Births Deaths Marriages, Free People of Color, North Carolina, Paternal Kin

Carter kin?

Several months, when I was examining delayed birth certificates filed in Wayne County, North Carolina, I asked who the A.J. Carter was listed as a cousin on Christine “Nora” Aldridge Henderson‘s birth record. Today I found a marriage license for A.J. Carter and Mallie Simmons, and it hit me suddenly that A.J. was Ammie James Carter, (1) oldest of A. Marshall and Frances Jacobs Carter’s sons, (2) thus, nephew of “Papa” Jesse A. Jacobs Jr., and (3) brother-in-law of Beulah Aldridge Carter, my great-grandfather Tom Aldridge‘s sister.

But how in the world was Ammie Carter Nora Aldridge Henderson’s cousin? “Play” cousin? Or blood?

Ammie Carter, born about 1881, was the son of Archy Marshall Carter and Margaret Frances Jacobs. His mother Frances was the sister of Jesse A. Jacobs Jr., who reared my grandmother, and the daughter of Jesse Sr. and Abigail Gilliam (or Gilliard) Jacobs. Jesse and Abigail’s parentage is unclear, but they are believed to have been born in Cumberland or perhaps Sampson County. As far as I know, neither was related to Nora Aldridge’s parents, John W. Aldridge and Louvicey Artis.

Marshall Carter (1860-1922) was the son of William and Mary Cox Carter of Sampson County. I know little about them. Their census records are muddled by duplicate, but conflicting, entries, and most of their children seem to disappear from the record. An exception: daughter Virginia Ann “Annie” Carter (1863-1930) married Hardy Cox. They were close enough to Sarah Henderson Jacobs that my grandmother called them Cousin Annie and Cousin Hardy Cox. Was Annie Carter Cox really a cousin?)

And there’s this: on Sarah H. Jacobs’ 1938 death certificate, her mother’s maiden name is listed as Margaret Carter. When I asked my grandmother about it, she did not know why. I believe Sarah’s mother, who was otherwise known as Margaret Balkcum, was the sister of Mary Eliza Balkcum Aldridge. Is the Aldridge-Carter connection actually via their Balkcum side? Was their unknown father — a man of color — a Carter?

William Carter was the son of Michael Carter (circa 1805-circa 1875) and Patience, maiden name unknown, of Sampson County, whom I know only through the 1860 and 1870 censuses, in which they are enumerated in Sampson County. They both seem to have died before 1880. My lack of knowledge about Robert Aldridge or Mary Eliza Balkcum Aldridge‘s parents makes me hesitate to say that either (or neither) was related to Michael or Patience Carter. The same holds for Mary Cox Carter’s parents, whoever they might have been.

In short, for now, I have no answers.


8 thoughts on “Carter kin?

  1. Pingback: Friend or family? | Scuffalong: Genealogy.

  2. Mack W. says:

    I am the the Great-Great Grandson of William Carter and Mary Cox Carter’s daughter Sarah/Sallie. My Great-Great Grandmother Sarah/Sallie married John Henry Cobb (formerly John Henry Bryant) in 1880 in Wayne County. After John Henry died in the 1890’s, Sallie and her children left Wayne County and settled in Marianna (Lee County) Arkansas. She remained there until the 1920’s, when she moved with her son William Cobb and daughter Carrie Cobb to Little Rock where she passed away in 1934. I have been trying to understand how the Carters of Sampson County and the Bryants of Wayne County gained their freedom, as William and Mary were both free before 1860 (as well as William’s parents Michael and Patience) – and John Henry’s parents Barnaby Bryant and his wife Mary were free before 1860 as well. Also trying to understand why John Henry changed his last name from Bryant to Cobb, I believe it may have something to do with his father Barnaby’s legal troubles (Around 1870) but I am not certain.

    • Hi, Mack! I was hoping you’d find my Carter posts at both blogs. Thanks for commenting. I’m not a Carter (as far as I know), but I have family links to several of Marshall Carter’s descendants. I had no idea what had become of Sarah. Thanks for this info! Wayne and Sampson Counties (especially the latter) had large free colored populations, including many families who had been free since the 17th or 18th century. The paths to freedom were multiple — manumission, descent from white women, descent from Native men or women.

  3. Mack Wi. says:

    I found Barnaby Bryant living in Brogden in the 1870 Census, married to Mary Bryant – but by the 1880 Census Mary had died, and Barnaby himself was sick. John Henry is listed on the Census as John Henry Bryant, but when he married my Great Great Grandmother Sarah/Sallie Carter, he listed his name as John Henry Cobb on the marriage license – but listed Mary Bryant as his mother.

    Barnaby Bryant was referenced in a law book “Talk About Law” by Judge Robert W. Winston, page 70:
    “A case occurred in the county of Wayne in 1870 which is interesting. Barney Bryant had a hog stolen. He suspected a fellow named Cogdell; armed himself and went to Cogdell’s house. Cogdell,being accused by Bryant of the theft, ran away. Bryant ordered four times to stop, and then shot and hit him. For this Bryant was tried and convicted. ‘Had he killed when he shot it would have been manslaughter at the least,’ says the Court.

    It will be observed that this stealing did not occur in the presence of Bryant; nor did he say that he came to arrest Cogdell; nor was it shown that the shooting was necessary to prevent his escape; nor did he have a warrant. In this case the Court clearly intimates that one is not to be excused who slays another, not arrested, but fleeing from arrest for a minor felony, such as theft and the like. But it would seem that if the offence committed be capital, and a person present makes known his intention to arrest, and the felon flee, he may be killed if it be necessary to kill to prevent his escape.”

    • You earlier referred to the Bryants as free people, but I did not see them prior to 1870. I notice that one of John Henry’s sisters was called Smithy Cobb Bryant. (She married a Grady, and their descendants remain members of the Dudley community in which my cousins live.) I suspect that Mary and her children were owned by a Cobb during slavery, and their husband/father by a Bryant. It was not uncommon for freed people to use more than one surname before finally settling on a permanent one, which was not necessarily the same name chosen by their siblings.

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