Evidence of Carter Ancestors’ Involvement in the Domestic Slave Trade

If you have read some of my other blog posts, you know that I am interested in giving a voice to the people enslaved by my ancestors. I have the advantage of either already having family papers or easily locating manuscript collections dealing with my ancestors since I know their names an where they lived. The tough part sometimes is finding the pieces of paper that list enslaved people by name. Before the pandemic in 2019, I found a source related to some of my Carter ancestors in Virginia, which lists enslaved people by name and connects them to a specific time and place.

In July 2019, I spent a few days researching in the library of the Virginia Museum of History & Culture (VMHC), formerly the Virginia Historical Society, in Richmond, Virginia. To maximize my time, I took digital photos of the items I requested, thinking I would go through the photos at a later date. Two years later…I still haven’t read through most of them, but I remembered that a plantation account book of one of my Carter ancestors had tons of great genealogical information on the enslaved and formerly enslaved who worked on the plantation. It is very possible that many of the names and relationships in this account book cannot be found in other records. I wanted to share some of the photos I took of the account book, but due to copyright, I am not allowed to publish them here without paying VHMC a small fortune. So, I did the next best thing and I have started to transcribe the account book. This blog post is the first step.

Thomas Henry Carter

Thomas Henry Carter (1831–1908), one of my paternal third-great-grandfathers, owned Pampatike, a plantation in King William County, Virginia. Pampatike is located along the Pamunkey River, northeast of Richmond. The library at the VMHC has his account book, as well as many other Carter family papers. According to the account book, Thomas H. Carter, his half-brother, William Page Carter (1836–1913), and their father, Thomas Nelson Carter (1800–1883), decided to invest in land in Louisiana in the late 1850s. Of course, large tracts of land in the South means there will most likely be enslaved people used as the labor force. The Carters sent forty enslaved people to Louisiana from two different plantations in Virginia. As you will see below, twenty-three people were sent south from the plantation in King William County. The elder Carter sent seventeen enslaved people from Clarke County in the northern part of Virginia. My best educated guess, without further research, is that these seventeen people came from Annefield, which was a Carter plantation in Clarke County where this branch of the Carters lived during this time period.

The following is a transcription (exact copy) of the first few pages of the account book (excluding a couple torn pages with scribbles and notes dating from the 1880s):

Partial Transcription of Thomas Henry Carter’s Account Book[1]

[page 4]

Susan E. Roy was born

on 16th January 1833[2]

Ann S. Roy was born

on 6th August 1831[3]

[page 5]

6 gr[?] List of names of servants sent to the

South by Thos Carter.[4]

From Pampatike[5]     age                                                    age

1. Anthony             60                12. Daniel                       55

2. Aggy                  50                13. Tamor                      60

3. Claiborne           24                14. Jim                           24

4. Milly                  20                15. William                     20

5. Fleming             15                16. Margaret                   13

6. John                  12                17. Patsy                         10

7. Norman            10                18. Scilla                          7

8. Robert                8                 19. Matilda                      25

9. Joanna               6                 20. Katy                          3

10. Spenser            3                 21. Nat                           1

11. Henrietta         1                  22. Sarah                         22

                                                23. Hilliard                      1


From Clarke[6]          age                                                      age

24. Robin               50               33. George                      10

25. Lucy                40               34. Stephen                     2

26. Dolly               14               35. Baby                          2 months

27. Maria               12               36. Henry                        50

28. Nancy              10               37. Harry                        30

29. Millford            6                38. Cinthia                      22

30. Robert              20               39. Mike                          3

31. Stephen           38               40. Charlotte                   1

32. Peggy               35

23 from Pampatike

17 from Clarke

[page 6]

January 1st 1859.

Statement of a purchase made in Louisiana

by the firm of

Thos Carter[7], Thos H Carter + Wm P Carter[8]

of M T Morrison.[9]  March 30th 1858

1027 acres of land[10]

12 mules

2 horses

10 Oxen

3 Cows

1000 bushels of corn

Farming utensils and Hogs

            whole amounting to                                    $39.737. 50c[11]

            in four payments.

            Cash payment                                             $10000   00c

            2nd payment 1st Jan 1859                              $,3070   83c

            3rd payment 1st Jan 1860                              $13,333. 33c

            4th payment 1st Jan 1861                              $13,333. 33c

            (The first two payments made)

            Of the cash payment

            Thos Carter from sale of state

            stock by Edwin Wortham + Co[12]                 $5443  92c

            Thos H Carter of state stock

            sold by Edwin Wortham + Co $4428.80c

            advanced by the same to make up

            the $10.050.00c (the exchange on New

            Fork draft $50.)                           $177.28

            In the aggregate for this payment by him  $4606. 08c

                                                                             $100.50. 00

            Advanced by Thos H Carter order of

            E Wortham + Co to Baker + Bro. Winchester[13]  $100. 00

            Borrowed by the same from Robt

            Carter[14] + used for transportation of negroes[15]      $500  00

            Making whole amount now

            invested by Thos H Carter                        $5206. 08

            2nd payment made by

            William P Carter                                       $3070. 83

[page 7]

            used by Wm P Carter in trans

            portation of negroes + other ex

            penses                        $479.07c

            Placed to his credit in the

            hands of A D Kelly of New Orleans[16]


            Making the aggregate amount

            invested by Wm Carter                       $4.115  02c

            of this amount $500.00 borrowed

            from Robt Carter. the balance

            his own. rec.d in a  draft from

            Jno Wickham of St Louis.[17]

            To simplify.

                        Invested by

            Thos Carter                                     $5.443. 92c

    By    Thos H Carter                                 $5.206  08c

     “     Wm P Carter                                   $4.115 .02c

                                                                   $14.765 .02

Jan 1st  3rd payment                                     $13.333. 33c                            

1860    Thomas Carter  paid of this

            amount                                          $7000

            + gave a note to A D Kelly + Co

            for an advancement of                   $3.333   .33c

[the following line is written sideways down the left column of the page with a large bracket around the next two entries]

Loaned by Robt Carter by a draft of W Jackson + Co N O.[18] to both of $3.000

            Thomas H Carter paid of this

            amount                                        $1,500

            William P Carter paid of this

            amount                                       $1,500___________


            To sum up the several amounts

            invested up to this date

   By     Thomas Carter                           $15.777.  25

   “       Thomas H. Carter                      $6.706  08   +$5.400 [last number written in pencil]

   “       William P. Carter                          5.615  02

   [first part written in pencil] 33.49835     $28.098 . 35

                                                                   5.400 [written in pencil]

[page 8]

            Of this $28.098.35  $1694.19 was

            taken from the portions of Thomas

            H. Carter + William P. Carter

            to pay the expenses of transporting

            the negroes + other incidental

            expenses in settling them  includ-

            -ing a deposit of $565.12 with

            A. D. Kelly by William P. Carter.

            By subtracting this $1694.19 from

            the whole amount $28.098.35  the

            actual amount invested in

            land is   –                      $26.404.16

            Of this Thomas Carter

            has invested in land  –  $15.777.25

            which is all the money

            yet advanced by him.

            Thomas H. Carter has

            invested in land            6.056.08

            William P. Carter has

            invested in land            4.570.83


It will be seen from the above account

that William + myself have paid all

the expenses of transporting the negroes

of my father. In them we have no

interest + this sum of $1694.19 is now

due us by him.

            Of the $1694.19

            Thomas H Carter paid       $650.00

            William P. Carter   “            479.07

            Placed on deposit by

            William P. Carter at

            A. D. Kelly + Co                565.12

            Whole amount by William $104419

[page 9]

            Thomas H Carter              $650.00

            William P. Carter               $1044.19


            Thos H. Carter   $12.106.08 [written in pencil lower on page]

[1] Thomas Henry Carter (1831-1908), “Account book, 1859-1888,” [464] p., unpaginated bound volume originally kept at “Pampatike,” King William County, Virginia, Mss5:3 C2468:1; Virginia Museum of History and Culture (VMHC), Richmond, Virginia. Thomas Henry Carter descended from the famous or infamous Robert “King” Carter (1663–1732), one of the largest landowners and enslavers in the early 1700s in the Colony of Virginia. Thomas was educated at the Virginia Military Institute (VMI), the University of Virginia (UVA), as well as Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia. At the onset of the Civil War in 1861, he joined the Confederacy as a captain of an artillery unit. By the end of the war, he rose to the rank of colonel. Thomas H. Carter spent the postwar years managing his plantation. He also was a railroad commissioner for the state of Virginia and Proctor of UVA.

[2] Susan E. Roy is Susan Elizabeth Roy (1833–1902). She was born in Mathews County, Virginia at the Roy family plantation named Green Plains. Her parents were Anne Seddon (1808–1834) and William Henry Roy (1800–1859). She married Thomas Henry Carter in 1855.

[3] Ann S. Roy is Ann Seddon Roy (1831–1908), sister of Susan E. Roy. Ann married John Coles Rutherfoord and they lived in Goochland County, Virginia.

[4] It seems like all of the enslaved people sent to Louisiana were owned by Thomas Nelson Carter, the father. That makes me wonder what the exact financial arrangement was when his son, Thomas Henry Carter, lived there.

[5] Pampatike was a Carter plantation in King William County, Virginia. Thomas Henry Carter, his wife, and children lived there for many years. Thomas Nelson Carter also lived there prior, however, I am not sure when. Pampatike is located along the Pamunkey River, northeast of Richmond. Today, it is still a functioning farm although it is not still owned by the Carter family. The farm is on private property. For more information about the history of the land and farm, see: http://www.pampatike.org/

[6] The elder Carter sent seventeen enslaved people from Clarke County in the northern part of Virginia. My best educated guess is that these people came from Annefield, which was the Carter plantation in Clarke County where this branch of the Carters lived. For more information on this property, see the Virginia Department of Historic Resources webpage on Annefield: https://www.dhr.virginia.gov/historic-registers/021-0002/ 

[7] Thomas Nelson Carter (1800–1883) rarely used his middle name in documents. His parents were Mary Nelson (1774–1803) and Robert Carter (abt 1771–1805). Thomas first married Juliet Muse Gaines (1806–1831) and one of their sons being Thomas Henry Carter. After Juliet died, Thomas married Anne Willing Page (1815–1891) in 1835. One of their sons was William Pleasants Page Carter.

[8] William Pleasants Page Carter (1836–1913), son of Thomas Nelson Carter and half-brother of Thomas Henry Carter. For a time, William was in the same artillery unit as his half-brother. Fold3 (https://www.fold3.com/image/20/8401344 : viewed 17 September 2021), William P Carter (Capt. W. P. Carter’s Co., Light Artillery), Civil War Service Records (CMSR) – Confederate – Virginia. William was captured in May 1864 and would eventually be one of the “Immortal 600” Confederate POWs. See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Immortal_Six_Hundred .

[9] Possibly Malcolm Thomas Morrison (1831–aft 1900?). See: Bruce Gunn, “Gunn, George, Margaret, 09-18-2016,” Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com/family-tree/person/tree/27811013/person/27581235463/facts : viewed 17 September 2021), Malcom Thomas “M.T.” Morrison -B1831/D aft 1900 – HINDS CO MS – son of Angus Morrison1797 and Catherine Watts- m Fannie Wyche [yes, this is really all in the name field].

[10] The land was probably in Madison County, Louisiana, based on newspaper advertisements for land for sale placed by M T Morrison “Land for Sale,” Vicksburg Daily Whig, 04 March 1858, page 2, col. 5; Newspapers.com (https://www.newspapers.com/image/228525393 : viewed 17 September 2021).

[11] Throughout the account book, periods and commas are used interchangeably when showing amounts of money.

[12] Edwin Wortham & Co. was a “Richmond grocer and commission merchant [company who] acted as an agent for the Carters in the purchase and sale of insurance, farm produce, and livestock.” Kenneth M. Stampp, ed., A Guide to the Microfilm Edition of RECORDS OF ANTE-BELLUM SOUTHERN PLANTATIONS FROM THE REVOLUTION THROUGH THE CIVIL WAR Selections from The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation Library, The Shirley Plantation Collection, 1650-1888, Series K, (University Publications of America: Bethesda, Maryland, 1993), 4; LexisNexis (http://www.lexisnexis.com/documents/academic/upa_cis/2462_AnteBellSouthPlanSerK.pdf : viewed 17 September 2021).

[13] I am not exactly sure what Baker Bros & Co did as an organization, although it apparently changed over the years.

[14] Probably Robert Carter (1827–1911), son of Thomas Nelson Carter and brother of Thomas Henry Carter. Robert Carter would later become a doctor and move to Philadelphia.

[15] As of 17 September 2021, no ship manifests have been located to record the journey of the forty enslaved persons sent to Louisiana from Virginia.

[16] Probably Alexander D Kelly (abt 1806–1870). “Alexander D Kelly obituary,” Times-Democrat (New Orleans, LA) 18 January 1870, page 6, col. 2; Newspapers.com (https://www.newspapers.com/image/226607810 : viewed 17 September 2021). This obituary states Mr. Kelly was from Fauquier County, Virginia, so this might be the possible connection to the Carter family.  

[17] Possibly John Wickham (1825–1902), who married Thomas Henry Carter’s first cousin, Elizabeth Hill Carter, on 29 November 1859 at Shirley Plantation in Charles City County, Virginia.

[18] Possibly Jackson & Co, which made machinery for the Confederates. Confederate States of America, War Department, Proceedings of the Court of Inquiry, Relative to the Fall of New Orleans (United States: R. M. Smith, public printer, 1864) 114; Google Books (https://www.google.com/books/edition/Proceedings_of_the_Court_of_Inquiry_Rela/pLoTAAAAYAAJ?hl=en&gbpv=0 : viewed 17 September 2021).