Giles Carter (1634-1701) of Henrico County (Turkey Island)

Note from WHB (May 17, 2015, Seoul, Republic of Korea)  

The Turkey Island Virignia highway sign

The Turkey Island Virignia highway sign

My last previous post regarding Giles Carter of Henrico County VA dated  January 5, 2012 (with some recent annotations. [See Return to Turkey Island: Giles Carter (1634-1700) Henrico County, VA.]

This current post begins a discussion of my (our) current thinking about Giles Carter of Henrico County, VA. Some of this is reflected in a letter to my research colleagues:

“I think we are beginning (or, at least, are on the verge of beginning) to get some deeper insights into what was going on in 17th century Virginia as it relates to some particular families on which we have spent some of our time researching.

“My sense is that we should get a better understanding of what was going on on Turkey Island in Henrico County in the 17the century, before the Randolph family (another one of my ancestral lines, by the way, having the distinction of being the earliest known (to me) mother in my maternal line of mother’s mother’s mother’s etc.) began building its 18th century mega-mansion.

“Giles Carter, whose progeny (son Theodoric with many siblings) is undisputed, is considered by all researchers known to me to have been born in Gloucestershire England. Everything else is a matter of dispute with some very sophisticated arguments to advance each theory as to from whom he descended and who he married or to discredit other theories on those subjects.

“Giles Carter may well have been a teenage indentured servant, with relatives, at least by marriage, of royal descendency. If so, his indenture occurred a few years, perhaps a decade, before a pair of Saunders (cited by Justin) came over to America.

“(There is a difference between the indentures of Giles Carter and the Saunders which I suspect we will find is important. Giles’ indenture conformed to a policy of the Cromwell’s Commonwealth. The Saunders came over when Cromwell’s associates were being hanged for high treason.)

“Now let me share with you my (current) radical thought. The Carters, Saunders, Crumps, Crewes, Sewalls et al. were involved in dynastic strategies (maybe not a monolithic strategy, but several strategies that collectively looked out for the economic interests and sought to secure economically viable positions for the younger members of the “clans”).

“That “indentured service” or “apprenticeship” positions were not lower class stable boys persuaded to trade years of labor for passage over to the new world, but devices by which the sovereign power granted subsidies (land for numbers of  indentured servants transported from England to America).

“The Merchant-Venturers of Bristol, who had suffered under the English Civil War, considered the tobacco of Virginia a game-changing event. If that is so, why not exploit the sovereign’s deal to grant land in Virginia in exchange for passage of “servants” to America.

“I am proposing that we re-examine the research on the 17th century immigration to Virginia in a new light. That we take with a grain of salt all 21st century explanations of what 17th century terms mean – indentures, land for passage of servants, even dowries and bequests.

“Instead, we consider the 17th century settling of Virginia as the concerted exploitation of “new lands” involving the sovereign power and a select number of families that have achieved power and influence over the centuries and are determined to exploit the situation to their advantage.

A corollary to the above argument of “concerted action by mercantile families” suggests that we consider wills and property transactions not just from the standpoint of nuclear families as we are used to thinking in the 21st century, but as sometimes (often?) part of dynastic strategies.

This is a timeline of documents relating to GILES CARTER.


24 APR 1635 GILES CARTER, son of Theodor Carter, Christening:  Cirencester, Gloucestershire, England


7 Apr 1653 – Virginia Land Office Patents No. 3, 1652-1655, p 192 – William Fry, 750 acres near the head of Chickahominy River, on the southwest side. Beg.g at Fleets Quarter, including a small Indian field, “being due unto the said William Fry – transportation of fifteen persons into this Colony…” First listed of fifteen is Giles Carter.

[The complete list consists of: GILES CARTER, Ralph Spendlowe, Jane Walker, Miles Noble, Anne Williams, William Brooke, Ralph Burton, Andrew Miller, Alice Archer, Willilam Hoccadie, William Fry’s wife, his three children and himself.]


May 1, 1662. John Rowen of Henrico Co. willed to Giles Carter a cow and the use for one year of a house and land on Rowen’s Turkey Island estate.
[John Rowen was the stepfather of John Price III and Daniel Price, having married the widow of John Price, Jr. Daniel Price received a suit from the will of James Crews in 1676, and married Susannah, daughter of Giles Carter, in about 1691. Daniel Price died in about 1692; and Susannah married secondly Thomas Williamson.] One of the witnesses of this will was Margaret CREWS, daughter of Daniel LLEWELLYN and considered by some to have been the wife of James CREWES; if so, she must have died before 1676. Henrico Records p 229


10 Dec 1677 Giles CARTER brings the will of Capt. James CREWS, dec’d, to Court p 143 (Index to Colonial Records [D&W] 1677-1692, Vol. 1, p 30)


30 Apr 1679 Under “an act for the defence of the country against the incursion of the Indian Enemy” a tithe was levied to fit out men, horses, and arms. Giles CARTER of Turkey Island was listed with 6 tithes. (Order Book & Wills 1678-1693, pp 38/39) p 143
[This poll tax included the taxpayer, his sons, and his servants.]


Apr 1680 Deposition of Giles CARTER, aged about 46. p 143 (Order Book & Wills 1678-1693, p 57)


28 Feb 1684 William COCKE recorded a deed for land sold to Giles CARTER. On Turkey Island Mill Run beginning at upper beaver dam

24 Aug 1684 – “Wm. RANDOLPH of Varina Parish, Henrico Co. Gent. from Giles CARTER & Hannah(X), his wife, of Parish & C. afsd. 20 pounds strl., 60 a. which was by the last will & testament of Capt. James CREWES (dated, 23 AUG 1676) given unto sd. Giles & Hannah CARTER being part of ye dividend of land or plantation at Turkey Island of which sd. Crewes died seized, wch. Tract of land or plantation is since purchd. by sd. Wm. Randolph of ye heir & exor. of Sd. Crews, decd. as by conveyance dated 24 Augt 1684. Recd. 1 April 1685 Vol. 3, p 1380 6
(Henrico Co. Records 1677-1691, p 302)
[The Avant book (p 145) gives the date as 25 Feb 1684/5, and says 50 acres.

25 Aug 1684 William RANDOLPH acquired the entire 500-acre plantation from the heirs of James CREWES in exchange for “three acres and fifteen pounds of lawful money of England.”
(Henrico Co. Records 1677-1691, p 303) Vol. 3, p 1380 6


15 Mar 1685? Deed from Wm. COCKE to Giles CARTER for 59 acres, between Wm. COCKE and his brother Jno. p 145 5

15 Mar 1685? Deposition of Robt BULLINGTON as to a game of dice in which Giles CARTER won 500 lbs. of tobacco from Chas.STEWARD p 1

4 Feb 1686 Upon the petition of Giles CARTER, one of ye surveyors of the highways, that he is ancient, weak and sickly and therefore uncapable of performing his sd. office. It is ordered that he be released and discharged from ye same. p 149 5
(Henrico Co Colonial Records, Vol. 2, p 229)
[He would have been 52 years of age if he was born in 1634]

1 Jun 1686 Payments to Giles CARTER as his legacy from the estate of James CREWES, dec’d p 146
(Henrico Co. Colonial Records [D&W] 1677-1692, Vol 1, p 369)


1 Jun 1687 The will of Wm. Humphrey decd. proved by oath of Capt. Wm. RANDOLPH,a witness thereto; & order for probat thereof granted Margarett, wife of Maurice FLOYD, ye Exectrx. therein named. Robt. POVALL & Jno.WATSON enter themselves securities. Giles CARTER, John ANOT, Robert POVALL & Danl. PRICE appointed appraisers of p. 1299

June 1, 1687. Certificate granted to Giles Carter for 800 acres of land for the importation of 16 persons.

There is no dispute that GILES CARTER of Turkey Island, Henrico County, Virginia, was the father of THEODORIC CARTER, my ancestor, and other offspring. Virtually everything else about him  – his birthplace, birthdate, parents, wife, wife’s parents, and Giles’position in Virginia society is in dispute.

Some of the disputes have been hinted at in a previous post and its subsequent notes [See ]


August 1, 1694. Giles Carter, Senr. acknowledged a conveyance of 550 acres of land unto John Cocke. Hannah acknowledged her Right of Dower.

August 1, 1694. Giles Carter and Theodorick Carter [father and son] witnessed a deed of Richard Cocke, Jr. of Charles City County to Thomas Williamson of Henrico County.


GILES CARTER’S DEATH BEF 02 FEB 1701/02 in Varina Parish, Henrico, Virginia, USA 4

2 Mar. 1701. Theodorick Carter, of Henrico Co. conveys to John Pleasants of same, for 10-000 lbs. tobo. and cask, 50 acres in Henrico Co. whereon said Carter dwells on N. side of James River, in place known as the Low ground adjoining land of said Carter ‘s father Giles Carter, decd. running along Turkey Island Run, and given said Carter by his father Giles Carter (Ibid. 270)

2 Mar. 1701 . John Pleasants, Henrico Co. to Theodorick Carter, same Co. for 10-000 lbs. tobo. and cask, conveys 75 acres on S. side of Chickahominey Swamp on place known as the Round Hills (Ibid. 271)

In the name of God, Amen, I Giles Carter, Sr., being of a weak and infirmed body, yet (blessed by God) of a sound and perfect memory, and considering the frailty and uncertainty of man’s life, and not knowing the time of my departure of life;
I do make, constitute, and appoint this my last will and testament hereby revoking all other wills by me heretofore made whatsoever.
Imprimis, I commend my soul into the hands of my Blessed Redeemer Jesus Christ, relying only upon his merits for salvation. My body I commit to the earth to be decently therein interred and for what worldly goods and possessions God hath bestowed upon me, it is my will and desire they may be disposed of in form and manner following:

I give and bequeath to my son Theodorick Carter five shilling sterling to be paid by my dear wife Hannah either in silver or to the full value thereof as to her shall seem most convenient.

Item. I give to my daughter Susanna, now Wife of Thomas Williamson, five shilling sterling to be paid as above said.
Item. I give and bequeath to my daughter Mary, now Wife of Thomas Davis, five shilling sterling to be paid as above said.
Item. I give to my daughter Ann, now the wife of James Davis, one feather bed and bolster, one rug, one blanket, and one cow.
Item. I give to my son Giles one mare called Nanny with her increase forever, it being a mare formerly given to him by William Sewell, she then being but a filly.

These legatees being paid and also any debts however shall be lawfully by me indebted being fully satisfied, it is my will and desire that what of my estate shall remain (one feather bed and furniture only excepted for my wife Hannah which I give unto her), may be equally divided to five parts, the one part whereof to belong to my wife Hannah, the other to my son Giles, it not being my intent or design in any way to hereby disannul or make void a deed of gift formerly by me made to my son Giles and entered upon record. But, I do by this, my last will and testament, reaffirm and confirm the same.

Item. It is my will and design that what estate shall appertain to my son Giles that he may retain the land where he shall arrive on by age of eighteen years and also enjoy the benefit of his labor. My wife Hannah not being any wise molested or disturbed upon the plantation we now live upon during her life.

and lastly, I make constitute and appoint my dear and loving wife Hannah full and sole executor of this my last will and testament, the which I own to be my last, all others being hereby disannulled and made void. As witness my hand and seal this 14th day of December 1699.

Giles (seal of red wax) Carter.
Signed, sealed, and delivered in presence of us: Thomas Smythes, William Sewell, James Davis.
Henrico Co., February 2, 1701.
Proved in open court by the oaths of the subscribed witnesses to be the last will and testament of the subscribed Giles Carter.
James Cocke, County Clerk.
(Henrico Co., Virginia, Records, p. 256)

December 10, 1701. John Cocke sold 550 acres to Thomas Williamson. The land was described as a parcel sold to Cocke by Giles Carter, Sr.


February 2, 1702. Hannah Carter granted probate of the will of her husband Giles Carter.
(Henrico Co., Virginia, Records, p. 279)


7 Jan. 1711, John Pleasants, Henrico parish and Co. for 5000 lbs. tobo. conveys to Giles Carter same parish and county, 94 acres in same parish and county S. side Chickahominey Swamp

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