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 Griffith2. Lieut. Colonel Daniel Shine3. Major Hardy Bryan4. Captain Lewis Bryan5. Captain Thomas Graves6. Captain Joseph Bryan7. Captain John Shine8. Captain Solomon Kew9. Captain Abner Neal10. Arthur Johnston11. John Curruther12. John Islar13. 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 Carter97. Private Jacob Copes98. Private Peter George99. 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.