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Carter, Isaac

by Kemisa Kassa, December 2023

ca. 1764 - March 24, 1834

A knoll overlooks a lake. There are trees along the lakeside and water tower in the background.Isaac Carter was a free person of color and Patriot soldier during the American Revolution. Carter was born in Cumberland County, North Carolina around 1764. Carter estimated 1764 as his birth year “according to the best information… received by me from my friends” later in life. He was the son of Charles Hill Carter and his third wife, who was likely named Shirley. Shirley died during childbirth at the age of fifteen. Charles remarried after Shirley’s death and again after his relationship with his fourth wife ended. At the time of Charles’s fifth marriage, Isaac left his family home.

After leaving, Carter served in the North Carolina Continental Line during the American Revolution. Most of the information regarding Carter’s service is detailed in his June 1833 pension application. He enlisted into the Line on February 5, 1777 with Colonel James Hogun in the Seventh Regiment of North Carolina. Carter was about thirteen years old at the time of his enlistment. While in service, Carter fought at the Battle of Brandywine Creek on September 11, 1777, and the Battle of Germantown on October 4, 1777. He and his regiment were in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania in the winter of 1777 and into the spring of 1778 before traveling to Monmouth, New Jersey. Then, on June 28, 1778 Carter fought British troops at Monmouth. Carter’s service continually moved him around New England during this time. Carter’s last engagement of his first term of service was the Battle of Stony Point in New York. After Stony Point, Carter was marched back to South Carolina in the fall of 1779. He was discharged in North Carolina “at a place called Lockhart's [sic: Lockwood’s] Folly about thirty miles South East of Wilmington.” Lockwood’s Folly is a river near present-day Supply, North Carolina, in Brunswick County. After his years of service, Carter returned to Cumberland County. He would return to military service two years later. 

Before reenlisting, Carter relocated to the Orangeburg District in South Carolina. He was stationed in the District during his first term of service when he met his wife, Ann Elizabeth “Nancy” Young, and her family. When they married in 1779/1780, Isaac was fifteen and Nancy was fourteen. The couple had their first child, William Young Carter, a year later. Isaac reenlisted in July 1781 for another twelve months of service. 

Isaac Carter’s second term of service began in Fayetteville as a ”Balloted Substitute” under Captain Dennis Porterfield in the North Carolina militia. From here, the company was moved to Camden in South Carolina and then to McCord's Ferry where they joined General Nathanael Greene in September 1781. With Greene, Carter marched to “Eutaw Springs where General Greene met with the British Army.” The Battle of Eutaw Springs on September 8, 1781 was Carter’s last battle in the American Revolution. According to Carter, the Battle “ensued where I was wounded in my left arm.”  After the British victory, the company including Carter was “marched through South Carolina to Bacon's Bridge near Charleston where I was [honorably] discharged.” According to Carter, he was unofficially discharged at Bacon’s Bridge. He traveled  to Wilmington to receive an official discharge from military service “to prevent our dispersing through the Country and save us From falling into the hand of the Tories.” In Wilmington, Carter was formally released from military service. Carter did not serve again after this formal discharge. 

Carter returned to Cumberland County after his discharge in Wilmington. After the war ended, Carter received a grant of land in Mississippi on the Rocky Creek in then Pike County (now Chatawa County). After 1786, he then moved back to the Orangeburg District in South Carolina. By the 1800 Orangeburg census, Carter’s family included Nancy and seven children. In 1811, the Carter family, along with some friends and neighbors, moved from the Orangeburg District in South Carolina to Pike County, Mississippi. Using the land granted from his service, Carter built his family a home in Chatawa. He lived in this home until his death in 1834. 

By 1820, Isaac, Nancy, and their ten children were living in Mississippi at the Pike County home. During his time in Pike County, Carter served the county in a variety of ways. He worked as a notary public and served on the county council. Carter also applied for and received his Revolutionary War pension while living in Pike County. 

Carter died on March 24, 1834. Both Carter and his wife were buried at their family home in Pike County, Mississippi.

Carter and Nancy had eleven children together, one of whom died in infancy. Their names were: William, Henry, John, Nancy, Polly, Allen, Bird, Derrell, Harvel, Israel, and Elizabeth. Some of their descendants fought in the War of 1812 and the Civil War.


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Dolese, Michael. “Isaac Carter (abt. 1764 - 1834).” WikiTree. March 9, 2022. (accessed January 31, 2024).

Entry for Isaac Carter, 1820. "Mississippi, State Archives, Various Records, 1820-1951." FamilySearch. (accessed January 31, 2024). 

“Family of Isaac Carter, ca 1764, NC - 1834, MS.” 

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“Isaac Carter.” Ledgers of Payments, 1818-1872, to U.S. Pensioners Under Acts of 1818 Through 1858 From Records of the Office of the Third Auditor of the Treasury. Record Group 217, Series T718, Roll 7. Washington, D.C: The National Archives. (accessed January 24, 2023).

“Isaac Carter.”  North Carolina Revolutionary Pay Vouchers, 1779-1782. Lehi, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2019. (accessed January 24, 2023).

“Isaac Carter.” Second Census of the United States. Orange, Orangeburg District, South Carolina. 1800. (accessed January 31, 2024).

“Isaac Carter, Revolutionary War Pension Application, File S8147. Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty Land Warrant Application Files 1800-1900, National Archives Microfilm, Microcopy M804, Roll 484.” The MSGenWeb Project. (accessed January 24, 2023).

“Pension application of Isaac Carter S8147.” Southern Campaigns Revolutionary War Pension Statements & Rosters. (accessed January 24, 2023).

“Roster of the North Carolina troops in the Continental Army.” Documenting the American South. (accessed January 24, 2023).

“The Privates, Horsemen, Fifers, Drummers, etc. - Last Names Beginning with ‘C.’” The American Revolution in North Carolina (accessed January 24, 2023).

“The Carters of Mississippi.” October 10, 2003. (accessed January 24, 2023).

United States Senate. The Pension Roll of 1835. Provo, U.T: Operations, Inc., 2014. (accessed January 24, 2023).

“Isaac Carter, 1809, Mississippi, Washington Meridian (West of Pearl River).” U.S., Indexed Early Land Ownership and Township Plats, 1785-1898 [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2011. (accessed January 24, 2023).

Additional Resources:

“Family traced back to free blacks who fought in the Revolution.” Associated Press. July 5, 2016. (accessed January 24, 2023).

Image Credits:

Thomas, Allan Harl. "Chatawa Mississippi where the Carter Home was located." Photograph. November 26, 2015. (accessed February 16, 2024).