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Mrs. Lucetta S. Carter. Political struggle, public life and social leadership have brought the names of many women in the last quarter of a century into the limelight in the country, but it is not so frequently that the name of one becomes a household word in her state, through the activities and results of a quiet business career. Such a name is Lucetta S. Carter, philanthropist, through whose generous benefactions Wichita had benefited through the Children’s Home, the First Unitarian Church and Fairmount College. To this womanly duty of enriching others, she brought no inherited fortune; on the other hand, her gifts have been made from the returns of a business directed by her own energy and good judgment.
Lucetta S. Carter was born at Enosburg, Vermont, July 11, 1828, and is a daughter of David and Ruth Stevens (Wilson) Fassett. The paternal ancestors of Mrs. Carter went from Scotland to Ireland in the sixteenth century. The real name of her great-great-grandfather was Patrick Macfairson. He changed his name to Fassett on account of some land grant. It was this ancestor who emigrated to America from Rock Fassett Castle, Ireland, in 1700. He located at Hardwick, Massachusetts, but prior to the opening of the Revolutionary war the family had removed to Bennington, Vermont. His son, the great-grandfather of Mrs. Carter, was an officer in the Revolutionary war, and is recorded as Capt. John Fassett.
The grandfather of Mrs. Carter was doubtless a man of vigor and determination. In 1800, when he decided to remove with his family to Enosburg, Vermont, he was not deterred on account of it being in the depths of a rigorous New England winter, making the journey of many miles with sleds and two yoke of oxen.
David Fassett, father of Mrs. Carter, was twice married. His first wife died at Plattsburg, New York, leaving five children. In 1815 he was married to Mrs. Ruth Stevens Wilson and five children were born to them, of whom Lucetta Stevens was the third in order and is the only one living.
It would be interesting to follow Lucetta Fassett through childhood and early maidenhood, for the energy and enterprise, the charity and loving kindness shown in her later years must have been in evidence all her life. When seventeen years of age she went to Nashua, New Hampshire, to work in a cotton cloth factory, making the stage journey, of four days and nights, alone and unattended. She had the distinction of riding on the first train of cars running from Concord to Boston. She reached her destination in safety and worked in the cotton mill from April, 1844, until October, 1848, on the last day of that month being united in marriage with Dr. Nathaniel Piper Carter, who died in October, 1868. They had two children: George Safford, who was born May 9, 1853, and died at Denver, Colorado, October 22, 1880; and Edward Nathaniel, who was born Septenber 3, 1855, and died at Denver, Colorado, November 10, 1910. Both sons are buried at Wichita.
In October, 1869, Mrs. Carter removed to Illinois, where she resided until March, 1880, when she came to Wichita. Soon after her arrival she embarked in the business of taking subscriptions for magazines and periodicals and in building up a permanent business in this line displayed remarkable commercial instincts and a grasp of business principles most unnsual. She became widely known in the magazine agency line all through Southwest Kansas and equally favorably known to the publishers of first-class literature over the country. That she was untiring in her efforts may be judged by the fact that when the Everybody’s Magazine Company, some years ago, offered a prize of $1,000 to the most successful solicitor for their magazine, Mrs. Carter won this prize.
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Mrs. Carter had been a member of the First Unitarian Church since 1888, and when she felt prepared to assist this congregation, she built and furnished the Carter Memorial parsonage. The needs of children have always appealed to her and she had been a generous contributor to the Children’s Home, the above named prise money being a part of what she had donated in this direction. Additionally she established and furnished what is known as the Carter Memorial room at Fairmount College, at a cost of some $20,000. Not the least appreciated gift of Mrs. Carter to this college was a five years’ paid-up subscription for thirty-nine magazines. During the last year she had presented cach city mail carrier with a year’s subscription to the Country Gentleman.