Thomas Carleton 1747-1795

Thomas Carleton 1747-1795

By Spessard Stone

Thomas Carleton, the progenitor of a prominent Southern family, was born May 10, 1747 and died October 3, 1795 in Duplin County, North Carolina. In 1769, he married Martha _______. Martha was born 1751 and died 1797.(1)

Thomas and Martha Carleton moved to New Hanover County, North Carolina. During the Revolutionary War, Thomas lived in Duplin County, North Carolina where he served as a private and was paid for his services as allowed by the Board of Auditors of Wilmington District, Duplin County.(2)

The will of Thomas Carleton, dated September 7, 1795, was probated in October 1795. It follows:

State of North Carolina Oct. Term- 1795
Duplin County

Then was the within will proved in open court in due form of law by the oath of Austin Beasley, one of the subscribing witnesses thereto and at the same time Martha Carleton and John Carleton, the Exex, and Exr. named in the said will came before the Court and qualified as such ordered that letters issue accordingly.
                         Test. William Dickson, C.C.

In the name of God, Amen, I Thomas Carleton of the County of Duplin, State of North Carolina and parish of St. Gabriel, being sick and weak in body, but of perfect mind and memory. Thanks be given to God, Calling into mind the mortality of my body and knowing it is appointed for all men once to die. Do make and ordain this my last Will and Testament. That is to say principally and first of all I give and recommend my soul into the hand of Almighty God that gave it and my body I recommend to the earth to be buried in a decent Christian burial at the discretion of my exrs. Nothing doubting but at the general resurrection I shall receive the same again by the mighty power of God and as touching such worldly estate, estate wherewith it has pleased God to bless me. In this life I give and devise and dispose of the same in the following manner and form. First, I have given unto my four daughters, Rachel, Anna, Elizabeth and Lydia, the sum of fifteen pounds apiece and unto my son John Carleton, I have given the sum of One Hundred pounds and the rest I give and bequeath unto my dearly beloved wife, Martha, all the rest of any property both lands and stocks of all kinds and negroes her lifetime to dispose as she sees fit except it be the sale of lands which is to be divided at her death between my two youngest sons, Stephen is to have this place whereon I now live on all on this side of Murross [? Murrows or Patty] Branch and Thomas is to have all on the other side of the branch at her death, and if there be any property at her death at least if there be enough Thomas Carleton is to have twenty pounds good and lawful money and if there is any left after that is done it must be equally divided amongst all my children, but if there is not property left at her death to pay Thomas Carlton twenty pounds then Stephen Carleton must give ten pounds good and lawful money unto Thomas Carlton because Thomases land is not as valuable as Stephens and I do hereby utterly disallow, revoke and disannull all and every other former testaments wills legacies bequeaths and executors by me in any wise before named, willed and bequeathed ratifying and confirming this and no other to be this my Last Will and Testament in witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal this seventh day of September, 1795. Tish Austin Beasley, John Carleton and Martha Carleton, I appoint and ordain Martha Carleton and John Carleton Exrs.

           Thomas Carleton (seal) (3)

Issue of Thomas and Martha Carleton, the surname of some being changed in their lifetimes to Carlton:(4)

1. Rachel Carleton, born 1771; married Peleg Rogers.

2. Anna Carleton, born 1773; married Hardy Gilstrap. He was born ca. 1769, NC; died 1829, Pickens Co., SC. They are believed to have been buried in Bethlehem Cemetery, near Friendship Church, Pickens Co., SC.

3. John Carlton, born April 20, 1775; died Feb. 26, 1868; married Nov. 17, 1797 Nancy Ann Alderman.

4. Elizabeth Carleton, born 1776; married on Oct. 23, 1793 Rev. Peter Carlton, her first cousin, son of John Carleton.

5. Lydia Carleton, born 1778; married William T. Mathis (Matthews). They moved to Rutherford Co., TN before 1809.

6. Stephen Carlton, born 1779.

7. Thomas Carlton, Jr., born Nov. 27, 1788; died Dec. 29, 1863; married Nancy (Anna) Wade, Nov. 15, 1804 per Bible records and April 1, 1805 per Marriage Bonds.


Milton D. Wilson (1886-1956), The Carlton Family Some Descendants of Thomas Carlton, Revolutionary Soldier of Duplin County, North Carolina, Polk Co. Historical Commission (Bartow, 1940s), has the birth and marriage of Thomas and Martha Carleton in Chester County, Pennsylvania; however, Myrtle Lamb Price has the family in Craven County, North Carolina by 1740. Wilson did not list a surname for Martha, but other researchers cite Thomas. Various Carltons allege Thomas was the descendant of a family, which settled at Rowley, Massachusetts in 1638 and later Chester County, Pennsylvania, who traced its lineage to Baldwin de Carleton of Carleton Hall near Penrith Cumberland, who was alive during the conquest of 1066. Dr. William Marion Carlton (1912-73), author of "Some Records of the Descendants of William Carlton" (August 1959), from his research concluded that there was no clear connection between Thomas Carleton (1747-95) and the aforementioned family. From the will of Richard Carlton, it would appear Richard was the father of Thomas, but it is not proven.

(2) Wilson. Wilson, however, notes: “But see U. S. Census of Duplin County, N. C. for 1810, which shows Martha Carlton as Head of family, with one female 16 to 26 years of age and one female 26 to 45 years of age.”

(3) Records of Wills, Duplin County, N.C., Book A, Page 69.

(4) Wilson; Myrtle Lamb Price, “Carleton/Carlton Family,” History of Rover and the 10th District of Bedford County [Tennessee], Volume 1, Turner Publishing Company, Paducah, Kentucky, 2000, pp. 172-173.

August 28, 2001 & links = October 16, 2001