Contributed by Walter S. & Maxine C. Gabennesch
The Ann Carver – Richard II Braswell Family-----By William C. Fields III
The Cumberland County Carvers are somewhat more complicated. They all are descended from brothers, Robert and William (Braswell) Carver. Both of who died very early in 1767 and left wills.
Robert and William were the sons of Ann Carver and Richard II Braswell. No one knows whether Ann and Richard were ever married. A deed of Isham Carver, son of Robert, refers to land conveyed to Robert Carver by “Richard II Braswell and wife Ann”. However, when David, brother to William and Robert, died his estate was the object of a legal contest with Richard III Braswell, son of Richard II and half-brother to the Carvers. This court action took place in 1758-59 and the result was that David was declared an illegitimate son of Richard II Braswell.
Ann Carver, mother of Robert and William, was daughter and probably only child of William Carver of Isle of Wight County, Virginia. William Carver married Jane Moore, daughter of John Moore, of Isle of Wight in about 1690. Between 1692 and 1710 William and Jane sold land that she has inherited from her father John Moore a shoemaker. At some time before January 1714/15 William and his daughter Ann moved to Chowan County, North Carolina. We know this because the Chowan County Court minutes show, as of that date, she qualified as administratrix of her father’s estate. Presumably Jane had died because, if alive, she would have been named as administratrix. Ann would necessarily have attained her majority in order to qualify for that duty as it may be conjectured that she was born in the very early 1690’s.
The Carvers and Braswells had been neighbors in the Isle of Wight and may had very well know each other before moving to North Carolina. In any case Richard II Braswell was named as one of the creditors of William Carver’s estate and the association between him and Ann may have begun at that time. Richard’s wife, Eleanor, by whom he had the son Richard III, was still alive so marriage with Ann was out of the question. Whether they married later, after Eleanor’s death, is unknown and very doubtful as shown in the court action of 1758-59.
Richard II Braswell and Ann Carver had four children: Robert, William, David and Sarah, (we refer to them as the Braswell-Carver generation) identified by deeds and gifts to them in 1747, Halifax Co. NC. It is clear from the wording of these deeds that Richard II not only acknowledged the children as his but also wanted them to use the surname Braswell and for the most part they did so until his death. In all known records of David he is identified as David Bracewell. Robert and William, on the other hand, sometimes appear as Carver and sometimes as Braswell. However after the legal battle with their half-brother Richard III over the estates of Richard II Sr. and David, which must have been rather acrimonious, they ceased using the name Braswell altogether.
The family moved from Edgecombe County in about 1750 to what was then Bladen, later Cumberland, County. There David, who evidently was unmarried and without issue, and their father Richard II died in late 1758. Nothing more is known to this day of Sarah. The two surviving Braswell-Carver sons, Robert and William, were the progenitors of the Cumberland County Carvers.
Robert and William the two eldest children were certainly born after 1716 and probably about the middle of the 1720’s. They had seven and eight children respectively by their deaths in very early 1767. Robert’s son Isham was born about 1748. William’s eldest son Sampson was born in about 1752 his next son William was born in April of 1753.
Robert Braswell-Carver named no wife in his will so she evidently predeceased him. She was named Mary according to a deed of 25 Feb. 1765 in which Robert and his wife Mary sold land to Ann Nesfield. Robert Braswell-Carver named in his will of 1766 the following children:
- Isham (Isom) Carver---married Elizabeth Baldwin.
- Ann Carver
- Milley (Amelia) Carver
- Susannah Carver-------married Theophilus Evans
- Elizabeth Carver
- Mary Carver------------married David Evans
- Marget (Margaret, Peggy) Carver
- Isham Carver (son of Robert), born abt. 1748 died 1789, married Elizabeth Baldwin she names in her will the following children:
1. Robert Carver, born abt. 1780
2. William Carver, born abt. 1782, died 1848
3. Isham Carver, born 1784, died 13 August 1863 (tombstone)
4. Mary Carver, married ---- Baldwin
5. Sidney Carver (female) never married, died 1860
6. Julia Carver married William Rutledge Carman, marriage bond dated 15 April 1828, she died 19 January 1844,
according to the inscription on the tombstone.
The date of Isham Carver’s death was established as 1789 by court dockets. His death occurred during a lawsuit he was engaged in and was noted in the docket. His birth date is the result of shrewd guesswork. The Elizabeth Carver in the 1790 census was his widow. She died in 1837 and left a will. The date on her tombstone is 5 Feb. 1837. The daughter, Sidney Carver, died unmarried in 1860 (year her will was probated) and in this will she names brother-in-law William R. Carman, brother William Carver, the child of brother Robert Carver and children of sister Mary Baldwin. The will was made 13 Dec. 1852.
Robert Carver, son of Isham, had one son, John Mullington Carver.
Isham Carver, son of Isham, married Lucy Ann Winslow Evans Watts, daughter of George Washington Evans by his first wife, Margaret Elwell, and widow of Thomas D. Watts; marriage bond dated 16 May 1844. If he was married before there is no record of it. They had one son, John Isham Carver, who died in infancy (13 April 1848, aged 2 years, 3 months, according to the tombstone).
William Carver, son of Isham, is, I believe, the William R. (Red) Carver who married his cousin, Clarissa Carver, daughter of William, the Revolutionary soldier. William R. Carver is sometimes referred to as William Jr. in the census records.
- Ann Carver, daughter of Robert Braswell-Carver, is supposed to have married John Elwell. Her tombstone gives her dates as 15 Dec. 1787, aged 38 years (therefore born 1749). John Elwell died 8 Jan. 1835, aged 91 years. This marriage is “Family History” in my family, who always claimed kin with the Elwell descendants on this basis.
- Amelia (Milley) Carver, daughter of Robert Braswell-Carver, probably married Charles Baldwin after 1771. In the estate records of her father there is one item concerning her: Account of Mill Amelia Carver with Robert Rowan, including hire of two Negroes, July 1771.
- Susannah Carver, daughter of Robert Braswell-Carver, married Theophilus Evans, born 10 Nov. 1746 (according to the Evans Family Bible), died 16 March 1822 (as reported in the Raleigh Register of 29 March 1822. They were the parents of 13 children, born between 1774 and 1799, including George Washington Evan’s. These dates suggest that Susannah be born in the 1750’s, probably about 1755. There is no mention of her in his will, made 19 August 1821, probated April 1822.
- Elizabeth Carver, daughter of Robert Braswell-Carver, born 24 October 1759, married 16 January 1780 John Estes of Hillsboro, N. C., who was born 24 December 1745, died 11 September 1799. Eliza Estes died 16 April 1845. These dates are from John Estes’ Prayer Book (except for Eliza’s death date). The Prayer Book is included in the Revolutionary Pension Records of John Estes and Eliza’s death date is also in these records.
- Mary Carver, daughter of Robert Braswell-Carver, married Thomas Sewell. She is mentioned in the will of her sister, Eliza Estes, made 26 October 1841, probated May 1845, in Orange County, North Carolina.
- Margaret Carver, daughter of Robert Braswell-Carver, married first John Kinchen (Orange Co. marriage bond dated 24 September 1788), second William Nash (Orange Co. marriage bond dated 1 September 1795). Margaret was also mentioned in her sister Eliza Estes’ will.
According to the actual dates we have I believe that Robert Braswell-Carver named his children by order of birth in his will. This is one of the means by which I arrived at approximate dates for the others.
William Braswell-Carver named in his will wife Mary and the following children:
- Sampson Carver
- William Carver
- Robert Carver
- Samuel Carver
- Jesse Carver
- James Carver
- John Carver
- Mary Carver
- Sampson Carver was born about 1752 and appears in the 1790 Cumberland Co. census with 3 males under 16 and 3 females no age designation. There is no record in the State of North Carolina that I know of that gives the names of his wife or any of his children. The census record suggests that he had three sons and at least two daughters born before 1790. There are numerous deeds on record here showing that he sold land all through the 1790’s, his signature alone appears on these deeds. He disappears from all records here by mid 1798. He is undoubtedly the Sampson Carver who lived later in Georgia, although I am yet to find any documentary evidence of this move. It is possible that one or more of his children remained behind in North Carolina but I don’t believe they did; or if they did they evidently went on to Georgia later. For one thing they can not be identified as appearing in the census records. A Sampson Carver appears in the 1810 census of Cumberland Co. age 26-45 (i. e. born between 1765 and 1784), one female same age (wife, no doubt), two males under 10 and three females under 10 years. There is no other record of him here as far as I know. He may have been Sampson’s son who returned here briefly for whatever reason.
- William Carver, born April 1753, died 29 March 1836. These dates and the list of his children are from his Pension Records, Revolutionary War. He was one of the three Carver brothers who signed the Cumberland County Resolutions, June 1775 (the other two brothers were Robert and Samuel). The name of his wife is unknown. She died before 1830, per census records. The following were his children:
- David Carver
- Brasel (Brazil) Carver (corruption of Braswell)
- Clarissa Carver (Clary, Clara)
- Elizabeth Carver (Lizy)
- Peggy Carver
- John Carver
- James Carver
- Nelly Carver
The pension record states, in 1837, that three of these children: David, Brasil and Clary, wife of William R. Carver, all of lawful age, now reside in this county (Cumberland), and five: Lisy, Peggy, John, James, and Nelly “removed many years ago to the Western Country, parts unknown”.
David Carver, son of William (2.), born abt. 1783, per census of 1850, made his will 16 January 1852, naming nephew William Henry Carver and Sister Clara Carver. What progeny he had, if any, is not known.
Brazil Carver, son of William (2.), born abt. 1785 per 1850 census, married Betsy Reeves (marriage bond dated 24 January 1809). They had a number of children.
Clarissa Carver, daughter of William (2.), born abt. 1787, per 1860 census, married her cousin, William R. Carver (marriage bond dated 23 October 1809). He was, I am sure, the son of Isham and Elizabeth Carver. She names a son William in her will of 1832-37 and there was no other William Carver on record here for many years except of course William Sr. his father-in-law. He appears in the census first in 1810 and continued there through 1840, known as William Carver, Jr., as long as his father-in-law was alive. He died in 1848. (Division of Estates, 1808-1860, states that Mrs. Clarissa Carver was awarded her dower and third in land of William Carver, dec’d, 1 September 1848.) They had a number of children.
- Robert Carver, son of William Braswell-Carver, married Elizabeth Newberry. He died in 1797 and left a will naming his children. All of the children remained here in Cumberland County. The records of Robert Carver’s estate are remarkably complete and all the daughters had married by the time the estate was settled so we have the names of all their husbands. The son, Marshal Carver, appears in only one census, that of 1820, so if he left this county it was after that year. Robert was also one of the signers of the Cumberland Resolutions.
- Samuel Carver, son of William Braswell-Carver, the third of these brothers to sign the Cumberland Resolutions, had died before 1790, that I am convinced. He does not appear in the 1790 census and his brother Robert, refers in his will to disposing of the property of his brother Samuel’s. A case in the Superior Court Minutes of October 1791 involved Samuel Hollingsworth vs. Administrator of Samuel Carver. I think he died unmarried, else there would have been a reference to his widow and children, if any, in the court minutes, which I have studied thoroughly.
- Jesse Carver son of William Braswell-Carver married twice. By his first wife, name unknown, he had two daughters: Susannah, who married Cornelius Thames (marriage bond dated 8 July 1805) and Elizabeth, who married George Washington Evans as his second wife (marriage bond has date obliterated). Jesse Carver had, by his second wife Mary Kirkpatrick, daughters Sarah, Maria, Rebecca, Mary and one son William E. Carver. Maria married Jonathan Evans Jr. and they were my great great grandparents. This Jonathan Evans was a son of Josiah Evans II and grandson of Josiah Evans and Sarah Carver Evans – see data on Bladen Carvers.
- And - -7. James and John are the unknowns in this family. Court Minutes show that they had guardians as late as 1785 indicating that the youngest child was born in 1764. The Court Minutes for April 1785 show that Sampson Carver was appointed Guardian to John on that date so he may have been born even a year later; the father’s will is dated 10 December 1766. In the will he leaves no land to James and John. He leaves them only slaves and other personal property to be held in trust for them by Sampson and William until they were of age. I believe William Braswell-Carver in his will, as in the case of Robert Braswell-Carver, named his children in order of age. The exception perhaps would be the daughter Mary. She was probably born about 1760. There are no records, that I’ve found, that indicate anything about the fate of James or John. I feel it is likely that they moved away or died very young. They inherited no land by their father’s will so either event could have taken place without creating much stir. There were a John and James Carver, of Cumberland Co., who bought land in Bladen from Jesse Newberry and wife Deborah, of Bladen Co., in 1771(Bladen Co. Deed Bk. 23, p. 296). However, by the above line of reasoning as to their ages it seems to me out of the question that they were sons of William Braswell-Carver. I have no idea to there identity. And, except for a lawsuit in July 1774, Alexander McPherson vs. John Carver, no other references to this earlier John and James has turned up in the records to give us a clue. Samuel Carver, who may have been the son of William Braswell-Carver, witnessed the deed of 1771. I doubt that, even he was not old enough at that time. This Samuel was more likely the son of Samuel Carver of Bladen Co., will 1758. At any rate there are these miscellaneous, as yet unidentified Carvers who may be responsible for some of the later generations that migrated south, or may themselves be the migrants.
- Mary Carver, daughter of William Braswell-Carver, married David Evans, brother to Josiah, Ann and Theophilus previously mentioned. According to the Evan’s Family Bible David was born 23 December 1753, died 2 October 1812. They had three children, only one of who lived to maturity, a son Jonathan (1784-1859), which was another great-great grandfather of mine. He was a first cousin once removed to Jonathan Evans, Jr., who married Maria Carver, daughter of Jesse. My maternal grandparents were cousins through three Carver-Evans intermarriages, which is the reason for this confusion – and my keen interest in these two families.
THIS IS THE WORK OF William C. Fields III AND IS USED WITH HIS PERMISSION.
Information concerning the parents of Ann Carver found by later research was added to the above letter by W.S.G.
Following footnote: by W.S.G.
The original letter was written in 1965, as a response to Sibyl Rousseau Christie’s letter in which she was searching for a lost grandmother with the first name Mary whom she believed was a Carver. Mrs. Christie had strongly suspected that her grandmother was in the household of William Carver born in 1782, the son of Sampson Carver, on the Georgia Appling Co. census of 1820. She was trying to prove that Mary was the daughter of William Carver. The Rousseau family had been searching diligently for many years prior to the original date of this letter. Their lost grandmother was found in May of 1999 when a Florida cousin discovered pages copied from the Family Bible of William Carver. Mary was, in reality, Mary Clements daughter of Anny Wilson Clements Carver who was a widow and married William Carver in 1807.
The fact remains that there are two males that appear consistently on the census in North Carolina of William Carver in 1790, 1800 and 1810. We can account for by name and age all of the other children of William. There is a possibility that these two males were Sampson, who appears on the 1810 Cumberland Co. census, and Samuel who married Easter McNeil in 1805. This Samuel appears again in the 1812 Cumberland Co. Court Minutes as being detailed for road work along with two of his mill hands Bill and Dark. Samuel also appears on the 1815 Cumberland County tax list, one poll; no slaves and no real property. The census causes me to make the assumption that they were the children of William Carver. If this should be the case then it would be necessary to assume that both families perished in their entirety sometime after 1812 and before 1820. But here is a problem if Samuel was the son of William and married then by 1815 he should have been given property. Here is also another intriguing fact there is a Samuel Carver who appears on the 1806 Tattnall Co. GA property tax list, Sampson Carver acting as agent. Sampson had a son named Samuel but he would have been only somewhere around the age of 3/6 in 1803.