Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Research Barrier Breakthroughs, No. 1, Part 3

The Case of Too Many Isaacs


Now that our Isaac Carter has been correctly identified as not being a Revolutionary War pensioner, does that mean that he never served?

According to “FORTITUDE AND FORBEARANCE” THE NORTH CAROLINA CONTINENTAL LINE IN THE REVOLUTIONARY WAR 1775-1783 (Babits & Howard, 2004),

“State troops and militia were not regarded as Continental service, even if the unit served as a part of a larger entity, such as the Southern army under Lincoln, Gates, or Green. . . . The official table of organization for a military force. . . made clear distinctions between Continental, state troops, and militia, even if they were serving together in a common cause.” (Preface)

With that knowledge, I turned to COLONIAL SOLDIERS OF THE SOUTH, 1732-1774, by Murtie June Clark (1983). This book contains a listing of all the states militias. I began looking for the muster roll for companies out of Craven County, NC. All together there were  thirteen (13) Field Officers and Captains of the Craven County, North Carolina Regiment:

1. Colonel Edward Griffith
2. Lieut. Colonel Daniel Shine
3. Major Hardy Bryan
4. Captain Lewis Bryan
5. Captain Thomas Graves
6. Captain Joseph Bryan
7. Captain John Shine
8. Captain Solomon Kew
9. Captain Abner Neal
10. Arthur Johnston
11. John Curruther
12. John Islar
13. Cassin Brinson

Within the Muster Roll of Captain Lewis Bryan’s Company, [Craven County, North Carolina,] October 25, 1754, I found Private Isaac Carter, Number 61. I thought it was strange, though, that none of the other names on the muster roll were associated with people living along the South Side of the Neuse River. And then I found a notation, stating: “[District: James MacKilwain’s to Marils Run and upwards to ye county line between Craven and Johnson Counties]” (p. 704). This was not the area where our Isaac Carter lived.

I kept on looking through the lists, trying to find perhaps another Isaac Carter who was listed with others of his neighborhood. In the Muster Roll of Captain Abner Neale’s Company, Craven County, North Carolina, October 4, 1754, I found some familiar names associated with our Isaac Carter:

96. Private Abel Carter
97. Private Jacob Copes
98. Private Peter George
99. Private John Carter

A notation states: [District: between the head of Slocomb’s Creek to the head of Turnagain Bay].

Abel Carter was our Isaac’s father, and John was Isaac’s oldest brother, and the George and Copes families intermarried with the Carters. This was the correct family group. While it appears that our Isaac did not serve in the militia, his father and brother did.

Even though the original information I had read in both Free African Americans of North Carolina and Virginia and The Black Experience in Revolutionary North Carolina proved to be incorrect, I came away from the investigation with four connections to the North Carolina State Militia, serving in the Revolutionary War. 

That brought great satisfaction 
to the amount of digging required 
to uncover the mystery in 
The Case of Too Many Isaacs.

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