The author at the headstone of Joshua Carter

The birth and death dates being used and copied by people on Ancestry.com and elsewhere are based on a booklet published by Jack Hutchinson called; A Quaker Migration to Southwestern Ohio (AQM).  In the booklet he presents the following: 

  1. Mary Carter, c.1759— No more is known of Mary by this compiler.
  2. Joseph Carter, Jr. Nov. 26, 1760—Feb. 26, 1831. Joseph married a woman named Hannah.
  3. Joshua Carter, Nov. 26, 1760 (or 1769)—Feb. 26, 1831 m. 1st to ____, after 1806 m. 2nd to Garthery (Brooks) Merritt, Mar. 26, 1764—Feb. 16, 1852, widow of Abraham Merritt, 1758-1806. (Joseph Carter, Jr. and Joshua Carter may have been twins.)
  4. James Carter, 1761—1832, m. Feb. 23, 1804, to Sarah Freel, -1827.
  5. Sarah Carter, Sept. 20, 1764—Feb. 15, 1847, m. Joseph Kirby, Feb. 3, 1760 — June 22, 1832.

Most of these dates are either provably wrong or cannot be substantiated by any currently known records. Unfortunately, Mr. Hutchinson passed away in 2014 so the source of this information may never be known.

The following paragraphs set forth the documentation and reasoning I have used to determine the dates of their births and deaths.

All of the Joseph Carter II and Mary Gaskill’s children were born in Burlington County, New Jersey. They were most likely born on the two acres in Springfield Township that Joseph Carter II inherited from his grandfather. They may have acquired other property and moved within the township but they never moved far enough for Mary to have changed Quaker meetings, otherwise, a certificate of removal would have been requested and would have been noted in the Mount Holly meeting minutes.

Kirby-Carter Marriage

All of the children, with the exception of Joseph III, died in Warren County, Ohio and are probably buried in Turtle Creek (Kirby) Cemetery along with their spouses; although Joshua Carter and his second wife Garthery are the only ones with headstones. The cemetery is on land that belonged to Robert Kirby, the brother of Sarah Carter’s husband Joseph Kirby. Even though the Carter’s lived in Clear Creek Township and the Kirby Cemetery was in Turtle Creek Township, it was the closest cemetery. It was also a family cemetery and not a “Township Cemetery” until long after the deaths of the Carter children. Joseph Carter III is buried in Mound Hill Cemetery in Preble County, Ohio.

There are no official, birth or death, records for any of the children, and with the exception of Joshua and Joseph III, no specific birth or death date can be assigned.

Joshua’s headstone records his death as occurring on 26 February 1831. The inscription is now weathered and unreadable; however, a reading of the stone done in the 1950’s states that he was 3 months and 70 years old, giving him a birth date of 26 November 1760.

Sarah Carter’s date of birth as given in AQM is 20 Sep 1764. Although no record can be found giving this specific date, the year of her birth conforms nicely with the information that we know about her. When Sarah was married on 3 March 1783, her brother Joshua accompanied her and Joseph Kirby to the courthouse to obtain their license. Because Sarah was under the age of 21, she required the permission of her parents to marry. Joshua, who was of age, had to present himself to attest that Sarah had her parents’ permission to marry and a bond had to be posted as required by New Jersey law. The birth date given in AQM would make her nineteen and a half years old when she married which is perfectly reasonable, so I am inclined to use this date until new information can be found. Her death date as given in AQM of 15 Feb 1747 and is consistent with the sale of Joseph Kirby’s property in 1847, so I am also using this date for her death.

Mary Carter’s 1787 Removal Letter

The 9 Sep 1841 edition of the Eaton Register contained the following notice: “Carter, Joseph born 1769, died Sept. 3, 1841, age 72 years 7 months, buried Mound Hill.” This would make Joseph Carter III’s date of birth 3 Feb 1769. (It is not lost on me that both Joshua and Joseph III appeared to have died on their birthday. This could be a strange coincidence, or it could be that the numbers of additional days that they lived were omitted.)

In 1787, when the family prepared to move to western Pennsylvania, the 6 September Mount Holly meeting minutes recorded the decision to disown Joseph Carter but to grant a Certificate of Removal to Mary Carter and her minor children Joseph, Mary, and James. The Quakers were fastidious record keepers and always listed the children of a family in the order of their birth from oldest to youngest, so from this record we know that Mary and James were both younger than Joseph III and that James was younger than Mary.

25 May 1792 Westland MM Disownment of Mary Carter for marriage to James Stephenson.

Mary Carter’s date of birth is constrained by Joseph III’s birth plus nine months and by the fact that she was at least 21 years old when she married James Stephenson in the early spring of 1792 in Washington County, Pennsylvania. This is established by the Westland, Pennsylvania Quaker meeting minutes beginning on the 25th of March 1792 and culminating on the 23rd of September 1792 when it is recorded: “Whereas Mary Stephenson (late Carter) hath has a Right of Membership amongst us the People called Quakers but hath so far deviated from the good order established amongst us as to keeping company with and Marry a Man not of our Society by the assistance of a Baptist Preacher, for which Friends have labored with her in order to convince her of the inconsistency of her conduct, but she not appearing so sensible whereof as to condemn it to satisfaction, we disown her from Membership with us until she be enabled to make satisfaction to this Monthly Meeting which that she may is our desire.” In order for Mary to have been considered a member and also disowned she would have had to be at least 21 years old.

This gives a date range of approximately December 1769 and early 1771 for Mary’s birth. I have chosen to use 1770. Her death date is less certain. All that we currently know is that she appears to have died after having one or more children, one of which appears to have been born in Ohio, and that she died before her husband died in 1830.

James Carter’s birth date is hard to determine with any accuracy. He was born between 1772 and 1782, the upper date being capped by the fact that he was at least 21 years old when he married Sarah Freel in 1804. Because of his mother’s age, I have chosen to use Abt. 1775. James signed his Last Will and Testament on 5 May 1831 and it was entered into probate on 11 Sep 1831. He died between these dates; however, his specific date of death cannot be determined.

The Children of Joseph Carter II and Mary Gaskill

Joshua Carter (26 Nov 1760 – 26 Feb 1831)
Sarah Carter (20 Sep 1764 – 15 Feb 1847)
Joseph Carter III (3 Nov 1769 – 3 Sep 1841)
Mary Carter (Abt. 1770 – Bef. 1830)
James Carter (Abt. 1775 – 1831)