CHAPTER 20

THE TOMBIGBEE ADVENTURE                 

                                           
Between about 1800 and 1820, very little is known about the Thomas Jr. Carson family.  In the chapters on the children of Thomas Sr. (Chapter 2), and Thomas Carson Jr. (Chapter 3), there were discussions of the family in the area of Southwest Alabama (Washington and Baldwin Counties), along with what facts were known.  This section of the website is to summarize everything that his been derived to date on the matter. There is absolutely no guarantee as to the accuracy of the relationship of those presented herein, only what has been recorded in official or other credible records. Identity numbers are used only where there is a positive identification of a person, for example, the son of Thomas Sr. Carson was (9) Thomas Jr. Carson, who is identified by number.  The Thomas Carson described below may not be the same person.

Thomas CARSON was in Washington County AL (then Mississippi Territory), in the vicinity of what is now know as the town of “Carson” on 31 July, 1805. The 1805 tax roll shows that he owned 640 acres of the first quality on the west side of the Tombigbee river opposite the mouth of the cut-off, 1 house of 37 feet by 18 feet, three outhouses, 25 acres developed, $3 per acre, total assessed value $1920. He resided in the Tombigbee River area of Alabama in 1806. 

He purchased land from John Jacob Abner, whose original claim was in 1797, on 16 March, 1804 in West Tombigbee, AL. Nearby neighbors were Thomas Bates and Joseph Bates, near the confluence of the Alabama and Tombigbee rivers. Thomas Bates may have been the  father of Sarah Bates, wife of a John Carson, Thomas Carson died in 1807 in Washington County, Alabama.

See “MAPS” – one of which shows the lower Tombigbee River area and Thomas Carson’s land.

A Thomas Carson was a juror at the superior court at McIntosh Bluff, Alabama in September of 1802.

The wife of Thomas Carson was (15) Jane “Jenny” CARSON , who claimed on 25 Oct., 1815 in the Mississippi Territory, Baldwin County (next to Washington County and Mobile, AL) “Jane Carson of the county of Baldwin in the Mississippi Territory maketh oath that she verily believes on the best information, that the Negro woman named Miley belonging to the estate of her late husband Thomas Carson, of the value of four hundred and fifty dolls. Was taken by the hostile Indians, that she has never recovered her, and is persuaded from such accounts as she fully relies upon, that she was killed on her attempt to escape from the Creek (Indian) nation. Signed, Jane Carson. Sworn before me one of the judges of the Mississippi Territy, this 25th octr., 1815, Harry Toulmin.  Also, a map from 1813, which appears in the book on the History of Washington County, Alabama, shows that a “Mrs. Carson” had a home on the Tombigbee River, a very few miles  from the confluence with the Alabama River, and the date marked by her name was “1813″. This would conform to Thomas Jr.’s death in 1807, and Joseph Carson’s death in 1817.

On 19 Feb., 1807, the sheriff of Washington County, Alabama, captured Aaron Burr, who was fleeing federal authority in relationship to his attempt to establish an independent nation in Texas and what had been part of the Louisiana Purchase.  Burr had been Vice-President of the United States, and had killed Alexander Hamilton in a duel.  One of the sheriff’s posse had borrowed a canoe from Joseph Bates, Sr., at Nannahubba Bluff in Washington County during the pursuit.  Bates is believed to be the grandfather of Sarah Bates, wife of John S. Carson, father of Nathan Franklin Carson. While escorting Burr to Pensacola, Florida, the sheriff and captive crossed the Tombigbee River on Mrs. Carson’s ferry.

Jane Carson appeared on the US census of 1810, the Alabama tax list of 1811, the Mississippi Territory census, and the Alabama tax list of 1816, all in Baldwin County, Alabama.

(1425) Joseph CARSON was possibly the son  of Thomas Jr. CARSON.  He accomplished a lot during his youth, as he would have been no older than 36 years old at the time of his death, assuming Thomas Jr. was as young as 18 when Joseph was born.  Captain Joseph CARSON received a pass from Georgia to Mobile, AL on 4 May, 1801, through the Creek Nation from the Governor of Georgia. On 11 Nov., 1802, Major Joseph Carson was issued a pass by the Governor of Georgia to pass through the Creek Nation. On 18 June, 1806, he was commissioned as an Attorney at Law in Washington County, Mississippi Territory (now Alabama). On 5 April, 1808 he was issued a pass by the Governor of Georgia to pass through the Creek Nation, having been recommended by Elijah Clarke. On 8 May, 1809 he was commissioned a Captain in the 6th regiment, Militia of Washington County. If “Captain” Carson is the same as “Colonel” Carson, he would have been only about 19 years old when he received the pass to Mobile.  If he was the brother of Thomas Jr., then he would have been 51 years old, which would be quite reasonable for a man of his accomplishments.

He was Trustee of a lottery before 1811 in Washington Co., AL. The lottery of $5000 was to benefit the establishment of Washington Academy, located at St. Stephens. He was a militia colonel in the First Mississippi Regiment, United States Volunteers. He forced the evacuation of the Spanish post on the Perdido River, 27 April, 1813. He was military commander of the territory between the Alabama and Tombigbee Rivers, where was located Fort Glass and Fort Madison. He fought the Creek Indians at their “Holy City” in 1812. He served under General F.L. Claiborne from Dec. 27, 1812 as a Lieutenant Colonel until 30 April, 1813, when he was promoted to Colonel.  He served then until 28 Feb., 1814. He received a salary of $75 per month plus $12 per month for forage.  He also had two private servants paid by the government. Serving under him was a Private Joseph Carson – whose kinship is not known.

On 15 Oct., 1815, in Mobile AL, he made this claim: “I certify that about the first of November last I was ordered by General Jackson with a detachment of mounted gunmen under my command to form a junction with Major Woodruff of the Third Regiment of U.S. Infantry near the ferry on the Perdido River between Mobile and Pensacola and did form the junction with him as soon as possible he had under his command about three hundred men of the Third Regiment and upward of one hundred Choctaw Indian warriors. We were ordered to drive off all the cattle found near the Perdido River to prevent the British and hostile Indians (then in Pensacola) from getting them. I was informed by Major Woodruff that he had previous to my arrival destroyed a large said boat at the Perdido ferry with belongings of Francisco Suarez, a Spaniard by birth who then resided on the American side of the Perdido River, and that he had orders from General Jackson to destroy all the boats on that river. I afterwards destroyed conformably to said orders a small canoe belonging to said Suarez worth about ten dollars, the Choctaw Indians took of a number of small horses from that neighborhood. Some of which were said to belong to the hostile Creek Indians and some to the said Suarez, the said Francisco Suarez then and on several former occasions when I was at his house professed to be much attached to the American government, and submitted cheerfully to his losses as they were said to be necessary, but expressed his hopes at the same time that he would be remunerated for his losses by the American government —Joseph Carson.

He was appointed Attorney General for counties west of the Pearl River on 1 April, 1813, but resigned on 28 Sept., 1817 due to declining health. He appeared on the census in 1816 in Washington County, AL (Mississippi Territory Census of 1816). He died in 1817 in Washington Co., AL, and was buried in the Old St. Stephens cemetery, Washington Co., AL. Caroline C. CARSON, wife of Col. Joseph Carson, was executor of his estate. Professor William Waller Carson, who laid out Carson Station (a town on the Southern Railway) in honor of his grandfather, Col. Joseph Carson, visited his gravesite a couple of miles south of Old St. Stephens, and about four or five miles northwest of Carson Station. He visited in 1870 or 1873, and found it to be a desecrated and vandalized grave, located in a heavily wooded area. The vault next to Joseph’s is supposed to be that of his nephew, who had come back from Texas. (note- who could that be?)

His home was described as follows: “… a tract of good level land about two miles out (of Old Saint Stephens).  There is a large commodious house and all convenient out buildings, something over 100 acres clear, good part fresh land.  The land is thin but level and kindly, well adapted to cotton.  … it was occupied by Col. Carson an attorney near Baldwin’s …”.

In 1817, he had been appointed as one of the three councilors of the new State of Alabama, but when the first Council met on 7 Feb., 1818, Joseph Carson had died. He signed a will on 18 April, 1817 in Washington County, Mississippi Territory. The bulk of his estate went to his wife, Caroline Charlotte (Green) Carson. Executors were brother-in-law James Green and wife Caroline. Witnesses were Wm, Baldwin, Robert Catter, and B. George Buchanan.

He was married to (54) Caroline Charlotte (Green) CARSON on 16 May, 1814 in Adams Co., MS.  She was born in 1794 in Adams County, Mississippi. She was in Washington Co., AL on 7 April 1825. She signed a will on 7 July, 1831 in Adams Co., MS, naming James Green Carson as an only child. She died after 7 July 1831 in Adams Co., MS. The only child of Joseph CARSON and Caroline Charlotte (Green) CARSON was:
47     James Green CARSON MD, whose daughter, Katherine (Carson)
BRECKENRIDGE 
married Clifton Rodes BRECKENRIDGE, member of
Congress and Ambassador to Russia.

There was an illegitimate child of Joseph CARSON and (56) Mrs. Patsy (Brewer) JOHNSON of Pascagoula,  based on the last will and testament of Joseph Carson, previously shown above.

Joseph stated in his will that his mother resided in Pascagoula, Mississippi, which is close to Washington and Baldwin Counties, Alabama.  The question is, was his mother Jane Carson, wife of Thomas Jr. Carson, or someone unknown.  It is doubtful it could have been Margaret (Mills) Carson, wife of Thomas Sr. Carson, as she would have been 104 years old.  Also, it is believed that Margaret died in 1794 in Georgia.

2018  John S. CARSON was born in 1786 in Abbeville Co., SC. His parents are believed to be Thomas Jr. Carson and Jenny (or Jane) Carson. He appeared on the census in 1810 and the Alabama tax list in 1811 in Baldwin Co., AL. A John Carson was married to(2023) Sarah (Bates) CARSON in McIntosh Bluff, Washington County, but the last will and testament of Sarah Bates’ father, Thomas Bates Jr., does not mention John S. Carson.   The will also mentions a son of Sarah’s that is not known to be a child of her marriage to John.

1425     Joseph CARSON, Jr. is possibly the brother of John S. Carson although it is not possible to distinguish between the Joseph Carson described as follows and Colonel Joseph Carson, described above. It is known that his mother was Jane Carson, and the wife of Thomas Carson Jr. was a “Jane”.  He appeared on the census in 1810 in Tensaw, AL. He was in Baldwin Co., MS Territory on 24 Nov., 1815, and signed a petition concerning loss of livestock by his mother, Jane (Jenny) in the War of 1812. His wife was (75) Jane CARSON, who appeared on the census in 1810 in Tensaw, AL. It is not known if they had any children.  Joseph had served as a private in the First Regiment of Mississippi Territory Volunteers under Brigadier General Claiborne and Colonel Joseph Carson (kinship has not been proven) from 30 Nov., 1812 to 2 March, 1814.  He was paid $8 per month and for his horse he received a total of $146, with a clothing allowance of $23.22.  He was posted in the Washington County and Mobile areas of (now) Alabama. He appeared on the US census of 1810 and the Alabama census of 1811 in Baldwin County, Alabama (now), listed as “Joseph Jun. Carson”. On 22 Dec., 1815, he was commissioned as lieutenant in the 6th regiment, Washington Militia.

2020    Ann (Carson) BATES was listed in vital records in 1814 in Baldwin Co., AL. She was married to (72) William BATES on 12 Feb., 1814 in Baldwin Co., AL. She was the daughter of Thomas Jr. and Jane Carson.

Thomas and Jane CARSON also had another son (2019)Thomas S. CARSON and two other daughters, (2021) Sallie CARSON  and (2022) Elizabeth CARSON. Nothing is known of these children and it is possible that one or more died at the massacre at Fort Mims.

In 1819 the St. Stephens newspaper listed a letter at the post office for Margaret Carson and for Enock Carson.  In 1820 there was a letter for John B. Carson and in 1821 a letter for Hugh Carson.

In 1820, a Robert Carson was Justice of the Peace in Washington County.

In summary, there is a lot of information on the Carson family in the Tombigbee area of Alabama in the early 1800′s, but it is not possible to establish their relationships!!!!

SOURCES:

1.     “The History of Washington County, Alabama”, by Jacqueline Anderson Matte,
Washington County Historical Society, Chatom, Alabama 36518.

2.     “Frontier Claims in the Lower South”, by Richard S. Lackey, Polyanthos, New
Orleans, LA (1977).

3.     Last Will and Testament of Joseph Carson, dated 18 April, 1817.

4.    “Encyclopedia of Mississippi History”, Volume I, Edited by Dunbar Rowland,
Madison, Wisconsin, Selwyn A. Brant, 1907.

5.    Last Will and Testament of Caroline Charlotte Carson,  Adams County, Mississippi, 7 July,
1831.  Certificate of Death #4026.

6.    Military service records from the United States National Archives, Washington, DC.

7.    “Old St. Stephens Historical Records Survey”.  Compiled by Jacqueline Anderson
Matte, Doris Brown, and Barbara Waddell.  St. Stephens Historic Commission.

 

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