Charles Carson

b. 22 October 1761, d. 5 October 1816

2nd great-grandfather of Louise Underwood.
4th great-grandfather of Laura Jane Munson.
Family Background:
Underwood and Allied Families
Appears on charts:
Pedigree for Louise Underwood
     Charles Carson was born on 22 October 1761.1,2,3 He married Rachel Clark, daughter of William Clark, on 5 June 1787.3 He died on 5 October 1816 in Posey County, Indiana, at age 54.1,3,2 He was buried in Dixon Graveyard, Marrs township, West Franklin, Posey County, Indiana.3,2,4 Click to view image
     Charles Carson served five years in the American Revolution and his deposition is on file at the Posey County Courthouse. The inscription on his gravestone also attests to the length of service. Charles was fourteen when the war began and was approaching his twenty-second birthday when the final Treaty of Paris was signed on 3 September 1783 (ratified by the Continental Congress on 14 January 1784). Therefore, he was no older than seventeen when he enlisted. By some accounts, he served from Virginia, but supporting evidence is needed.

     The first known Carson residence was in New Castle County, Delaware, where Charles and Rachel's first three children were born between the years 1788 and 1791. On 22 November 1793, they left New Castle County and moved to Virginia. Five and a half months later, they buried daughter Jane in Shenandoah County, and no later than 29 October 1796, they were in Washington County, Virginia, where they bought six acres of land near Abingdon, an historic town nestled in the rolling mountains of Southwest Virginia between the Appalachians and Blue Ridge. Founded in 1778 and originally known as Wolf Hills, the town was a refueling point for early travelers moving into Tennessee, Kentucky, West Virginia and the Carolinas. Not far to the west lay the Cumberland Gap, a narrow V in the granite wall of the Appalachian Mountain range. The Wilderness Road, blazed by Daniel Boone in 1775, led pioneers through the Gap and into Kentucky. By 1800 it was being used for transportation and commerce, both east and west. The Carsons' move from Delaware to Southwest Virginia, whether accomplished all at once or in stages, was probably by way of the Great Philadelphia Wagon Road to Big Lick (Roanoke), then southwest on the Wilderness Road to Abingdon.

     There was in Abingdon at the same time as Charles Carson, a Charles Stewart Carson. Both men appear in the deed records a number of times beginning in 1796 when "Chas. S. Carson" witnessed the deed for the aforementioned six acres bought by Charles. Charles S. had an uncle Charles Carson who may be the same as the subject of this sketch. Charles S. Carson never married. He arrived in Washington County about 1794 from "the head of Elk, or Elkton, Cecil Co., Md." Cecil County, Maryland, and New Castle County, Delaware, are neighboring counties. Charles Stewart's parents were James Carson Jr. and a Miss Stewart. James Carson Jr. was the son of James Sr. and Nancy Buchanan.5 Therefore, if our Charles was the uncle, he was a brother to James Jr. and son of James Sr. and Nancy. This seems the most promising lead yet to the identity of Charles' parents. However, in Cecil County, there is a marriage record for an unidentified Carson and Mary Creswell. Considering that Charles and Rachel named a son Criswell, this can not be ignored.

     Sometime after the birth of son Criswell in Washington County, on 22 Apr 1805, and before 1808, the Carsons joined the thousands of other settlers streaming into the American West looking for cheap land and a better life. Though it can't be said exactly how they reached Indiana Territory, from Abingdon the logical route was to follow the Wilderness Road through Cumberland Gap, and on to Falls of the Ohio (Louisville), then by flatboat down the Ohio River. The flatboat was the cheapest of the many types of boats used and became the standard conveyance for families moving west. All of the boats in this period were hand-powered, with poles or oars for steering, and usually floated with the current. They were not intended for round trips since the settlers used them only to get to their new homes and then broke them up for the lumber.

     Whether by destination or chance, the Carsons settled in an area that in 1814 became Posey County located at the extreme southwestern tip of Indiana bounded by the Wabash River on the west and the Ohio River on the south. There Charles was enumerated in the 1807 territorial census of Knox County, parent of Warrick, parent of Posey, and he appears in the records of all three counties. They lived in Marrs township “four miles north of the Diamond Island."

Additional Data
New Castle, the northernmost county in Delaware, was officially named in 1681, though the name had been applied to the area for some time. Delaware was the first state to ratify the new United States Constitution on 7 December 1787.

At the November session of the Levy Court of New Castle County, it was ordered that a road be laid out from the main road leading from Smyrna to Odessa, at a point near Smyrna, to Thoroughfare Neck. The road was surveyed 7 May 1780, and passed through lands at that time owned by Dr. Morris, Mary Hudson, Mrs. Dially, William Clark, Charles Carson, Isaac Daney, Michael Offley, Thomas Goldsborough, William Jordan, Edmund Edwards, Robert Appleton, Nicholas Barlow, George Ward, William Hudson, Arthur Allston, John Conner, John Bassett, Elijah Bartlett, Joseph Deakyne and Jacob Deakyne.6 Note that the children of Thomas Goldsborough were named in William Clark's will, but the relationship is not known to the writer.6

Washington County, Virginia, was formed from Fincastle County in 1777. Abingdon was established as the county seat in 1778.

Page 195. 29 October 1796. David Craig and Martha his wife to Charles Carson. $180. Six acres near the Town of Abingdon. Witnesses: C. Watkins, Wm. P. Skillern, Nathaniel Herbert Claibourne, D. Campbell, Chas. S. Carson.7

Page 224. 26 January 1797. Peter Burkhart and Margaret his wife to Charles Carson. $100.00. A parcel of land near the Town of Abingdon. Acreage not stated. Witnesses: James Armstrong, W. Greeaway, C. Watkins, John McCormick.8

Page 309. 4 October 1798. Charles Carson and Rachel his wife to Francis Preston. $75.00. Lot No. 68 in the Town of Abingdon.9

Page 309. 5 October 1798. Charles Carson to Francis Preston. $333 1/3. Lot No. 3 in the Town of Abingdon, Virginia. Witnesses: C. Watkins, D. Sheffey, Alexander Smyth, Jas. W. Craig.9

Charles Carson was mentioned in the distribution of his father-in-law William Clark's estate on 20 May 1801 in New Castle County, Delaware.10

On 20 June 1790, Knox County was formed with Vincennes as the center of government for a huge frontier territory (Northwest Territory, then Indiana Territory in 1800). This county covered all or parts of the present states of Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin, but it gained its present boundaries by the end of 1816 shortly after Indiana became a state.

On 16 July 1811, Charles Carson was was appointed a Justice of the Peace for Knox County.11

Warrick County, Indiana, was organized from Knox County on 9 March 1813 by an act of the Legislature that became effective 1 April 1813.

Charles Carson was a Grand Juror for the first term of the first Warrick County Criminal Court that met at the house of Bailey Anderson at the mouth of Cyprus Creek on 14 June 1813. Two indictments were returned, the first against John May for passing counterfeit money, and the second against Joshua Elkins for "selling whisky, or strong water," without a license. When the instrument was returned to court, a complaint was entered before the judge against one of the grand jurors who, while deliberating Elkins case, "got shamefully intoxicated and created a disturbance in the grand jury room." The Court promptly fined the man five dollars.12

On 14 July 1813, Charles Carson was commissioned Coroner for Warrick County.13

Posey County, Indiana, was organized from Warrick and Gibson counties on 7 September 1814 by an act of the Legislature. White settlement of the area began around 1800. Most early settlers came from Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Virginia and Tennessee by way of Kentucky and the Ohio River. The federal governor of the Indiana Territory, William Henry Harrison, owned the land and settlers exercised squatter’s rights.

On 7 June 1815, Charles Carson was commissioned surveyor of Posey County.14

Children of Charles Carson and Rachel Clark


  1. [S259] Tombstone, West Franklin Cemetery, Marrs township, Posey County, Indiana; photographed by Dee Wilson 1999.
  2. [S250] Tom Lindagen, "Carson Family," e-mail message from <e-mail address> (Evansville, Indiana) to Laura M. Cooper, 14 May 1998.
  3. [S249] Delores Dixon Wilson, "Carson Family," e-mail message from <e-mail address> (Swartz Creek, Michigan) to Laura M. Cooper, 14 July 1998.
  4. [S825] Patricia Law Hatcher, Abstract of Graves of Revolutionary Patriots, 4 vols. (Dallas, Texas: Pioneer Heritage Press, 1987; published on-line Provo, Utah:, 1999).
  5. [S263] Louis A. Burgess, ed., Virginia Soldiers of 1776, 3 vols. (Richmond, Virginia: Clearfield Company, 1927, 1929; reprint Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1994), 1: 604-609.
  6. [S1183] J. Thomas Scharf, The History of Delaware, 1609 - 1888, 2 volumes (Philadelphia: L.J. Richards & Co., 1888), 2: 1023-1028.
  7. [S262] Lewis Preston Summers, Annals of Southwest Virginia 1769-1800 (Abingdon, Virginia: Lewis Preston Summers, 1920), 1334.
  8. [S262] Lewis Preston Summers, Annals of Southwest Virginia 1769-1800, 1335.
  9. [S262] Lewis Preston Summers, Annals of Southwest Virginia 1769-1800, 1339.
  10. [S264] William Clark Esq. will (1786), New Castle County Register of Wills Probates RG#2545: roll 77, State of Delaware, Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs, Dover, Delaware.
  11. [S260] William Wesley Woollen, Daniel Wait Howe, Jacob Piatt Dunn and Indiana Historical Society, ed., Executive Journal of Indiana Territory, 1800-1816 (Indianapolis: Bowen-Merrill Co., 1900), 175.
  12. [S261] Edwin Adams, History of Warrick County, Indiana (Evansville, Indiana: The Crescent City Job Printing Office, 1868), 15, 17.
  13. [S260] William Wesley Woollen, Daniel Wait Howe, Jacob Piatt Dunn and Indiana Historical Society, Executive journal of Indiana Territory, 1800-1816, 198.
  14. [S260] William Wesley Woollen, Daniel Wait Howe, Jacob Piatt Dunn and Indiana Historical Society, Executive journal of Indiana Territory, 1800-1816, 230.