John R. Carter was born August, 1834, near Tahlequah, the son of David Carter, who came to the present nation at an early day and settled on the Barren Fork, Tahlequah district. His mother was Jane Reilly, daughter of Richard Reilly, a half-breed and a prominent man in the old nation. The subject of our sketch went to the Essex Indian School, near Tahlequah, at six years old, and afterwards to Reilly’s Chapel, finishing his education at the national male seminary after two and a half years’ study. In 1854 he went to California, crossing the plains to Stockton with a herd belonging to Richard Keys and Martin Scrimscher. On his arrival he went in search of gold to Mariposa, and was lucky enough on one occasion to strike a nugget that sold for $400. But he and his party being rather extravagant, they did not save any of their earnings. On their Westward trip the party had several narrow escapes from the Cheyenne Indians. They had to keep nightly watch, and their pickets were several times run into camp on the Pawnee Fork of the Arkansas. On their return homeward they took shipping, and their vessel was captured off the coast of Nicaragua, during the Walker invasion. He and his friends were sent to Greytown December 1857, from whence they returned to the nation via New Orleans. In 1858 Mr. Carter married Miss Sarah, daughter of Charles Rogers, ex-judge of Coowescoowee district. During the war he was in Colonel Stand Watie’s command, First Cherokee Regiment. He was detached as guide to Colonel McIntosh, but taking sick en route to the Opothleyoholo fight, was carried back to Fort Davis. After his recovery he fought at Honey Springs and the Bayou fight, and was the last of the rebels that saw Colonel Taylor alive. This brave man is supposed to have been killed, after capture, by a Pin Cherokee. Mr. Carter, in the latter fight, had a hole shot through his hat close to his forehead. In August 1891, the subject of our sketch was elected member of the national council for Coowescoowee district. He is now living in Sequoyah, where he opened a general mercantile business in the fall of 1888. He has also charge of the United States post office, has 300 acres of land in cultivation, 200 head of stock cattle and 30 head of horses. About three years ago, while absent from home, his residence was burned to the ground. Four hundred dollars in cash being laid away within the building, suggests the probability of incendiaries, as none of the gold could be found among the ruins. Mr. Carter is a gentleman of good appearance and address, affable and kind-hearted, but without any disposition to push himself into public prominence. He is brother to Judge Ben W. Carter, a leading citizen in the Chickasaw Nation.
Biography of John R. Carter
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