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Robert Carter I

Robert Carter I
Colonial Governor of Virginia
In office
Preceded by Hugh Drysdale
Succeeded by Sir William Gooch
25th Speaker of the Virginia House of Burgesses
In office
Preceded by Philip Ludwell
Succeeded by William Randolph
In office
Preceded by William Randolph
Succeeded by Peter Beverley
Personal details
Born 1662/63
Corotoman Plantation, Lancaster County, Virginia
Died 4 August 1732( 1732 -08-04)
Lancaster County, Virginia

Robert "King" Carter (1662/63 – 4 August 1732), of Lancaster County, was an American businessman and colonist in Virginia and became one of the wealthiest men in the colonies.

As President of the Governor's Council of the Virginia Colony, he was acting Governor of Virginia in 1726-1727 after the death in office of Governor Hugh Drysdale.[1] He acquired the moniker "King" from his wealth, political power, and autocratic business methods.


  • Biography 1
  • Legacy 2
  • Descendants 3
  • See also 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6


Robert Carter was born at Corotoman Plantation in Lancaster County, Virginia, to John Carter (1613–1669) of London, England, and Sarah Ludlow (1635–1668) of Maiden Bradley, Wiltshire. In 1688, he married Judith Armistead of Hesse in Gloucester County, an area which was included in the formation of Mathews County in 1691.[2] After her death in 1699, he married Elizabeth Landon in 1701.

At the age of 28, Robert entered the General Assembly of Virginia as a Burgess from Lancaster County, serving five consecutive years. In 1726, as President of the Governor's Council, he served as acting Governor of Virginia after the death of Governor Hugh Drysdale.

As an agent of Thomas Fairfax, 6th Lord Fairfax of Cameron – known simply as Lord Fairfax – he served two terms as agent for the Fairfax Proprietary of the Northern Neck of Virginia. During his first term, 1702–1711, he began to acquire large tracts of land for himself in the Rappahannock River region of Virginia. Carter acquired some 20,000 acres (81 km2), a large part of which was the 6,000-acre (24 km2) Nomini Hall Plantation, also spelled “Nomoni” or “Nominy,” which he purchased in 1709 from the heirs of Col. Nicholas Spencer, cousin of the Lords Culpeper, from whom the Fairfaxes had inherited their Virginia holdings.[3]

When he became representative of Fairfax’s interests again in 1722, and served from 1722–32, he succeeded in securing for his children and grandchildren some 110,000 acres (450 km2) in the Northern Neck, as well as additional acquisitions in Virginia west of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Nomini Hall, Carter family plantation in Westmoreland County. Built in 1730 by Robert Carter II on land purchased by Robert Carter I

Carter died on 4 August 1732, in Lancaster County, Virginia and was buried there at Christ Church. He left behind 300,000 acres (1,200 km²) of land, 1,000 slaves and 10,000 British pounds in cash.[4]


When Lord Fairfax saw Carter's obituary in the London monthly The Gentleman's Magazine, he was astonished to read of the immense personal wealth acquired by his resident land agent. Rather than name another Virginian to the position, Fairfax made arrangements to have his cousin, Colonel William Fairfax, move to Virginia to act as land agent, with the paid position of customs inspector (tax collector) for the Potomac River district. Fairfax himself then visited his vast Northern Neck Proprietary from 1735–37, and he moved there permanently in 1747.


Carter had five children with his first wife, Judith Armistead:[5]

  • Sarah Carter (born ~1690)[2][5]
  • Elizabeth Carter (~1692-1734) married Nathaniel Burwell.[2][5]
  • Judith Carter (born ~1694) died in infancy before her mother and buried near her at Christ Church[2][5]
  • Judith Carter (1695–1750) married Mann Page.[2][5]
  • John Carter (1696–1742) married Elizabeth Shirley[2][2][5][6]

Carter had ten children with his second wife, Betty Landon:

  • Sarah Carter (~1705–1705)[2]
  • Betty Carter (~1705–1706)[2]
  • Charles Carter (1707–1764) married Anne Byrd, daughter of Col. William Byrd II.[2][7]
  • Ludlow Carter (born ~1709)[2]
  • Landon Carter (1710–1778) married Maria Byrd, daughter of Col. William Byrd II.[2]
  • Mary Carter (1712–1736) married George Braxton; (parents of Carter Braxton).[2]
  • Lucy Carter (1715–1763) married Henry Fitzhugh[2]
  • George Carter (1718–1742)[2]

Other notable descendants include:

See also


  1. ^ Brock, Robert Alonzo (1888). Virginia and Virginians, Vol. I, p. 40. Richmond and Toledo: H.H. Hardesty.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r Foundation for Historic Christ Church. "History: Robert "King" Carter of Corotoman (1663-1732)". Historic Christ Church. Lancaster County, Virginia: Historic Christ Church. Retrieved 22 December 2010. 
  3. ^ The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, the Virginia Historical Society, Vol. VIII, June 1901, William Ellis Jones, Richmond, 1901
  4. ^
  5. ^ a b c d e f Garber, Virginia Armistead (1910). "John Armistead: The Second Son of William the Immigrant". The Armistead family: 1635-1910. Richmond, Virginia: Whittet & Shepperson Printers. pp. 30–33. 
  6. ^ Evans, Emory G. "John Carter (1695 or 1696–1742)".  
  7. ^ Ragsdale, Bruce A. "Charles Carter (ca. 1707–1764)".  
  8. ^ Tarter, Brett. "Robert Burwell (1720–1777)". Encyclopedia Virginia. Retrieved 15 July 2015. 
  9. ^ For Eliason's position as staff surgeon for J.E.B. Stuart's unit see Thomas, Emory M. Bold Dragoon: The Life of J.E.B. Stuart. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1986. ISBN 0-8061-3193-4. pp. 192, 236

External links

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