Thursday, June 5, 2014
William C. Carter grave marking
On Saturday, May 3, 2014, I was honored to attend the grave marking, by Capt. WYC Hannum Chapter 1881, UDC, of a FREE born, black Confederate soldier, who received a pension from the State of Tennessee; His name was William C. Carter. The ceremony held at the Baker's Creek Presbyterian Church Cemetery in Blount County, TN was attended by his descendants, many of whom learned his story for the first time. Of course, Mr. Carter was not the only free black to join the Confederacy from Tennessee, but his memorial stone reflects the words of his application: "I was free born."
Mr. Carter joined Captain Rowan's unit, 62nd Infantry Co. G, later Co. D in 1861. He was detailed for two months to help man a flourmill in Loudon Co. He served as a waiter for Col. Ashby until the surrender in 1865 in Georgia. His application is filed under William McCarter as #171 of the 267 pensions granted by the Negros' Pension Law, and was approved on Oct. 9, 1923. He purchased a 104-acre farm in 1880 in Meadow located in District 2 of Blount Co. on the waters of Baker's Creek. He died on May 15, 1930 in Knoxville while living with his son Joe and family. Other members of the Carter family are also buried at Baker's Creek Presbyterian Church Cemetery along.
I believe that Tennessee was the first state to offer the Colored Man's Pension for service to the Confederacy, and that Mississippi followed as the next state to do so. Applicants had to prove that they served honorably until the end of the War. Mr. Carter's approved application for a Confederate pension debunks two myths: 1-that there were no Confederates/Confederate soldiers from East Tennessee; and 2-that there were no free born black men who enlisted as Confederates. Many black Confederates enlisted and served. Yet, Yankee institutions continue to propagate these myths.
Brenda Hall McDonald