Mary Lesey Pope (1885 - 1960) (Grandmother of John E. Durst Jr.)

My Grandmother, Mary Lesey Pope, was the daughter of Gustavus Adolphus Pope and Myra Belle Carter.
















Myra Belle Carter (1853-1926) (Great Grandmother of John E. Durst, Jr.)

We visited Maplewood Cemetary in Pulaski Tennessee, and saw the Carter Family burial area.

There are many members of the family there.

Dr. G.A. Pope and his wife Myra Belle Carter are buried together in Maplewood Cemetary, Pulaski, Tennessee, along with Myra Belle's siblings, her parents, Benjamin Franklin Carter and Cynthia Holland Rivers, and her Grandparents, Benjamin Carter and Elizabeth Kinchen Lindsay. Three generations of Carters.


The Civil War

In November of 1860, Abraham Lincoln was elected president of the United States. A month later, South Carolina seceded from the Union. The following January six more southern states seceded.

My Third Great-grandfather, Benjamin Carter, was almost 70 when Tennessee was considering secession from the Union.

"The citizens and civic leaders of Pulaski were overwhelmingly against secession. Their grandfathers had fought in the Revolutionary War to make ours a free and independent nation. We were proud of our flag and we didn't want to lose it. Many political speeches against dissolution of the United States were given . . . Thomas Martin and Dr. Benjamin Carter were against secession and their influence on the citizens of our town was widely known."

. . . It has been said that Tennessee Gov. Isham G. Harris seceded from the Union and took Tennessee with him."

Giles County, Tennessee, by James McCallum, 1876.

But when Lincoln announced plans to invade the South, "many minds were quickly changed. Tennessee seceded from the Union on June, 1861, and many of our citizens who had been outspoken against secession became high-ranking officers in the Confederate Army."

Gustavus Pope, Great Grandfather of John E. Durst, Jr. and husband of Myra Belle Carter, served in the Confederate Army during the Civil War. He enlisted with his brother in May 1861 in Company A, 9th Tennessee Battalion of Cavalry, Confederate Army. He served under Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest, and was captured on Feb 16, 1862. He was a prisoner of war for 7 months at Camp Douglas, then in Sept 1862, he was exchanged at Vicksburg, Miss. Then he was commissioned a captain of cavalry by Pres Jefferson Davis, and served as such until the end of the war, under Gen. Wheeler. Wheeler's cavalry was sent to the Carolinas. He surrendered with his command at Charlotte, NC, in May, 1865, and returned to Pulaski. He died when he was 90.

Myra Belle Carter's cousin, also named Benjamin Franklin Carter, moved from Maury County, Tennessee to Austin, Texas, when Texas was fighting for independence from Mexico, and became the 16th mayor of Austin (1-2 year terms back then) in 1858-59.



When the Civil War started, he joined the Confederate Army, and served as an officer until he was killed at Gettysberg. He was at the Battle of Antietam, and his report of the battle is here:

Benjamin F. Carter


Gustavus Pope's wife, Myra Belle Carter, was the daughter of Benjamin Franklin Carter, born 1828.

Benjamin Franklin Carter (1828-1910) (2d Great Grandfather of John E. Durst, Jr.)

My Granduncle, William Rivers Pope, knew Benjamin Franklin Carter. "He was truly a Southern gentleman of the old school, courteous to all and beloved by his entire community. Some of the pleasantest memories of the writer's childhood center around the Carter grandparents."

Benjamin F. Carter enlisted in the Confederate Army in October, 1862, as a private. He was appointed captain on the staff of Brig. Gen. John C. Brown and, on April 11, 1863, was promoted to Major on General Brown's staff, the latter having been been promoted to the rank of Major General. He served in that capacity until the close of the Civil War, and was paroled May 2, 1865, at Greensboro, North Carolina, whence he returned to his home in Pulaski, Tennessee.

Benjamin Franklin Carter, born 1828, was the son of Benjamin Carter, born 1792.


Benjamin Carter (1792-1865) (3d Great Grandfather of John E. Durst, Jr.)

Benjamin Carter was a Doctor and businessman in Giles County, Tennessee.

In "A Brief Sketch of the Settlement and Early History of Giles County Tennessee", written by James McCallum in 1876, it is written that

"a record of Giles County would be incomplete without a memorial of three of her citizens ... who for nearly 40 years filled a large place in her history; who, by their energy, perseverance, integrity, liberality and enlarged view of public policy, left their impression for good on the present generation. I refer to Thomas Martin, A.M. Ballentine and Dr. Ben Carter. No men ever enjoyed more fully the confidence of the community in which they lived, and none ever more deserved it. They were leaders in their day in all the public enterprises in the county. As prominent and successful merchants, they exercised a large and controlling influence ..."





In "Our Town, a Look at Pulaski Tennessee", it is written that

"Thomas Martin, Benjamin Carter and Andrew Ballentine are the three men credited with doing the most to make our town grow and prosper."

"Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright, for the end of that man is peace"







Here are the original writings from Pulaski about Benjamin Carter and his family:

All Pages of Interest From Our Town and Early History

Revolutionary War


Benjamin Carter was born in Sumter, South Carolina, and was the son of Daniel Carter, born 1761, and Sarah Conyers, born 1762.

Daniel Carter (1761-1844) (4th Great Grandfather of John E. Durst, Jr.)

Daniel Carter served six enlistments of three months each in the Revolutionary forces of South Carolina, the first being in November 1778, when he was seventeen.

He entered the service again in January, 1781, as First Lieutenant in Colonel Wade Hampton's South Carolina Regiment and remained until the close of the War.

Some of the major battles in which he participated include Hanging Rock, Camden, Ramsour's, Wahob, Forts Congaree and Mott, Orangeburg, Biggan's Church and Quinby. He also participated in many minor engagements. (Letter from the Bureau of Pensions dated April 3, 1929.)

Daniel's brother, Benjamin Carter, served in the Revolutionary Army as First Lieutenant, Fourth North Carolina Regiment, from Nov. 22, 1776, and as Captain from January 11, 1779, until the close of the War. He fought with Washington at all the major battles of the Revolutionary War, including the battles of Camden, Brandywine, Germantown and Valley Forge.

After the War Benjamin Carter received a grant of 5000 acres in Williamson County, TN.

From Historic Camden by Kirkland and Kennedy, page 359: "The Carter Family is one of the many once prominent in Camden now utterly vanished. Their early location was a Carter's Crossing in old Salem County, now part of Lee County. A few facts concerning the family can now be recorded.

In 1784 Joseph Kershaw conveyed Lots 635 and 636 to Robert Carter of Salem. On Lot 635 still stands an old house, probably one of the oldest in Camden, where once lived Benjamin Carter, son of Robert Carter. It will only be added here concerning Benjamin, the old Revolutionary hero of whom a full sketch will be found at the end of Chapter VII that he acquired wealth in the business of tanning products, fine leather and morocco. His vats were near the creek swamp at the terminus of York Street."

Same book, page 196: "Capt. Benjamin Carter (born 1756) for fifty years a resident of Camden, a gallant soldier of the Revolution, was at the battle of Camden. He had been at Brandywine, Germantown and Valley Forge. A native of Salem, Sumter District, he was a student at Charlotte, NC, in 1776 and enlisted for the War there. He died in Camden, January 20, 1830, at the age of 74. Commanded his company on the extreme left of Gage's line."

Benjamin Carter was an original member of the Society of the Cincinnati.   Our family is currently represented in the Society by Gustavus Adolphus Pope IV, born 1909.

Daniel's wife's brother, my 4th Greatgrand-uncle, James Conyers, was a Major with Gen. Nathaniel Greene's Southern Command of the Continental Army. 

He served with Gen. Francis Marion, the "Swamp Fox" that the Mel Gibson movie "The Patriot" is about.

James Conyers wrote letters to General Marion and to General Nathaniel Greene, which are in the South Carolina Historical Society. He is mentioned in a number of letters from Gen. Nathaniel Greene to Gov. Matthews, and also in letters from Gen. Francis Marion, to Gov. Matthews. Here are the letters:

 Capt Conyers Documents

After the Revolutionary War, Daniel and many of his brothers went to Tennessee, and settled on the 5000 acres near Nashville granted to Benjamin Carter by the State of North Carolina for service in the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War.

That is how the family got to Tennessee. When they went there, they lived on land bordered on the west by Indian territory.

Robert Carter (1731-1791) and James Conyers (1718-1784) (5th Great Grandfathers of John E. Durst, Jr.)

Daniel Carter's father was Robert Carter, born 1731 in Lancaster, Virginia. Daniel's wife, Sarah Conyers, was the daughter of James Conyers.

Robert Carter emigrated to Sumter County, Camden District, SC, about 1752. 

Both Robert Carter and James Conyers were among the original 22 signers of Camden's "little Declaration of Independence", which was published as a Presentment to the King in November of 1774. It stated:

"We present, as a grievance of the most dangerous and alarming nature, the Power exercised by the Partliament to tax, and to make Laws to bind the American Colonies in all cases whatsoever. We conceive such a Power destructive of our Birthrights as Freemen, descended from English Ancestors, seeing such freemen cannot be constitutionally taxed or bound by any law without their consent, expressed by themselves or implied by the representatives of their own election - consent which the good people of this colony have never signified, to be taxed or bound by Laws of the British Parliament in which they never have had any constitutional representation.

"And whereas we rather choose to die Freemen than to live Slaves, bound by Laws in the formation of which we have no participation, . . . "

Thus it clearly set forth the cardinal principles of the American Revolution, almost two years before Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence.

In January of 1775, the Congress of the Province of South Carolina met in Charleston, and Robert Carter was a delegate from St. Mark's Parish, and on the Committee to carry into execution the Continental Association. In June of 1775, they signed a "Declaration of Association" pledging to sacrifice life and fortune to secure the freedom and safety of South Carolina, and raised regiments and started preparing for war. The English Governor then dissolved the Colonial Assembly, and took refuge on an British ship in the harbor.


Virginia Plantars

Daniel Carter, Sr. (1700-1759) (6th Great Grandfather of John E. Durst, Jr.)

Robert Carter was the son of Daniel Carter, Sr., born 1700 in Lancaster, Virginia.

John Carter's "Date Book", written in 1858, discusses the history of the Carter Family up until 1858. It explains the relationships between Robert Carter and his father, Daniel Carter, Sr., the relationship between George Washington and the Carter Family, and the stories of various members of the Carter Family. The writing style of the day is very interesting.

John Carter of the Nest 1858 Date Book



Capt Thomas Carter, Jr. (1672-1733) (7th Great Grandfather of John E. Durst, Jr.)

Daniel Carter, Sr. was the son of Thomas Carter, Jr. His portrait hangs in Christ Church, Virginia.

Capt Thomas Carter Jr was, like his father, a captain in the Lancaster Militia, and from Dec 12, 1705, to May 15, 1709, he was continuously a member of the County Court.

After his mother's death he inherited "Barford", the Carter home on the Carotoman River where he died.

He was engaged in business for many years with Robert ("King") Carter of Corotoman.

Robert "King" Carter owned the largest tobacco plantation in Virginia in the 1700s.





Robert King Carter Diary and Papers


Capt. Thomas Carter Jr. of Barford was the "manager of accounts" for all matters of the King Carter Empire, and responsible for the management of the King Carter plantations.

He was named by the King to be the official appraiser of his estate. Robert "King" Carter's Will said that Capt Carter was "not to be questioned in his appraisal" of the estate.

Thomas Jr. appeared in Court records as a lawyer.

John Carter (1674-1744) (7th Great Granduncle of John E. Durst, Jr.)

Thomas Carter Jr.'s brother, John Carter, married Francis Ball. It is writtern that Joseph Ball, (1649-1711) was her father; her mother was Elizabeth Romney, who died in 1699. When Elizabeth Romney died, Joseph Ball remarried Mary Bennett, and they had a child, Mary Ball (1708-1789). Mary Ball was the mother of President George Washington.

I don't know what that makes the Carter side relative to George Washington. The relationship of John Carter to George Washington was also referred to in the Date Book of John of the Nest, above, written in 1858.

George is directly related by blood to the Pope side of the family, as explained in the Pope Family page.


Capt Thomas Carter (1630-1700) (8th Great Grandfather of John E. Durst, Jr.)

Capt Thomas Carter of "Barford", my 7th Great-Grandfather, was born in Kempston, Barford, Bedfordshire, England in 1630.

The Carters arrived in the Northern Neck of Virginia in 1650. Capt Thomas Carter was 20 at the time, and they settled in Lancaster County. He purchased his first land in Lancaster County from Colonel John Carter as of June 1, 1654.

Capt Carter was a captain in the Lancaster militia. During the "Long Assembly", March 23, 1661, to March 7, 1676, during which there was no election, Capt Carter was a Burgess in 1667 and a member of one of the committees. At that time, there seem to have been no other Carters of any prominence in VA, outside of those in Lancaster County. He was probably among the Vestrymen and Church Wardens of Christ Church. The old Vestry book beginning in 1739 for the combined parishes of Christ Church and St. Mary's White Chapel gives the names of two sons of Captain Carter surviving at that time, and those of his grandsons among the Vestrymen and Church Wardens, and a grandson and a great-grandson were clerks of the Vestry for a number of years.

There is apparently evidence that the father of Thomas Carter (II) was Thomas Carter I, a Major in the county militia. He is popularly believed to be the brother of John Carter of "Corotoman," and the father of Capt. Thomas Carter of "Barford." He came to America in 1635 on the ship the "Safety", and it may have been his second trip to the Americas, the first being in 1621. Thomas Carter who arrived on the Safety in 1635 was, in all probability, the brother of John Carter who had shared the same voyage. Col. John Carter was the father of Robert "King" Carter.

The Bible of Capt. Thomas Carter (II) is on display at the Virginia Historical Society.

Here's the contents of the Bible:

Bible Records - TCarter


The William & Mary Quarterly has extensive scholarly writings about Thomas Carter:

All Articles by Miller on Carter Genealogy  

Capt. Thomas Carter married Katherine Dale, born 1649 in Prestwould, Leicestershire, England.

Major Edward Dale (1620-1695) (9th Great Grandfather of John E. Durst, Jr.)

Katherine Dale's father, Major Edward Dale, was the Clerk of the Court of Lancaster County. Capt. Thomas Carter's Bible entry says, in Capt Thomas Carter's handwriting:

"Mr. Edw. Dale Departd this life on ye 2 Day Feb 1695 and Mrs. Diana Dale on ye last day of July. (Latin omitted). He descended from an Ancient Family in England and came into ye Colly of Virga after the Death of his Unhappy Master Charles First. For above 30 years he enjoyed various Employments of Public Trust and in ye Coty of Lancaster wch he Dischred wth great Fidelity & Satisfacn. to the Governor & People. As neighbor-Father-Husband he Excelleds and in early yeares Crownd his other Accomplishments by a Felicitous Marraige wth Diana ye daughter of sr Henry Skypwith of Preswold in ye Coty of Leicester Cart who is left a little while to Mourn him."

Diana Skipwith (1621-1694) (9th Great Grandmother of John E. Durst, Jr.)

Major Dale married Diana Skipwith, born 1621 in Prestwould, Leicestershire, England.

Capt. Thomas Carter said that "Edward Dale ... descended from an Ancient Family in England". His wife (my 9th Great Grandmother), Diana Skipwith, is a recognized "Gateway Ancestor" to the Baronial Order of the Magna Charta. That family history is discussed below at more length.


Secretary of the Jamestown Colony in Virginia

My 2d Great Grandmother, Cynthia Holland Rivers, was the wife of Benjamin F. Carter. On her side, her 6th Great-grandfather was William Claiborne.

William Claiborne (1587-1676) (10th Great Grandfather of John E. Durst, Jr.)

William Claiborne came to Jamestown Virginia with Gov. Wyatt in 1621, hired by the Virginia Company as a surveyor. He was made Secretary of the Jamestown Colony, and was a member of the Council at various intervals from 1627 to 1660. On April 16, 1642 the King appointed him Treasurer for life, although he didn't serve that long. There are records of him commanding an expedition against the Indians in 1629, and again in 1644. According to historian Robert Brenner, "William Claiborne may have been the most consistently influential politician in Virginia throughout the whole of the pre-Restoration period".

Anyone who has read "Love and Hate in Jamestown" will understand the hardships the settlers in the Jamestown settlement suffered. To survive 89 years, like Claiborne did, is nearly miraculous.


Barons of the Magna Charta

Henry Skypwith (1598-1658) (10th Great Grandfather of John E. Durst, Jr.)

Diana Skipwith's father was Henry Skypwith, who was born in 1598 in Prestwould, Leichestershire England. 

Charles Warner, one of the senior genealogists of The Carter Society in Virginia, is a member of the Baronial Order of the Magna Charta. Members of the Carter Society related to Thomas Carter are all eligible to join. 

It is a group composed of members who can prove descendency from one of the 25 Sureties who were responsible for holding King John to the terms of the Great Charter he signed on June 15, 1215 at Runnymede Meadow in England.

The Magna Charta resulted from the peace made between King John of England and about sixty of his rebelling barons in 1215. The King and his party met the barons on 15 June in a meadow known as Runnemede next to the Thames River. After several days of face-off discussions on the 19th the document language was agreed upon.

The "Great Paper" required King John of England to proclaim certain rights, mainly of his barons, and respect certain legal procedures.  The Magna Charta required the King to provide religious freedom, due process, legal courts, trial by peers, proportionate punishment, and habeas corpus.

It established the Great Council, which consisted of Archbishops, Bishops, Earls and Greater Barons.  The kingdom was required to seek the common consent of the Great Council. 

The barons elected 25 of their number to be "Sureties", holding title to a few of the King's properties, including the Tower of London, to guarantee the King's compliance with the laws and liberties of the Magna Charta.

This was the first of the efforts of the "People" to put limits on kingly (and hence, by later extension, governmental) authority. It gave explicit rights to the "ruled".   From the time of its issue, the Magna Charta became a symbol of freedom to the barons and people alike, and kings during succeeding centuries were expected to affirm it.

The Magna Charta led to the English and later the United States Constitutions. It gave protection to the rights of the nobles and common citizens alike to be free of arbitrary actions against their persons or property by their sovereign. It has come to be recognized as the first cornerstone of liberty and justice in the western world.

It is the well-spring of modern concepts of free speech, free association, the right to petition the government for redress of grievances, the right of due process, the right to a public and impartial trial by our peers, the right to travel freely in times of peace.

The overriding principle it established is that even the sovereign is subject to the law of the land. The Constitution of the United States of America refers specifically to the Magna Charta in section nine, amendments one, five, six, and eight, and implication is made in both documents to "No taxation without representation".


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