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A History of Robert Carter

Son of Edward and Margaret Carter - d.1751

Robert Carter was born in Aston, Oxfordshire, about the year 1665. He accompanied his parents <"a href=http://www.lindajdunn.com/genealogy/edcarter1.html">Edward Carter and Margaret (maiden name unknown) to Pennsylvania and settled with them in Aston, Chester County.

In 8th Month, 1688, Robert Carter was given leave by Chester Monthly Meeting of Friends to marry Lydia Walley, daughter of Shadrack Walley. Lydia was a native of the village of Franley in Cheshire, England, born about 1668. She apparently was left an orphan at an early age and was reared by her brother and older sister. As Quakers, the Walleys had suffered for their beliefs in England, as this passage from Joseph Besse's Collection of the sufferings of the People Called Quakers (1753, vow. I, pp.108-109) shows: Ann 1682... In the month of November this year... Sir Robert Leicester, attended by one Captain Needham, with his soldiers, went to the meeting at Franley, and fined all the Persons met, and ordered distress of their Goods to be made, which was done to the value of 32 pounds, 16 shillings, 8 pence of which, they said, 3 pounds 13 shillings 4 pence was for Charges, it being usual with the Constable, Informers, and their Associates, to run up large scores at ale houses, and include the Reckoning as part of the fines...John Kennerly, for being at several Meeting, had his Goods taken to the value of 60 pounds. And Shadrach Walley was fined 20 pounds for himself and three sisters and had fourteen Cows taken worth 35 pounds and at another time two cows worth 5 pounds

Lydia apparently came to Bucks County, Pennsylvania, about 1685 with her brother Shadrack and sisters Damaris and Hannah.

Robert Carter seems to have done well in his early life. In 1702 he owned 375 acres of land in Aston Tosnwhip, and as his father's sole heir succeeded to his property as well. In 1698, 1699, and again in 1703 he was elected one of the Chester County representatives to the provincial legislature. In 1703 he was also apparently carrying on a flourishing business in supplying Philadelphians with vension from the Chester County woods.

The taxables in Aston in 1715 were as follows: Robert Carter, John Pennell, Moses Key, John Dutton, Thomas Dutton, Thomas Woodward, John Neild, James Widdows, William Rattew, Samuel Jones, Thomas Barnard, Abraham Darlington, John Hurford, Jonathan Monroe, Thomas Gale.

The description for the road includes: Beginning at a Spanish Oake about Edward Carter's and soe along y Cutt Road and down y Vallie which Joseph Richardson had fenced in, from thence through John Beales Pasture along by William Woodmansees along y old Road over Chester Creek's soe along Old Road

The first mention of a Friends' Meeting in Providence occurs in the minutes of Chester Quarterly Meeting, Third month, 1696, when it was agreed to settle a meeting at Thomas Minshall's every First and Fourth day. On Twelfth month 6, 1698/9, Friends belonging to Thomas Minshall's meeting proposed to build a meeting-house at the burying-ground of Thomas Powell, which would have located the building near the Media reservoir, on Providence road, in Upper Providence. The Quarterly Meeting deferred the consideration of the matter, but the project doubtless met with some opposition, for it is recorded, It being the sense of this meeting that no meeting-house be hereafter built upon any new situation without ye advise & consent of the quarterly meeting. However, Caleb Pusey, Thomas Worth, John Hood, George Pierce, Nicholas Pyle, and Robert Carter were appointed to view & consider of the most convenient place where to sett the above proposed meeting-house. On Third month 1, 1699, the committee stated according to the order & request of ye Last quarterly meeting, The friends appointed to inspect into & consider of the most convenient place to build the meeting-house, to answer that of Tho: Minshall's, Do make return under their hands that it is their sense that at the farthest end of Thomas Minshall's Land, by ye high roade side, is the most Convenient place for that service, & accordingly this meeting approves of ye same. The land on which this meeting-house was built was given for that purpose by Thomas Minshall. The first house was a log structure. The building was completed in the summer of 1700, for on 5th day of Sixth month (August), in that year, the Quarterly Meeting Ordered that the next Quarterly meeting be held at the new meeting-house in Nether Providence. On Ninth month 4, 1700, the First day and week day meeting was ordered to be removed from Thomas Minshall's to the meeting-house, and on Twelfth month 12, 1701, the meeting at Randal Vernon's was also removed to the new meeting-house.
Like his parents, Robert was a member of the Society of Friends. Lydia (Walley) Carter was a Quaker minister, often preaching in meetings. In his early life, Robert apparently was also active in Quaker affairs. In 1693 Chester Monthly Meeting appointed him its treasurer and named him a trustee. About the same time Robert was chosen Clerk of Chester Quarterly Meeting. He held this post until 1717, when he became embroiled in the following controversy:

The controversy between Robert Carter and Chester Quarterly Meeting, abstracts from the Records of Chester Quarterly Meeting in Carter file, Gilbert S. Cope Collection (Genealogical Society of Pennsylvania).

At a quarterly meeting 5-5-1717 Henry Miller and John Wright appointed to request of Robert Carter the minutes belonging to this meeting and make report thereof to the next quarterly meeting.

9-11-1717: The friends that were appointed to speak with Robert Carter to Deliver the minutes that Remains in his hands report that he Refused to Deliver the same although they offered him payment for writing them therefore this meeting further appoints Caleb Pusey, David Floyd, Tho Lightfoot, John Salkeld, Ephriam Jackson & Francis Swayne to speak with the said Robert in order that they might get any service formerly done that the said friends offer to pay him for the same and make report thereof to our next meeting.

12-10-1717: The friends that were appointed by the last meeting to speak with Robert Carter that he would deliver up those minutes belonging to this meeting which he hath hitherto Detained report that they could not Prevail with him to give them the minutes therefore this meeting further appoints Caleb Pusey and Francis Swayne to Desire him that he would be at our next Quarterly meeting.

3-12-1718: The friends that were appointed to speak with Robert Carter to be at this meeting Report that he was gone from home so that he could not be here at this time therefore the same friends are Continued to speak with him again yet he be at our next meeting.

6-11-1718: Robert Carter appeared here and could not be prevailed with but refused to Deliver to this meeting those minutes and paper quash doth belong to this meeting but upon ye request Jacob Simcock and William West who have something upon their minds to speak with him before this meeting proceeds to a judgement concerning him upon which request this meeting Defers the matter to further Consideration.

The Business of Robert Carter hath been again uner this meetings Consideration and one of the friends yet had upon his mind to speak to Robert the last meeting doth Desire again at this meeting that he may have further time to take an opportunity with him also Joseph Gilpin signified his desire of speaking with him the said Robert before the meeting comes to a judgment Concerning the said Robert to whose care the meeting refers the same.

12-9-1718: The friends that had upon their mind to speak to Robert Carter signified to the meeting that they have not had opportunity since our last Meeting to speak with him and Desires that they may be continued which this meeting consents to.

3-11-1719: The friends continued the last Quarterly meeting to speak with Robert Carter have accordingly done it and Robert appearing at this meeting Requests a sight of those minutes made concerning him in the Chester Monthly meeting book wherein the former debates were entered, which request hath been formerly granted and Robert not coming to that meeting to which these books were brought he continues his request. This meeting condenscends to let him have a sight & Copyes of those minutes which Clark of Concord Monthly Meeting is ordered to deliver him and Bring the said Book to our next Quarterly meeting.

6-10-1719: According to the last meetings allowance to Robert Carter of having a sight of copyes of the minutes In Chicester Monthly Meeting Book Concerning him which said minutes he hath received & Promises to Deliver to thise meeting those minutes & papers that Remains in his hands that belongs to this meeting. Therefore this meeting appoints Caleb Pusey & Epheriam Jackson to Receive them from his hand and bring them to our next Quarterly meeting and that meeting will further consider in order to determine the whole difference if possible.

9-9-1719: The firneds that were appointed in our last meeting to receive the minutes and papers from Robert Carter which belong to this meeting report that they have received them and this meeting requests John Wright, Ephriam Jackson, John Blunston or Thomas Bradshaw Robert Pyle, Abraham Marshall, Caleb Pusy or any four of them to meet Ephriam Jackson in order to inspect the above said minutes of this meeting written since any have been recorded into the Quarterly meeting book inclusive unto this time.

9-9-1719: the Business of Robert Carter is left to the consideration of our next Quarterly Meeting & in the meantime this meeting appoints Caleb Pusey, Richard Webb, George Pearce Thomas Hollingsworth Aaron James James Gibbons Thomas Dell Tho Vernon Joel Bailly and Michael Lightfoot (and as many other friends as are free) to meet and take and opportunity with Robert Carter to endeavor if possible to Reconcile him to the proceedings of Concord and chichester Monthly Meeting with him and make report to their proceedings to our next meeting.

12-8-1719: Those friends appointed by the last Quarterly Meeting to take an opportunity with Robert Carter to endeavor his reconciliation to the proceedings of Concord and Chichester monthly meetings against him report that a majority of them met and used their endeavours to reconcile him to the said proceedings and could to prevail but the said Robert Carter brought appear to this meeting which veing viewed by some friends who Report the said paper in itself is not fit to be read yet Least he should say that he could not be heard the said friends desire that this meeting may condescend to have the said paper read which was accordingly done and a copy of the minutes and said proceedings of the said monthly meeting against the said Robert with is paper of animadversion in those proceedings brought and read here last sixth month were also read and the same with is defense and argument upon the whole being weightily considered this meeting approves of the monthly meeting proceeding and their dealing nd labor of love from time to time with and toward said Robert Carter, but in as much his said paper contains diverse reflections and abusive words against the said proceeding rendering them erroneous and antichristian charging them to usurp to themselves a derogative power to hear and determine a matter of (there are words illegile) which being also duly considered and the said Robert Carter still persisting in his opposition to friends and having slighted the love and tenderness that hath been hitherto extended for his restoration, it is the sense and judgement of this meeting that He is out of unity and membership of this meeting and so stands disowned and testified against until he condems his said practice and outgiongs and be reconciled an drestored to the fellowship of friends in truth.

3-9-1720: Robert Carter desiring his appear form the judgement of last quarterly meeting to the yearly meeting which appear is allowed by this meeting as also authentic copies of the proceedings of all monthly and quarterly meetings against him all which minutes are to be produced to our next quarterly meeting.

6-8-1720: Robert Carter appearing at this meeting and insisting upon his former demand of three shillings a day for serving as Clerk to this meeting for twenty-five years and three months which amounts to the sum of L15.3.0 which said sum is ordered to be paid him by Jacob Howell and the Collection after mentioned and take his receipt for the same and bring it to the next meeting.

It being an unusual thing to pay the clerks of monthly or Quarterly meeting but the reason of the aforementioned payment was occasioned by friends having just occasion to (One more illegible word) Robert Carter or otherwise he declared he would never have made any such demand and rather than that he should reflect (thou unjustly) upon friends they have condenscend to pay his avertions demand.

9-9-1720: The Friends appointed to represent this meeting to th eyearly meeting are Ephriam Jackson George Ashley Josiah (illegible) Henry Miller Evan Lewis John Wright William Brown John Cogill and George Robinson and the friends to attend the appear of Robert Carter are David Lloyd Nathaniel Newlin John Bezer John Dutton John Wood William Lewis.

12-12-1720/21: This meeting desire those friends appointed to attend the appear of Robert Carter to continue their case therein until the mind of the yearly meeting be known.

3-8-1727: Several Friends in the behalf of Robert Carter do signified to this meeting that for some considerable time he has had a desire to be reconciled to friends and also to return the money which he demanded and received of this meeting for serving formerly as clerk. This meeting being glad to hear of so good a disposition in him Readily shew their willingness of receiving the said Robert Carter in the way of truth with what he may have to offer. And in order thereto Appoints Henry Miller Abraham Marshal William Lewis and Samuel Lewis to give him a visit and make report thereof to our Next Meeting.

6-12-1727: The friends appointed to visit Robert Carter report they were with him and found him inclined to make friends satisfaction and he appearing here but not being fully prepared to give such satisfaction as is required but in order here to desires the assistance of some Friends which are John Wright Henry Miller Joseph Gilpin and John Smith or any there of them.

9-13-1727: The friends that were desired by Robert Carter to assist him to prepare something by way of satisfaction Report they have visited him and now appears at this meeting offered a paper signed by his own hand by way of satisfaction for his former offenses which was read and received as his future conduct therewith agrees.

Robert Carter desiring of this meeting that Friends would receive again that money formerly paid him for offication as Clerk thereto do condescend to receive the same which he may pay to Jacob Howell who is ordered to receive it and give Robert a receipt and make report to our next meeting.

9-120-1729: Jacob Howell acquainted this meeting that Robert Carter have paid back the money former received for officating as Clerk for this meeting and he have given the said Robert A receipt accordingly.

The 1720s marked the downturn in the fortunes of Robert Carter. In 1717 he had turned his farm in Aston over to his only son John. Thereafter he lived in Marlborough and Kennett Townships in Chester County. It was in Kennett that he died in 1751. His will left only a few pounds in legacies, most to the family of his daughter, Hannah Harlan. Lydia apparently predeceased him.
Robert and Lydia (Walley) Carter were the parents of six children.

  1. Prudence Carter, born 11th Mo. 6, 1689, married 9th mo. 5, 1712 to Caleb Pusey, Jr.
  2. John Carter, died 2nd mo. 21, 1693.
  3. Hannah Carter, born about 12th mo 22 1692, died in Chester Co. She was married 7th mo. 26, 1723 to Stephen Harlan.
  4. >John Carter, born about 1694/5, died in Chester Co., in 1760. He was married in 3rd mo. 1716 to Isabel Atkinson.
  5. Lydia Carter, born about 1697, married 3rd Mo. 22, 1718, Joseph Coeburn, Jr.
  6. Mary Carter, no more know.
  7. Among historical references found of Robert Carter, include:

    The first trial for homicide in this county, so far as has been ascertained, was that of Hugh Pugh, a mill-wright, and Lazarus Thomas, laborer, who were indicted for the murder of Jonathan Hayes, a resident of Marple and a justice of the county, in the year 1715. At the October court of that year the following reference to the trial will be found: This Court request Henry Worley, Robert Carter and James Sandelands to see if they can procure some place yt may be more Convenient than the Court house for holding the Supreme Court for ye Tryall of those persons yt are holden in ye Gaol of ye County on Suspition of murder and to make such agreement as they may see needful for change and damages to be payd out of the County stock.