Robert Carter I
|Robert Carter I|
|Colonial Governor of Virginia|
|Preceded by||Hugh Drysdale|
|Succeeded by||Sir William Gooch|
|25th Speaker of the Virginia House of Burgesses|
|Preceded by||Philip Ludwell|
|Succeeded by||William Randolph|
|Preceded by||William Randolph|
|Succeeded by||Peter Beverley|
Corotoman Plantation, Lancaster County, Virginia
|Died||4 August 1732
Lancaster County, Virginia
As President of the Governor's Council of the Virginia Colony, he was acting Governor of Virginia in 1726-1727 after the death in office of Governor Hugh Drysdale. He acquired the moniker "King" from his wealth, political power, and autocratic business methods.
Robert Carter was born at Corotoman Plantation in Lancaster County, Virginia, to John Carter (1613–1669) of London, England, and Sarah Ludlow (1635–1668) of Maiden Bradley, Wiltshire. In 1688, he married Judith Armistead of Hesse in Gloucester County, an area which was included in the formation of Mathews County in 1691. After her death in 1699, he married Elizabeth Landon in 1701.
At age 28, Robert Carter entered the General Assembly of Virginia as a Burgess from Lancaster County, serving five consecutive years. In 1726, as President of the Governor's Council, he served as acting Governor of Virginia after the death of Governor Hugh Drysdale.
As an agent of Thomas Fairfax, 6th Lord Fairfax of Cameron – known simply as Lord Fairfax – he served two terms as agent for the Fairfax Proprietary of the Northern Neck of Virginia. During his first term, 1702–1711, he began to acquire large tracts of land for himself in the Rappahannock River region of Virginia. Carter acquired some 20,000 acres (81 km2), a large part of which was the 6,000-acre (24 km2) Nomini Hall Plantation, also spelled “Nomoni” or “Nominy,” which he purchased in 1709 from the heirs of Col. Nicholas Spencer, cousin of the Lords Culpeper, from whom the Fairfaxes had inherited their Virginia holdings.
When he became representative of Fairfax’s interests again in 1722, serving from 1722–32, he secured for his children and grandchildren about 110,000 acres (450 km2) in the Northern Neck, as well as additional land in Virginia west of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Carter died on 4 August 1732, in Lancaster County, Virginia, and was buried there at Christ Church. He left his family 300,000 acres (1,200 km²) of land, 1,000 slaves and 10,000 British pounds in cash.
When Lord Fairfax saw Carter's obituary in the London monthly The Gentleman's Magazine, he was astonished to read of the immense personal wealth acquired by his resident land agent. Rather than name another Virginian to the position, Fairfax made arrangements to have his cousin, Colonel William Fairfax, move to Virginia to act as land agent, with the paid position of customs inspector (tax collector) for the Potomac River district. Fairfax himself then visited his vast Northern Neck Proprietary from 1735–37, and he moved there permanently in 1747.
Carter had five children with his first wife, Judith Armistead:
- Sarah Carter (born ~1690)
- Elizabeth Carter (~1692-1734) married Nathaniel Burwell.
- Judith Carter (born ~1694) died in infancy before her mother and buried near her at Christ Church
- Judith Carter (1695–1750) married Mann Page.
- John Carter (1696–1742) married Elizabeth Hill of Shirley Plantation
Carter had ten children with his second wife, Betty Landon:
- Anne Carter (1702–1743) married Benjamin Harrison IV; (parents of Benjamin Harrison V and grandparents of President William Henry Harrison).
- Robert Carter II (1704–1734) married Priscilla Churchill.
- Sarah Carter (~1705–1705)
- Betty Carter (~1705–1706)
- Charles Carter (1707–1764) married Anne Byrd, daughter of Col. William Byrd II.
- Ludlow Carter (born ~1709)
- Landon Carter (1710–1778) married Maria Byrd, daughter of Col. William Byrd II.
- Mary Carter (1712–1736) married George Braxton; (parents of Carter Braxton).
- Lucy Carter (1715–1763) married Henry Fitzhugh
- George Carter (1718–1742)
Other notable descendants include:
- Robert Burwell (1720-1777), grandson, member of the House of Burgesses
- Robert Carter III (1727–1804)
- Carter Braxton, grandson, signer of Declaration of Independence
- Talcott Eliason (1826–1896) J.E.B. Stuart's Field Surgeon during the Civil War;
- Robert E. Lee (1807–1870) Confederate States Army general.
- Robert Randolph Carter (1825-1888), Confederate States Army first lieutenant
- John Page (1743–1808) 13th Governor of Virginia.
- Mann Page(1749–1781) Virginia delegate to the Continental Congress in 1777
- Thomas Nelson Page(1853-1922) US ambassador to Italy during the Woodrow Wilson administration.
- William Nelson Page (1854–1932) American civil engineer and industrialist.
- James "Gentleman Jim" Robinson, one of the wealthiest African Americans in the Manassas area, but is also known because his homestead was located between the lines of the Confederate and Union armies during two major battles of the Civil War.
- Robert Carter III
- Carter's Grove Plantation
- Corotoman Plantation
- Rosewell Plantation
- Shirley Plantation
- History of slavery in the United States
- Brock, Robert Alonzo (1888). Virginia and Virginians, Vol. I, p. 40. Richmond and Toledo: H.H. Hardesty.
- Foundation for Historic Christ Church. "History: Robert "King" Carter of Corotoman (1663-1732)". Historic Christ Church. Lancaster County, Virginia: Historic Christ Church. Retrieved 22 December 2010.
- The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, the Virginia Historical Society, Vol. VIII, June 1901, William Ellis Jones, Richmond, 1901
- Garber, Virginia Armistead (1910). "John Armistead: The Second Son of William the Immigrant". The Armistead family: 1635-1910. Richmond, Virginia: Whittet & Shepperson Printers. pp. 30–33.
- Evans, Emory G. "John Carter (1695 or 1696–1742)". Encyclopedia Virginia. Retrieved 13 July 2015.
- Ragsdale, Bruce A. "Charles Carter (ca. 1707–1764)". Encyclopedia Virginia. Retrieved 13 July 2015.
- Tarter, Brett. "Robert Burwell (1720–1777)". Encyclopedia Virginia. Retrieved 15 July 2015.
- For Eliason's position as staff surgeon for J.E.B. Stuart's unit see Thomas, Emory M. Bold Dragoon: The Life of J.E.B. Stuart. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1986. ISBN 0-8061-3193-4. pp. 192, 236
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