The Family of Winston Marshall Carter (1868-1962)
and Ida Sue Crews (1875-1959)
by John Marshall Carter, Ph.D.
Winston Marshall Carter was born October 13, 1868 in Stokes County near Danbury, North Carolina. His early education was the practical experience of the rural farmer. "Wince," as he was known to his friends and relatives, loved the land. He was a successful farmer and hunter. Wince married Ida Sue Crews, a native of Rockingham County, on December 6, 1892. Wince was 24 at the time. Ida (June 29, 1875 - June 29 1959) was 17. Wince and Ida began housekeeping near Mayodan. Wince's tough-minded ingenuity displayed itself in a story related by Wince and Ida's tenth child, Daisy Boyd Cook:
"Papa and Mama lived in a farmhouse close to Mayodan. It was near Beaver Island Creek. A few of the older children used to work in the Mayodan Mill. When Papa heard about the opportunity, he bought two rooms from the owners of the Avalon Mill. He carried the rooms to our house on a wagon. Papa then nailed the rooms to our house to give us more living space."
(Click image at right to enlarge a copy of their marriage certificate from December, 1892)
It was at their Mayodan residence that their first child, Robert Lee Carter, was born on August 15, 1893. Robert Lee was soon joined by Mary Florence (November 10, 1894) and George William (December 31, 1895). Walter Henry Carter was born two year later on October 19, 1897. Three years later, Thomas Jefferson Carter was born (March 12, 1900).
Minnie Kate (January 20, 1902), Janie Clayton (July 3, 1903), Hattie May (January 17, 1905), Annie Sue (January 14, 1907), Daisy Boyd (October 26, 1908), Clyde Crews (June 19, 1911), and Eva Wilson (January 16, 1913: Eva died on February 10, 1913) were also born before the outbreak of World War I.
Howard Cecil Carter was born on August 29, 1914, a month and a day after Austria declared war on Serbia. Ruby Lillian followed Howard on May 30, 1916. Ruby Lillian is the youngest living member of the family today because Lena Hazel (December 11, 1917 - November 3, 1981), Jamie Ray (January 27, 1918 - February 14, 1918), and Ruth Neville (January 21, 1920 - February 1, 1920) died in infancy.
When the Avalon Mill burned in 1911 there were immediate economic repercussions for families like the Carters. Though small farming helped supply the family with much of their food, industrialization provided an alternative to farming. Marshall Field in Leaksville was another textile manufacturer that lured many workers to Leaksville. One of the first of Wince's brood to move to the more bountiful opportunities of Leaksville was daughter Kate. She probably came to seek employment in the mill, but she soon was employed at Spence Roberts' restaurant on Washington Street in Leaksville. By the end of World War I, Wince had loaded the family onto a wagon and had charted a course for Leaksville. There, the textile industry provided a livelihood.
Though the family lived in a number of houses in the "New Leaksville" section, the Leaksville community of Five Forks remembers Wince, Ida Sue, and the family at their Harris Street residence near the present site of the Eden Boys' Club. Some of Wince's children still live in the "mill houses" that were once rented, and later purchased, from the textile industry.
The large Carter family produced a prodigious number of grandchildren. Robert (and wife Minnie Gray) fathered Robert, Jr., Jimmy, Frances, Hampton, Irma, Doris, and Betty Ann; Mary Florence and her husband Clifford King produced Leonard, Hoyle, and Mildred; George William and his wife Ila Perry gave birth to Estelle, Roy, J. M., and Lena; Walter and his wife Ruby Carter produced Hazel and Walter, Jr.; Thomas Jefferson and his wife Queenie Roberts engendered Corinne, Glenna and Tom Jeff; Kate and her husband P. W. Ziglar produced Bob and Melvin; Janie and her husband John Smith gave birth to Lois and Louise; Hattie and her husband Fred Smith engendered Mary Sue, Eunice, Ruby, and Fred; Ann and her husband Roy Fuller gave birth to Mastern, Tommy, and Billy Joe; Daisy and her husband Clarence Cook gave birth to Faye and Barbara; Howard and his wife Virginia Lee Smith engendered Richard, Annette, and John Marshall; finally, Lillian and her husband Stacey Soots produced Dean, Margaret, and Sonny. Needless to say , the great-grandchildren are numerous.
As in many North Carolina households, World War I made a lasting impression on the Carters. Robert Lee and George William served their country with the U.S. Army. Both men fought in France. Robert Lee related that , "I once saw General 'Blackjack' Pershing reprimand his jeep driver for driving too slow." He added that, "General Pershing was a tall, handsome man who was held in awe by his soldiers."
Once, Robert Lee explained, he saw his brother George William ("Will") while on duty in France. "Will spent the night in our camp one night," Robert said. Needless to say, a European reunion, even for one night, must have been a welcome familial respite for two Leaksville boys.
Robert Lee reminisces about the songs he sang with his fellow doughboys while in France. He emphasized that "Over There" was not as popular as the media has led us to believe.
Growing up during the Depression, the Carter children, like so many other families, had to seek inexpensive entertainment. Playing basketball and baseball at the Y.M.C.A. was a popular diversion for the Carter boys and girls. Thomas Jefferson Carter was director at the Leaksville Y.M.C.A during the 1930s and 1940s. Daisy, Clyde, and Howard Carter were three of the good athletes in the family. Clyde and Howard played on many "Y" teams during the 1930s and 1940s such as the mill and National Guard-sponsored teams. Howard is a veritable storehouse of memorable local sports stories. He related that one of the "Y" teams on which he and Clyde played was invited to play Mars Hill College in the late 1930s. The Leaksville team piled into a car and made the arduous day-long trek to Mars Hill.
"They treated us like royalty," Howard explained. "Why, they took us to the dining hall and fed us all steak, baked potatoes, salad, and apple pie with vanilla ice cream," he recalls vividly. "But, two hours later when we could not run up and down the gym floor, we realized that we were the jesters instead of the kings," he concluded.
Another of the "Y" teams had the esteemed displeasure of playing against the University of North Carolina varsity in 1939. "We started off pretty well," Howard recalled. "Clyde hit a two-hand set," he remembered. "That was the last time we led," he concluded. A 1981-82 U.N.C. basketball tabloid included the score for the game: U.N.C. 59, Leaksville "Y" 12.
When we speak of the children, we must look back at the parents. Winston and Ida Sue Carter were surely a resourceful, adaptable couple. They witnessed the booming industrial age, World War I, the Great Depression, and World War II. To have reared a family of 17 was a remarkable feat indeed.
This article was published in 1983.
Sources: Interviews with the children of Winston and Ida Sue Carter formed the largest part of the sources for this article. The interviews were with: Howard and Virginia Carter, Clarence and Daisy Cook, and Robert Carter. Background information for the article was obtained from Lindley Butler's Our Proud Heritage (Bassett, Va., 1971) and Ola Maie Foushee's Avalon (Chapel Hill, 1977). Some of the local flavor has been captured in John Marshall Carter's Wampus Cats and Dan River Rimes (Fayetteville, 1978) and in the family tree in the old Carter Bible belonging to Mrs. P. W. Ziglar.