jane Jr., 33; Asa Jr., 25; Mary, 25; Boon J., 17; Mary Jane, 15; Ellen, 10; and Elefair, 7. Mary could have been the wife of Asa Jr.

William's other sons and daughters' families are not recognizable in the census records, but they must have continued to live in this county. In the 1830 and 1840 censuses there were several Carter households, and a few of these appear to be descendants of William. However, the names do not exactly match those of William's children. His daughter in law, Jane, appears to be one of the households.

The Carter family is definitely one of the earliest to settle in the county, and there where more adult members than usual of the family to move here. There were seven households of this family enumerated in the 1830 census and at least 12 in 1840. They had a significant impact on the early history of Covington County.

Appreciation is expressed to Rex Everage of Enterprise, for his research on this Revolutionary War veteran and lending it for this writing. Sources used include Wyley Ward's "Early History of Covington County, Alabama, 1821-1871," Gus and Ruby Bryan's "Covington County History, 1821-1976," and other records.

Anyone who might have corrections or additional information on the above family history is requested to contact Curtis Thomasson at Route 9, Box 97, Andalusia, AL 3640 or Email:

Historical Meeting:

The Covington Historical Society will meet at 7 p.m. on Thursday, February 28, at the Andalusia Public Library. The program will be presented by Sue Wilson on the museum donations of the family of Dr. Terry of Red Level.