Wednesday, February 14, 2024

Abraham's Grandson


If Abraham Kenyon took special care to name a grandson in his will, could we locate any other indications  telling us more about that same grandson's history?

We can quickly see what one genealogist reported in the 1912 publication, The Descendants of Capt. Thomas Carter regarding my fifth great-grandfather John Carter's son William. We are already leery of trusting that source wholesale, due to some discrepancies which we have already noted. For instance, William, the son of John Carter according to Joseph Lyon Miller's book, may not have been a descendant of John Carter's listed wife, Elizabeth Armistead.

However, I couldn't help but notice, in author Joseph Miller's book, two of William Carter's sons mirror names we have gleaned from the will we examined yesterday, which named one William Carter as Abraham Kenyon's grandson. According to the book, among William Carter's many children are two with names that resonate: a son named Abraham, and another son named Kenyon. Granted, those two choices could be a coincidence, but it seems a promising sign in considering Abraham Kenyon's grandson William Carter and our John Carter's son William as one and the same.

Just to make sure, though—errors in books being a risk—let's take a look at our William Carter's own will. Sure enough, among the seventeen items delineated in William Carter's 1802 will, there is mention of sons by those names. In fact, we can glean further information: some of the inherited property to be given to Kenyon Carter was to be held in trust for him by his older brother Rice. In addition, some of the inherited land given to Abraham Carter and another brother—William Aylett Carter—was in the state of Kentucky, pointing us in a new direction for tracing descendants for any possible DNA matching purposes.

At least within Spotsylvania County, where William Carter's will was drawn up in the state of Virginia, I did not see any indication of a second man by that same name, leading me to tentatively conclude that William Carter—whose will did mention his "mother-in-law" Hannah Carter (actually his step-mother, the former Hannah Chew, last wife of John Carter)—was one and the same as Abraham Kenyon's grandson William Carter, who was mentioned in Abraham's will in neighboring King George County.

That leads to the conclusion that the Miller book was in error in asserting that William's mother was Elizabeth Armistead. Instead, I'll be noting that William, son of our John, was also son of Abraham Kenyon's daughter Sarah. Remembering, too, that John Carter's daughter Elizabeth had named a daughter of her own as Sarah Kenyon Thomas, we need to conclude that Elizabeth was also a child of John Carter's wife Sarah Kenyon.

There may be more of John Carter's children who were born to his wife Sarah Kenyon. As yet, I haven't been able to identify their names, based on court documents, but that may come in due time. In early Virginia legal records, there were certainly many mentions of Carter family names. It's just a matter of sifting through them all to see if any further patterns emerge. 

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