Carter's Family

The United States Federal Census was able to reveal a bit more of William's life and the life that he and his family led. Carter is a very common surname and as such it was difficult to find information that was accurate to who he as as a person and his background especially considering how his last name was mispelled in public records. 

Just to mention the 1870s census, it is likely that it could be Carter but there are certain discrepancies such as age and birthplace. [1]Yet that could be simply a mistake, it reveals his parents by the name of John and Anne Carter. The only link besides race and general time period is his sister's name Mary in which it is possible he named his daughter after.

First, it is best to examine the 1880 US Federal Census which reveals much about his background. He was born in Maryland and of race Mulatto. Now this is a small detail that reveals that there is a bit more to William. Mulatto is a person that is not "pure" white or black and was defined as such in the census from 1850 to 1890. [2] And his wife and children were defined by that same standard. His occupation was that of a farm hand which was possibly a product of him being unable to read or write as noted in the Census. 

When looking at the Street name, it notes Inagua yet that name is a relic of its time as present day maps do not show such a name. The neighbors share a similar story, yet there are two names that were important to figuring out the general location of his residence, that of E.E. Mason and Courtland Lukens. When researching Mary Carter, his daughter, and whether she attended school or not, Woodlawn Colored School popped up. It was in the Mount Vernon area and was evidently established by the need of a school and property was sold to the Trustees of Woodlawn School by Mason and Lukens in the sum of one dollar. [3] This school was situated near the intersection of Meers Road and Woodlawn Road on what is known today as For Belvoir.

And when we look towards the 1900 US Federal Census we can see the change in race from Mulatto to Black as well as a change in household. He was still living there with his wife Matilda, but Mary Carter was nowhere to be found and they had acquired a ward in the form of George Harrison. Of notable neighbors were the Halls, and by looking at the land deed record of when Carter's residence was sold to the Scotts, it notes Mary (now Hall) and her husband Charls Hall so presumably they had moved out of their respective residences and lived elsewhere at the time of the census. [4]

According to the census, Carter reached an age of over 50 years old and remained married to his wife Matilda until his likely death.

Woodlawn Colored School

A picture of the Woodlawn Two-Room Schoolhouse, it's first iteration which grew to be rebuilt and expanded over the years but started just as small.

[1] Year: 1870; Census Place: Providence, Fairfax, Virginia; Roll: M593_1645; Page: 365A
[2] Parker, K., Horowitz, J. M., Morin, R., & Lopez, M. H. (2015, June 11). Chapter 1: Race and multiracial americans in the U.S. census. Pew Research Center’s Social & Demographic Trends Project. 
[3] FCPS. School History | Woodlawn Elementary School. (n.d.). 
[4] Year: 1900; Census Place: MT Vernon, Fairfax, Virginia; Roll: 1707; Page: 7; Enumeration District: 0021

By Jeffrey Herrera

Prev Next