Reuben Carlton, a pioneer settler of Fort Pierce, was a Civil War veteran and cattleman.
Reuben Carlton, eldest son of Daniel Wilson Carlton and Sallie Ann (Murphy) Carlton, was born December 16, 1842, Thomas County, Georgia. He moved with his parents in the 1840s to Alachua or Marion County, Florida and then to the Alafia Settlement in Hillsborough County, Florida, being enumerated with his family in the 1850 census. Before 1855, they had relocated to Fort Meade and later to Troublesome Creek in Manatee (now Hardee) County, Florida.
During the Civil War, Reuben enlisted April 10, 1862 at Camp Lee by Lt. June for 3 yrs. or the war as a private in Capt. Blount's Company (C), 7 Regiment Florida Infantry, C.S.A. The company subsequently became Company E, 7th Regiment Florida Infantry. Pvt. Carlton appears on company muster rolls from April 1862 to February 1864. Also, Pvt. Reub. Carlton, of Co. E, 7 Regt. Fla., appears on a "Report of Stoppages to be entered on Company Muster rolls of the Florida Brigade, commanded by Brig. Gen. J. J. Finley, for losses and damages of Ordnance Stores, during the month of Jan & Feb 1864."
Due to the humiliating mistreatment by Confederate agents of his father Daniel, Reuben deserted Co. E. At Fort Myers, Florida on May 28, 1864, Reuben was enrolled as a private by Capt. Henry A. Crane in Company B, Second Florida Cavalry, United States Army. Company B records described Reuben as: "Born in Thomas County, Georgia; age 23; refugee from Confederacy; grey eyes; light hair; dark complexion; 5 feet 9 inches; promoted to 5th Sgt. on June 29, 1864." He was reported "on roll to June 30/64. Sergt. present -Same to Aug. 31, 1865 Sept. & Oct. 65, not on file." Sergeant Carlton was mustered out with his company on November 29, 1865 at Tallahassee, Florida.
After the Civil War, Reuben and family first settled on the shores of the Caloosahatchee River, near LaBelle, and from there up the river near Okeechobee. They then removed to Ten Mile Creek for two years and later settled at Fort Perce. The Carltons were prominent cattlemen and also farmed. The Carlton brothers, Reuben and Wright, owned and operated on the southwest corner of Pine Street the Buckhorn Saloon, which was the "watering hole" for the area's cattlemen. On the other hand, when the First Baptist Church of Fort Pierce was organized in 1890 with 19 charter members, three of the charter members were Mrs. Elizabeth Carlton, Mrs. Lucy B. Carlton and Sally Carlton Boykin. When on February 2, 1901 a town government and charter were drawn for Fort Pierce, included on 53 names on the charter were C. Carlton, D. S. Carlton, L. L. Carlton, and W. W. Carlton. Daniel S. Carlton was first City Marshal, while L. L. Carlton was one of the first five aldermen. The Carltons were staunch members of the Republican Party.
On October 8, 1888, Reuben Carlton applied for an invalid pension from his service in Company B, as: "...in the service and in the line of his duty at Cedar Key's, in the State of Florida on or about the months of June or July, 1865 [more likely 1864], he contracted general indigestion and debility, caused from long marches in the Florida Swamps, which resulted in Chronic diarrhoea, and now suffering from piles, accompanied now and then by severe attacks of rheumatism, and mostly confined in the house at present time, and suffering from lack of memory. That he was treated in hospital as follows: by Dr. Wilcox, referred to by the Regimental Surgeon, at the Regimental Barrack at Cedar Key's in the State of Florida also by Dr. Carroll." His personal description was as follows: "Age 45 years; height, 5 feet 10 inches; complexion, fair hair, brunette; eyes, gray." He gave his occupation as a farmer and residence as Fort Pierce, Brevard County, Florida. Records are incomplete, but at an undetermined date, he was granted a pension, certificate no. 672141.
Under the Act of May 11, 1912, Reuben in continuation of his pension gave Fort Pierce, St. Lucie County, Florida as his post office address. (St. Lucie County was created from Brevard County July 1, 1905.) He stated that since leaving the service his several places of residence were "at different places in the State of Florida and at Ft. Pierce, Fla. since about 1886." (Pictorial History of Saint Lucie County has 1878 for the move to Fort Pierce.) He was last paid at $21.50 to August 4, 1917.
Reuben Carlton died September 12, 1917, Fort Pierce, St. Lucie County, with burial in the Carlton Cemetery, about ten miles west of Fort Pierce, Florida. "Standard Certificate of Death" listed his occupation as stock raiser, with the cause of death being chronic heart disease, pneumonia being a secondary contributory. W. E. VanLandingham, M.D., had attended the deceased from September 2, 1917 to September 12, 1917.
In Manatee County on April 20, 1866, Reuben had married (1) Elizabeth Crews, daughter of Dempsey Dubois and Piety (Collier) Crews. Rev. J. M. Hayman officiated. Elizabeth was born February 10, 1844, probably in Ware Co., Georgia and died November 12, 1918. They divorced about January, 1897 at Titusville, Florida. (Reuben in his pension file of April 17, 1915 cited June 29, 1864 for his marriage to Elizabeth, but Manatee County marriage records has April 20, 1866.)
The obituary of Elizabeth Carlton was printed in the Fort Pierce newspaper:
“GRANDMA CARLTON, ONE OF PIONEER CITIZENS, IS DEAD
“Mrs. Elizabeth Carlton died at her home at Ten Mile Creek Thursday night after an illness of ten days with the influenza.
“’Grandma’Carlton, as she was affectionately called, was seventy-four years old and one of a very few of the original settlers of the county left. She was a native of Florida and as Miss Elizabeth Crews she married Reuben R. Carlton. In 1880 she came from DeSoto county, to where Fort Pierce now is, with her husband and family and has lived here and at Ten Mile where she had a fine citrus grove.
“Early in life she united with the Baptist church and has been a faithful member ever since. In her long and useful life she was of a noble, christian character, such as the mothers of our nation have ever bequeathed to their sons.
“When the family moved here there was no Fort Pierce, except the old Fort of Seminole days, south of the present city. They purchased land from the state and 14 acres running from the river back to the creek, the northern boundary lying about half a block north of the present Orange avenue. The entire fourteen acres was just as nature made it covered with scrub and never had been touched.
“About two years ago Mrs. Carlton had a stroke of paralysis and lived with her daughter, Mrs. C. C. Boynton at Ten Mile until recently she moved to her own home.
“She leaves a family of six children to mourn her loss, four sons, L. L., W. W., Charles and Perry, all of Ten Mile, except L. L., who is the well known citizen of Fort Pierce; two daughters, Mrs. C. McLendon of Okeechobee and Mrs. C. C. Boynton of Ten Mile.”
On January 30, 2002, Theresa Whitice Olah wrote: "Elizabeth Crews Carlton...is buried next to Rueben, even though he had remarried. The children were very adamant about burying them side by side. They didn't approve of what had happened,
and...her gravestone says she is the wife of Rueben Carlton. All the stories I was told about Elizabeth Crews Carlton present her as a
woman of courage, compassion, and dignity. When Rueben, Sr. was living in town with the woman he would eventually marry, he became extremely ill, and
Elizabeth went to his bedside to nurse him back to health. In fact, she would go out in her horse drawn buggy many evenings to travel to homes where people
were ill. She was a midwife and nurse of sorts, and many people looked to her for help. When her son Dan S. Carlton was murdered, she spoke out at his funeral and
prayed that Disney, the murderer would not be put to death. She stated that somewhere he had a mother who loved him as much as she loved her son, Dan.
She did not believe that violence or hatred served any purpose. There are other stories but I will not go into all of them at this time. I will say, that she owned a lot of down
town property and had the streets of Ft. Pierce made much wider than streets in comparable small towns. She knew that things would change and that narrow streets would
one day be impractical."
Reuben married (2) October 14, 1897 Rhoda (Starling) Meredith, born March 1, 1855, Clinch County, Georgia. Rhoda married (1) George Meredith, who died February 16, 1895, Fort Pierce, Florida. H. G. Bronson, J. P., officiated at Fort Pierce.
In applying for a widow's pension October 8, 1917, Rhoda gave her address as Fort Pierce, Florida. She was granted a pension, certificate no. 861389, and was last paid at the rate of $30 per month to March 4, 1924 and on April 24, 1924 was dropped from the roll because of death (date not listed).
Issue of Reuben and Elizabeth (Crews) Carlton:
1. Charlotte Carlton, born July 4, 1866; died Sept. 6, 1941; married 5 times, including James F. Olmsead; C. McLendon; Abraham Hilliard.
2. Lindley Lambert Carlton, born Jan. 18, 1868; died April 20, 1940; married Lucy (Bevill) Dardis.
3. Sarah Ann Piety "Sallie" Carlton, born Jan. 16, 1870; died Dec. 1964; married Charles C. Boykin.
4. Daniel Stephen Carlton, born Feb. 6, 1872; died May 22, 1915; married on April 30, 1904 Theresa Molly Hilliard.
5. Wright William Carlton, born Jan. 29, 1874; died 1966; married at Kissimmee, Fla. on Oct. 4, 1906 Annie Waters.
6. Reuben Carlton Jr., born Jan. 13, 1876; died July 23, 1913; never married.
7. Charles C. Carlton, born March 16, 1879; died Oct. 30, 1930; married Rhoda Vickers.
8. Albert K. Carlton, born Jan. 1, 1881; died March 16, 1882.
9. Perry Carlton, born March 28, 1883; died April 1970; never married. Outliving all his siblings, he left a large estate.
References: CSA record of Reuben Carlton, National Archives; Co. B pension application of Reuben Carlton; Kyle VanLandingham; Judge Charles Carlton, Naples, Florida.
This profile is adapted from the authors Lineage of John Carlton with additional comments by Theresa Whitice Olah.