When Joseph and Mary Carter prepared to move the family to Washington County, Pennsylvania in October of 1787, their son Joshua Carter, who was 27 and single, prepared to go with them. He had submitted a request for a Certificate of Removal from the Mount Holly meeting when his parents had requested theirs, but in September when his father was disowned, Joshua’s request was continued until the next meeting.
The usual reason for a matter to be continued was to allow the Quaker’s assigned to investigate it more time to talk with the person and his friends and family. Evidently, Joshua told them that he was planning to return to Mount Holly after seeing his parents safely in Western Pennsylvania. So, at the October meeting the decision was made not to give him a certificate; because if he was going to return, there was no need to transfer his membership to Westland and then back again.
It’s not known if Joshua returned to Mount Holly shortly after traveling Pennsylvania. His name has not been found in any Quaker record after the 4 Oct 1787 Mount Holly meeting minutes. It’s also unclear why he would return. Perhaps Joshua knew that he would meet the same fate as his father. He may not have attended meetings regularly and he had also been involved in some of his Quaker friends and family members marriages outside of the Quaker community, so disownment was a possibility, he may have even been told this, and devised the ruse of returning to Mount Holly, and effectively ending the inquiry into his fitness to be considered a member, in good standing, of the Quaker community.
What is know is that in 1792 he and his wife were living in Fayette County, Pennsylvania where their son Josiah G Carter was born. If Joshua did return to Mount Holly, it may have been to marry; however, no record of a marriage has been found in New Jersey or in Pennsylvania.
We do not know who Joshua Carter’s first wife was, not even her first name. There are only two things that we know about her. From their son William Carter’s 1880 census record, we know that she was born in New Jersey. We also know that she died in Warren County, Ohio because some of her children were born there. No actual record of her death has been found.
One additional clue may lie in the fact that their son William Carter was born in New Jersey in 1796.
1796 was a busy year for the Carter family. In May, Mary Carter and her son James Carter[i] were granted Certificates of Removal from the Westland meeting in Washington County, to the Redstone Meeting in Fayette County, Pennsylvania. Because Joseph Carter II and III had been disowned by this time, it is unclear if they also went to Fayette County in 1796.
I assume that they may have moved there to be closer to Joshua and his family or perhaps Mary and James went there to take care of Joshua’s farm and children, while he and his wife traveled to New Jersey to take care of some business.
I believe the most likely reason Joshua and his wife would have to make the 300-mile journey back to New Jersey, would have to do with the death of one of his wife’s parents, and so the proof of her identity might be found in a will, probate or land sale record in New Jersey.
Finding that needle in the haystack of records is a daunting task. It is my hope that the DNA Project will be able to provide us with a probable surname and reduce the mountain of records to a molehill.
[i] Because James Carter had requested a Certificate of Removal for himself, he was at least 21 years old. This puts the cap of the upper end of the window for his birth to March of 1775.