Wright Carlton

Wright Carlton

By Spessard Stone

Wright Carlton, a pioneer settler of Nocatee, Florida, was a Confederate soldier, cattleman, and church leader.

Wright Carlton was born September 17, 1843 in Thomas County, Georgia. Soon after his birth, his parents,Daniel Wilson Carlton and Sallie Ann (Murphy) Carlton, moved either to Alachua or Marion County, Florida and then to the Alafia Settlement in Hillsborough County, Florida where they were listed in the 1850 census. Later in the 1850s they removed to Fort Meade and then to Troublesome Creek (between present-day Wauchula and Ona), and after the Civil War to Nocatee, Manatee (now DeSoto) County, Florida.

During the Civil War, Wright Carlton enlisted as a private on April 10, 1862 in Company E, Seventh Florida Infantry, C.S.A. Soon after being mustered in, the Seventh was ordered sent to join the Army of Tennessee, with which they took part in all its campaigns, under Gen. Braxton Bragg, Gen. Joseph E. Johnston, and Gen. John Bell Hood. Wright was captured December 16, 1864 at Nashville and was a prisoner of war (his CSA pension application has he was held at Camp Chase, Ohio, but in an affidavit on October 4, 1907, in behalf of Capt. John W. Whidden, he stated he had been a prisoner at Rock Island, Illinois) until released in June 1865.

In Manatee County on March 1, 1866 Wright was married by Rev. Levy Pierce to Mrs. Charlotte (Albritton) Hooker, born September 30, 1842 in Ware County, Georgia. She was a daughter of Thomas H. and Frances (Waldron) Albritton, pioneer settlers of Lily, and the widow of William John Hooker. Mr. Hooker, a son of Stephen Caswell and Jane E. (Smiley) Hooker, had been killed in battle while serving as 2nd lieutenant of Company E. Parker & Blount in Florida, page 353, related: "One story says that he was fighting side by side with Wright Carlton when he died. Another story relates that after he was shot, Capt. John W. Whidden got off his horse to give William a drink of water. William told the Captain he was dying. His last words were, 'Tell Charlotte' but he died before he could finish."

The Carltons lived at Nocatee where Wright was a cattle rancher, citrus grower, and land developer. On February 8, 1868, he was appointed the administrator of the estate of William John Hooker. The estate, which included 300 cattle, was valued at $1,596.75. In 1873 Wright was taxed on 3 horses and 500 cattle. He was a member of the Ancient Free & Accepted Masons and the Baptist Church. He was noted for his powerful convictions and for the battle he waged in behalf of temperance, on which he wrote many articles.

On August 6, 1907, Wright applied for a Confederate pension based upon his service in the 7th Florida. Giving an affidavit in his behalf was John W. Whidden, late Capt., Co. E. On December 28, 1907, his claim was approved with pay from August 12, 1907 at the rate of $100 per annum. Reapplying under the Act of 1909, he listed his property to consist of: real estate located at Nocatee, Fla. & vicinity, $2,540; personal property, $75; cattle, horses and other livestock, $230; mortgages, notes and other securities, $100; total, $2,945. His pension was continued.

Charlotte Carlton died March 4, 1909 and was buried in Joshua Creek Cemetery.

A biographical sketch of Wright in The Story of Southwestern Florida , Volume II, page 84, states, "He settled at Alafia, near Tampa, when he was sixty-four years old and died there." In his pension application, however, he gave his address as Nocatee in September 1915. A photograph by Charles A. Moore in 1928, taken at the B.F. Welles home on East Oak Street (now the Courthouse Annex), Arcadia, showed the five remaining Confederate veterans in DeSoto County to be: Wright Carlton, Taft Langford, D. P. Paxton, J. B. Lastinger, and Dr. A. J. Holt. Wright Carlton died October 11, 1929 and was buried in Joshua Creek Cemetery.

Issue of of Wright and Charlotte Carlton:
1. Van Dillon Carlton, born August 4, 1867; died May 10, 1909; married on August 12, 1890 Junnia Refo.
2. Ida Jane Carlton, born November 16, 1868; died September 1, 1958; married on Sept. 8, 1886 Edmond H. McQuady.
3. Lawrence Napoleon Carlton, born April 29, 1870; died June 28, 1887.
4. Florence P. Carlton, twin of Lawrence, born April 29, 1870; died June 30, 1884.
5. Ella Catherine Carlton, born May 18, 1872; died October 21, 1899; married on May 22, 1890 Wiliam Gaylord Welles.
6. Carey Charlton Carlton, born August 2, 1874; died August 4, 1942; married April 16, 1905 Edna Fuller.
7. Viola Apellonia Carlton, born November 3, 1876; died November 1968; married Feb. 26, 1900 Benjamin Franklin Welles.
8. Horace L. Carlton, born ca. 1878; died ca. 1949; married Leilia Penick.
9. Harney Thomas Carlton, born September 12, 1880; died May 7, 1965; married (1) May 24, 1910 Era Dawson; (2) May 25, 1924 Ebine Kemp.
10. Daniel Harley Carlton, born September 12, 1880; twin of Harney; died December 23, 1883.
11. Kirby R. Carlton, born December 29, 1883; died March 31, 1920; married Edith L. Daughtrey.

Sources: The Story of Southwestern Florida, Volume II, page 84, 1957; Kyle S. VanLandingham and Virginia W. Westergard, Parker & Blount in Florida, 1983; Confederate pension application of Wright Carlton; Joshua Creek Cemetery, Arcadia.

This profile is adapted from my article in The Herald-Advocate of September 1, 1988 and Lineage of John Carlton, 1998.

February 15, 2001