Biography - John Carter

JOHN CARTER, who owns one of the best-managed farms in all Vienna Township, located on section 12, is a farmer and stock-raiser of marked intelligence, who stands well at the front among the men of his class in Johnson County, and has done good service in the public life of the county. He is a native of Johnson County, Ill., his father being Vincent Carter, who was born in North Carolina in 1803, and at the age of three years was taken by his parents to Smith County, Tenn., where he was brought upon a farm, with but little chance to obtain an education. He became a farmer and a butcher, and worked hard to get along in life. He remained in Smith County until he was of age, and then took up his residence in Giles County, the same State. In 1850 he emigrated to this State with his family, journeying hither with team and wagon, and he cast in his fortunes with the pioneer settlers of Vienna Township. He first bought forty acres of land on section 2, which was partly improved, paying $400 for it, and in the month of November, 1850, he moved into the log cabin that stood thereon. He lived upon the place for nearly three years, actively engaged in its further improvement, and then, selling that place, took possession of a tract of wild land on Dutchman Creek, erected a log house for a dwelling, and engaged in clearing and tilling the soil there a number of years. He finally sold it and took up his residence in Vienna. His last days were spent in the home of our subject, where he died in 1873. The mother died in 1857, and both were laid to rest in Johnson Cemetery.
The father of our subject was twice married. His first marriage, which took place in Alabama, was to Miss Sarah Patterson, who died in Smith County, Tenn., leaving three children: Dorcas, who died in 1857, in Missouri; Neal S., who died in Vienna Township, and is buried in Johnson Cemetery; and William G., who died in Union County. The father's second marriage was to Elizabeth Rose, a native of Giles County, Tenn., and they had eleven children: John, the eldest born; F. M., who is at work in the asylum at Anna; Mary, wife of Henry F. Bridges, of Vienna; Rebecca A., who died in Union County; Lucy B., wife of James Card, of Vienna; Saba W., wife A. D. Williams, of Bloomfield Township; James H., a resident of Vienna, who at the age of seventeen went into the army at the time of the war; Tennessee E., wife of Hugh Wallace, a blacksmith at Vienna; Sarah, who married William H. Adams, of McLean County, Mo., and died in that State; Virginia, who died at Vienna, at the age of fourteen; and Eliza, who died and was buried in Vienna.
The subject of this life record was brought up on a farm, and early became inured to hard work. He went to school whenever he could, but his educational advantages were exceedingly limited, and he has gained more knowledge by experience, intelligent observation and reading than his early schooling gave him. At the age of twenty-one he left home to begin life independently, starting out without money, but brains, muscle and determination were sufficient capital. He cultivated land on shares the first year, the owner furnishing the wherewithal, and was fortunate in reaping a fine harvest, of which half belonged to him. Corn was but fifteen cents a bushel, but Mr. Carter made some money, and in the fall of 1852 Mr. Price engaged him to work in his mill at $11 a month for eighteen months, and he prudently saved his earnings. He then went to Vienna to serve an apprenticeship with Henry T. Briggs, a blacksmith. He remained with him until July, 1855, but did not find the trade as profitable under the bargain that he made with Mr. Briggs as he had hoped, and in the month mentioned, he abandoned it to turn his attention to farming, buying sixty acres of the farm which he still owns, and which at that time was but very little improved. He has added forty acres by subsequent purchase, and by persistent and skillful labor has made of it a highly productive and well-equipped farm, on which he raises a good grade of stock, and his carefully tilled fields yield large crops of grain and other products common to the soil of this region.
Mr. Carter was first married October 24, 1854, to Miss Martha Neathery, a native of Tennessee. She died December 28, 1873, and was laid at rest in Johnson Cemetery. By that union five children were born: William H., a farmer in Bloomfield Township; John D., who died at home; Mary E., living at home with her parents; Robert F., who died at the age of nineteen months; and Charles E., who died at the age of eighteen months. Mr. Carter's marriage with Miss Nancy Jane Dunn, his present wife, occurred April 12, 1874. She was born in Robinson County, Tenn., and is the eldest child of Henry Dunn, who came from that State to this when she was young, and was an early settler of this region.
Our subject possesses a clear, well-balanced mind and a keen insight into the affairs of life, which make him a valuable citizen and most desirable material for an office-holder. He is warmly interested in all that concerns his township, especially in educational matters, and his influence in the twenty years that he has been School Director has always been exerted to have the best possible schools. In 1872 and 1873 he held the office of County Commissioner, discharging the duties thus incumbent upon him with characteristic fidelity, and so as to enhance the welfare of the county.

Extracted 16 Apr 2016 from 1893 Biographical Review of Johnson, Massac, Pope, and Hardin Counties, Illinois, pages 410-411.

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