Saturday, October 6, 2012

Surname Saturday - Carter

Reverend Thomas Carter
According to The History of Woburn, Middlesex County, Mass.: From the Grant of Its Territory to Charlestown in 1640, to the year 1860 by Samuel Sewall, M.A., Reverend Thomas Carter was the first pastor of the church in Woburn. He was born in England and earned two degrees from St. John's College at the University of Cambridge - a Bachelor of Arts in 1629 and a Master of Arts in 1633.  It is interesting to note that he was at Cambridge at the same time as Reverend John Harvard, founder of Harvard College. They became ministers in neighboring communities. 
Main gate of St. John's College - Source: Wikipedia
He was ordained as the minister in Woburn in 1642. Capt. Edward Johnson in Wonder-Working Providence describes the ordination: "After he (Thomas Carter) had exercised in preaching and prayer he greater part of the day, two persons in the name of the Church laid their hands upon his head and said, We ordain thee Thomas Carter to be Pastor of this Church of Christ, then one of the elders present, desired of the Church, continued in prayer unto the Lord for his especial assistance, of this his servant in his work, being a charge of such weighty importance as is the glory of God and the salvation of souls, that the very thought would make a man to tremble in the sense of his own inability to the work." 

Painting by Albert Thompson - Hangs in Winn Memorial Library, Woburn, MA - Source: Wikipedia

 The town of Woburn gave Thomas Carter a house and a starting salary of 80 pounds annually. He got one quarter of it in silver and the rest in the necessities of life (goods). In 1674 it was added that he receive twenty cords of wood annually delivered to his door. Reverend Carter died in 1684 and left a verbal will which was recorded by his assistant pastor, Jabez Fox and attested to by this wife, Mary and sons, Samuel, Thomas, and Timothy. His inventory shows his estate was valued over £403 with £50 due from the town and about £21 worth of debts. 

Thomas Carter
Timothy Carter
Benjamin Carter
Timothy Carter
Dr. Timothy Carter
Elias Mellen Carter
Augustus Mellen Carter
Edward Mellen Carter
Thomas Richard Carter - my grandfather


  1. Pam,
    Do you have a daughter Hannah for Thomas Carter? I
    have her marrying my ancestor William Green. Thomas would be my 11x great grandfather.

    1. Hi Bill, I don't have Hannah as a daughter. I see lots of trees on that say she was his daughter but they also have her born in the 1590s and Rev. Thomas was born around 1610 so it would quite something for him to be her father. Possibly a sibling but I haven't seen any reliable sources for the parents of Rev. Thomas.

  2. Another cousin connection! When my daughter was living next door in Burlington, MA I took her to the library to see this painting. That was a great surname writeup.