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John Carlton

By Spessard Stone



John Carlton, a pioneer settler of Madison County, Florida, was a farmer, sawmill and gristmill operator, and progenitor of a prominent family.

Thomas Carleton, father of John, was born May 10, 1747 and died October 3, 1795 in Duplin County, North Carolina. In 1769, he married Martha Thomas, who was born in 1751 and died 1797. Milton D. Wilson, late Bartow attorney and family historian, cited Chester County, Pennsylvania for the birth and marriage of Thomas Carleton; however, this writer has not been able to confirm it. Juanita Carlton, a Tennessee researcher, e-mailed this writer on July 24, 2001 a typed copy of the May 6, 1790 will of Richard Carlton of Craven County, North Carolina, in which he named his wife Mary and "my oldest children John Richard Thomas & Blake Mary Ann Elizabeth Sarah Rachel & Lydia" and other children Samuel and Frankey. Further, she wrote, "I also have an Inventory of his estate and a copy of the Land Grant from George the Second for 180 acres in Craven county in 1740." Thomas and Martha Carleton moved to New Hanover County, North Carolina. During the Revolutionary War, Thomas lived in Duplin County, North Carolina where he served as a private and was paid for his services as allowed by the Board of Auditors of Wilmington District, Duplin County, taken from New Hanover County, North Carolina.

The will of Thomas Carleton, dated September 7, 1795, was probated in October 1795 in Duplin County. He bequeathed to his four daughters, Rachel, Anna, Elizabeth and Lydia, fifteen pounds apiece and unto his son John Carleton one hundred pounds and the rest: "I give and bequeath unto my dearly beloved wife, Martha, all the rest of any property both lands and stocks of all kinds and negroes her lifetime to dispose as she sees fit except it be the sale of lands which is to be divided at her death between my two youngest sons, Stephen is to have this place whereon I now live on all this side of Murross (Murrows or Patty) Branch and Thomas is to have all on the other side of the branch at her death, and if there be any property at her death at least if there be enough Thomas Carleton is to have twenty pounds good and lawful money and if there is any left after that is done it must be equally divided amongst all my children, but if there is not property left at her death to pay Thomas Carleton twenty pounds then Stephen Carleton must give ten pounds good and lawful money unto Thomas Carleton because Thomases land is not as valuable as Stephens..." Martha Carleton and John Carleton were appointed executors. (Stephen and Thomas were sons.)

John Carleton was born April 20, 1775 in Duplin County, North Carolina. Whether the surname was every Carleton is uncertain as a clerk could have misspelled it; whatever the case, it became Carlton. In Duplin County on November 17, 1797, John married Nancy Ann Alderman, born November 17, 1775 in Duplin County, North Carolina, daughter of David Alderman, a Revolutionary War soldier, and Jemima (Hall) Alderman.

John and Nancy Ann lived in Duplin County until about 1800 when they moved to Sampson County, North Carolina. They were enumerated in the 1820 Sampson County census. John Carlton, farmer, on April 7, 1821, appointed Robert Ward of Duplin County as his attorney to collect seven hundred pounds from creditors in Sampson and Duplin counties. Thereafter, the family migrated to Bulloch County, Georgia and then, about 1825, to Thomas County, Georgia.

In 1826 John was a member of the first grand jury ever to be appointed in Thomas County with the Superior Court having convened for the first time in June 1826. In 1827 he was a member of the grand jury that indicted five Indians for robbery, arson, and murder. John was said to have been one of the first judges of the Inferior Court of Thomas County.

Living on the Ochlockonee River, John owned and operated a sawmill and gristmill. The 1850 Thomas County census listed John and Nancy Ann in household no. 172. His occupation was given as a farmer. Living with them were: John, Elizabeth Ann, and Thomas A. Carlton, minor orphan children of the Rev. Thomas Carlton.

In 1852, John Carlton sold his property to Robert M. Hendry, his son-in-law, and relocated to Madison County, Florida, where the 85-year-old couple was recorded in the 1860 census of Madison County. Living with them were the families of John W. and Susan L. Carlton and Thomas A. and Elizabeth Carlton.

Nancy Ann Carlton died June 4, 1867 in Madison County. John Carlton died February 26, 1868 in Madison County. They are buried in Friendship Cemetery near Moseley Hall in the southern part of Madison County. The funerals of John and Nancy Ann were preached by the Rev. John M. Hendry. The text was, "Well done good and faithful servant, enter though into the joy of the Lord."


Entrance marker to Friendship Cemetery, courtesy of David Carlton


Tombstone of John Carlton, courtesy of David Carlton


Tombstone of Nancy Ann Carlton, courtesy of Rev. Tom H. Johnson, Jr.

Another view of the tombstone of Nancy Ann Carlton, courtesy of David Carlton

"Inventory and appraisement of the goods, chattels, rights, credits and effects of John Carlton, Sen., late of Madison County," dated May 29, 1868, totaled $702 and included: 120 acres of land, $350; 40 head stock cattle, $200; 1 pr. oxcart wheels, $18; 2 old ploughs, $2; 2 pine tables, $2; 1 pr. blankets, $5; 1 churn, $1; 1 meat stand, $ .50; 1 dryer(?), $1; foot adds(?), $1; 1 sugar bowler, 100 gals., $16; 1 plowstick spindle, $ .50; 1 note on John W. Carlton, $105. John W. Carlton was the executor. The sales from the estate totaled $1,011.30.

George W. Hendry, a grandson, lovingly recalled in 1900:

"John Carlton greatly resembled old Abraham. I never read of old Abraham, but in my mind's eye I behold my grandfather. He had his family worship mornings and evenings as regularly as the days came and went. I can recall vividly the verbage of many of his prayers, and can sing many of the songs that I learned when but eight years old at my grandfather's hearthstone as though it was but yesterday.
"Two of his sons-Thomas and Wright-were Methodist preachers. The former was among the oldest and the latter the youngest of the family. The whole family, from grandfather down, were exemplary Christians, their piety proverbial. Most of them held family worship, and their descendants are in evidence among many of their descendants till this day.
"If there was ever a stronger evidence of the fulfillment of God's promise to the righteous than in his case, we never heard of it. Out of the entire number of his descendants which run into the thousands, if one has ever been convicted of a crime, we never heard of it.
"John Carlton was in his ninety-third year and his wife in her ninety-second at the time of theirs, which occurred near Moseley Hall, in Taylor County [sic], Florida, in 1867 and 1868, respectively.
"As far back as I can remember Grandfather Carlton lived on the Ocklocknee River, in Thomas County, Ga., and owned a saw mill and grist mill, run by the waters of the river, which was standing only a few years ago. The mill passed from his hands to Robert M. Hendry, after which William H. Hendry owned it. The mill was lolocated eight miles north of Thomasville, Ga."


Issue of John and Nancy Ann (Alderman) Carlton, all born in Sampson County, North Carolina, except Thomas, born in Duplin County, North Carolina:

1. Thomas Carlton, born ca. 1799; died December 1841 in Lowndes County (now Brooks), Georgia; married (1) in 1820 Nancy Ward; (2) April 16, 1841 Lucretia Steward.

2. Mary "Polly" Carlton, born November 3, 1801; died July 3, 1890, Thomasville, Georgia; married on January 14, 1830 John Chastain.

3. Alderman Carlton, born January 4, 1803; died on June 14, 1856, Fort Meade, Fla.; married on September 27, 1822 Martha Maria Alderman.

4. Stephen Carlton, born August 3, 1805; died on January 9, 1886, Mt. Pisgah, Polk County, Fla; married (1) Eunice Bankston, c1827; (2) Sarah Wells, February 14, 1837; (3) Martha Ann Ray Dampier, 1882.

5. William Carlton, born October 1807; died December 16, 1875, Fort Green, Fla.; married on December 24, 1829 Harriet Hendry, daughter of William Hendry and Nancy (McFail) Hendry.

6. Elizabeth Carlton, born 1808; died October 1862 in Taylor County, Fla.; married ca. 1823 John Simmons.

7. Lydia Carlton, born April 4, 1812; died May 24, 1898, Homeland, Polk County, Fla.; married (1) in 1829 James Edward Hendry, son of William and Nancy (McFail) Hendry; (2) November 5, 1854, Benjamin Moody.

8. John Wright Carlton, born February 23, 1818; died January 13 1894, Mt. Pisgah, Polk County, Fla.; married on November 15, 1855 Mrs. Susan Lee (Cason) Murphy.

9. Martha Ann Carlton, born June 1820; died October 18, 1900, Taylor County, Fla.; married in December 1838 Robert McFail Hendry, son of William Hendry and Nancy (McFail) Hendry.


References: Milton D. Wilson, The Carlton Family Some Descendants of Thomas Carlton, Revolutionary Soldier of Duplin County, North Carolina, Polk Co. Historical Commission, Bartow, 1940s; William Alderman Parker, Aldermans In America, pp. 282, 314-315, 1957, reprinted 1977, Edwards & Broughton Co., Raleigh, NC; Folks Huxford, Pioneers of Wiregrass Georgia,Volumes 1 & 111; George W. Hendry, Family Record of Lydia Moody Nee Hendry Nee Carlton of Polk County, Florida,1900; Spessard Stone, John and William, Sons of Robert Hendry, 1989.



This profile is adapted from the author's Lineage of John Carlton, 1998.

August 27, 2001 & links = October 16, 2001