William Carlton

William Carlton

By Spessard Stone

William Carlton, a pioneer settler of Fort Green, Florida, was a cattleman and devout member of the Methodist Church.

William Carlton was born October 1807, Sampson County, North Carolina. With his parents John Carlton and Nancy Ann (Alderman) Carlton, William moved in the early 1820s to Georgia, settling in Bulloch County, then about 1825 to Thomas County.

On December 24, 1829, William married Harriet Hendry, born March 28, 1812, Liberty County, Georgia, daughter of William Hendry and Nancy McFail Hendry. The family lived in Lowndes or Thomas counties until the late 1840s when they moved to Madison County, Florida. By 1852, they had resettled at Fort McCoy, Marion County, Florida. Circa 1870, they removed to Fort Green, Manatee County (now Hardee County), Florida. Manatee County records show that William was taxed on 750 head of cattle in 1871, 1872, and 1873.

William and Harriet were devout members of the Methodist Church. William Carlton died December 16, 1875. Harriet Hendry Carlton died May 23, 1898. They are buried in Fort Green Methodist Cemetery.

An obituary of William Carlton, which appeared in the Southern Christian Advocate of Macon, Georgia of March 29, 1876, testified of William's faith:

"William Carlton, son of John and Nancy Carlton, and husband of Harriet Carlton-whose maiden name was HendryŚwas born in North Carolina in 1807; and died at Fort Green, Manatee county, Fla., December 16, 1876(sic).
"He joined the Methodist Church in his youth and lived an exemplary life until his death. He was a great sufferer for several months before his death. During his affliction he said that though he was not afraid to die, yet the evidence of his acceptance with God was not so bright as he desired. But when death came, it found him with the wedding garment on. Some two hours before his spirit passed away, he exclaimed several times, 'O my SaviourŚmy blessed Saviour!' And just before he died, he looked up and pointed his finger as though he saw the angel band waiting to escort him to the mansions of bliss. His sister, who was standing by, said to him, 'If you cannot speak, and all is well, raise your hand.' He raised his hand and repeated three times, 'All is well.' Brother Carlton was a good man, a kind husband, an affectionate father, a good citizen. His warfare is over, his labors are accomplished, and he has entered into rest."

Harriet and William Carlton from DeVane's Early Florida History, Vol. 2, September 1979

Southern Christian Advocate, Macon, Georgia, March 29, 1876, p. 4, col. 6. The obituary has in error 1876 for William Carlton's death.

William and Harriet (Hendry) Carlton) had the following children, of whom four sons died while serving in the Confederate States Army (CSA), as did a son-in-law:

1. John Sales Carlton, born December 6, 1830; died June 29, 1862; married on December 4, 1851 Martha Jane Cason, daughter of Silas and Abigail (Langford) Cason. While serving in the CSA, he became seriously ill and while on medical leave died at Perry, Fla.
2. America J. Carlton, born June 17, 1832; died on June 18, 1834.
3. James C. Carlton, born December 31, 1833; died in 1865; married on November 20, 1856, Martha Piety Grantham. He served in the CSA and died while a prisoner of war in the Federal Military Prison at Rock Island, Illinois.
4. Nancy Jane Carlton, born December 2, 1835; died March 19, 1917, Lily, Fla.; married on February 19, 1854, Wesley A. Coker. Wesley served in the Marion Light Artillery, CSA.
5. William Thomas Carlton, born February 16, 1838; never married. He served in Co. G, 4th Fla. Regt., CSA and died February 19, 1864 while a prisoner of war in the Federal Military Prison, Rock Island, Illinois and was buried there in plot 524.
6. David Wright Carlton, born December 5, 1839; died August 14, 1858; never married.
7. Robert Allen Carlton, born February 16, 1842; died October 7, 1928; married on March 30, 1870, Emma Adelaide Harrison. He served in the Marion Light Artillery, CSA.
8. Alderman G. W. Carlton, born November 16, 1843; died March 18, 1862 while serving in the CSA; never married.
9. Mary Elizabeth Carlton, born June 17, 1845; died on May 7, 1925, Ona, Fla.; married (1) John Grantham, September 1, 1859; (2) Robert Roberts, September 3, 1865. John died in CSA. Robert served in 4th Regt., Fla. Inf., CSA.
10. Jency Adeline Carlton, born January 31, 1848; died August 3, 1851.
11. Stephen Marion Carlton, born March 6, 1851; died March 20, 1852.
12. Henry Eli Carlton, born November 15, 1854; died September 30, 1934, Arcadia, Fla.; married (1) Arianah Cordelia Wilkison, January 25, 1875; (2) Nina Daniels, June 8, 1904.

References: Milton D. Wilson, The Carlton Family Some Descendants of Thomas Carlton, Revolutionary Soldier of Duplin County, North Carolina, Polk Co. Historical Commission, Bartow, 1940s; William Carlton Family Bible, South Florida Pioneers15/16 (Jan./April 1978), p. 15; Albert and Park DeVane, Early Florida History, Volume 1; Spessard Stone, Lineage of John Carlton,1998.

This profile is adapted from the author's feature in The Herald-Advocate (Wauchula, Fla.) of October 9, 1986.

February 15, 2001; link to Rock Island, courtesy of Rev. Tom Johnson, Jr., April 2, 2002; image of obituary added June 5, 2004; photo added June 28, 2004.