Carter Braxton, signer of the "Declaration of Independence"

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Carter Braxton, I

Birthplace: Newington, King & Queen, Virginia
Death: Died in Richmond, Richmond, Virginia, United States
Place of Burial: Chericoke, Richmond, Virginia
Immediate Family:

Son of Maj. George Braxton and Mary Braxton
Husband of Judith Braxton (Robinson) and Elizabeth Tayloe Braxton
Father of Mary Robinson Page (Braxton); Judith Robinson White (Braxton); Carter Braxton, II and George Braxton
Brother of COLONEL George G. Braxton, III; Mary Braxton and Elizabeth Braxton

Occupation: Merchant-Planter; politician
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Carter Braxton, signer of the "Declaration of Independence"

Carter Braxton (September 16, 1736 – October 10, 1797) was a signer of the United States Declaration of Independence, a planter, and a representative of Virginia.

Braxton was the son of a Virginia merchant-planter, and grandson of Robert “King” Carter, one of the wealthiest landowners and slaveholders in the Old Dominion. Carter Braxton was active in the Virginia legislature, "a moderate politician during the Revolution—often viewed as sympathetic to the British (but not quite a Loyalist)."

Carter Braxton urged the Brown brothers of Providence, Rhode Island, to sell him African people whom he wished to use as slaves.

He was born on Newington Plantation in King and Queen County, Virginia and educated at the College of William and Mary. He married a wealthy heiress named Judith Robinson at the age nineteen, but she died two years later, leaving him two daughters, and he journeyed to England for two years. (Two of Judith's first cousins once removed were loyalists, Christopher Robinson and cousin Beverley Robinson). Braxton returned to the colonies in 1760, marrying again, this time to Elizabeth Corbin, and represented King William County in the Virginia House of Burgesses. He joined the patriot's Committee of Safety in Virginia in 1774 and represented his county in the Virginia Convention. When Peyton Randolph died in 1775, Braxton was appointed to take his place in the Continental Congress. He served in the Congress from February 1776 until August, when Virginia reduced its delegation to five members. In that capacity he signed the Declaration of Independence, although he had previously opposed it as premature in Committee of the Whole. Afterwards he returned to the House of Burgesses, and later served on the State's Executive Council.

Braxton invested a great deal of his wealth in the American Revolution. He loaned money to the cause and funded shipping and privateering, but was censured by the Continental Congress in 1780 for his role in the seizure of a neutral Portuguese vessel. The British destroyed Braxton's shipping investments and several of his plantations were destroyed during the war as well. Braxton accumulated a great deal of debt from the war and never recovered financially. He was forced to sell his estate in 1786 and move to a smaller residence ("row-house") in Richmond. Chericoke and Elsing Green are some plantations at which he resided. Chericoke is still in the family's possession today and Elsing Green is available for tourism.

One of his great-grandsons Elliott Muse Braxton was elected to the Forty-second Congress (March 4, 1871-March 3, 1873). Another great-grandson was John W. Stevenson, who was Governor of Kentucky and member of the U.S. Senate also from Kentucky. Numerous descendants from the Civil War era fought in the Confederate Army, while Virginia census records from the 19th and early 20th Centuries reveal numerous African-Americans named Carter Braxton. Kate Horsley, an author of historical novels, is a noteworthy contemporary descendant.

Braxton County, West Virginia was formed in 1836 and named in Braxton's honor. Three biographies of Braxton have been written, most notably "Carter Braxton, Virginia Signer: A Conservative in Revolt" by Alonzo Dill. The National Park Service has also produced a biographical sketch.

For a brief time during the 1960s to the early 1980s the Waterman Steamship Company owned a break bulk freighter, the S.S. Carter Braxton, which was named in his honor.

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Carter Braxton, signer of the "Declaration of Independence"'s Timeline

September 10, 1736
Newington, King & Queen, Virginia
July 16, 1755
Age 18
Middlesex, Accomack, Virginia, United States
Age 19
Chericoke, King William, Virgiinia, United States
December 30, 1757
Age 21
"Newington", King & Queen Co., Va
May 15, 1761
Age 24
- 1775
Age 24
Age 27
"Newington", King & Queen Co, Va
Age 30
- 1776
Age 38
July 4, 1776
- 1776
Age 39
Philadelphia, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, United States

Descent Only 15 of the 56 signers have male descendants today. These Signers have no descendants: William Whipple, John Hancock, Samuel Huntington, James Smith, James Wilson, Caesar Rodney, George Wythe, Francis Lightfoot Lee, Joseph Hewes, Thomas Lynch, Jr. Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, and George Walton. These Signers have no same surname (male) descendants: Josiah Bartlett, Matthew Thornton, Samuel Adams, Elbridge Gerry, William Williams, William Floyd, Francis Lewis, Robert Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, George Clymer, George Taylor, George Ross, Thomas McKean, Samuel Chase, Thomas Stone, Thomas Jefferson, William Hooper and John Penn. These Signers have very doubtful same surname (male) descendants: Stephen Hopkins, William Ellery, Oliver Wolcott, John Witherspoon, Abraham Clark, John Morton, Carter Braxton, Edward Rutledge. The remainder of the Signers is known to have same surname (male) descendants. (Talk about being blown away when you find out almost all of the signers are part of your family's history. You sit back shake your head and wonder am I dreaming. Then you double check in disbelief wondering how that could be. What does that mean for you and your.) =================================================================== Did Your Ancestor Sign the Declaration of Independence? By James Pylant And can you prove it? Kathy M. Cornwell's "Disspelling a Myth and Finding An Ancestor," in Seventeen Seventy-Six, Vol. 2, No. 2 (pp. 69-73), tells of a family tradition that her husband's ancestor, Jane Wilson Cornwell, was the daughter of James Wilson, a signer of the Declaration of Independence. "Admittedly, there was plausibility for the claim, for descendants of all of Jane's children whom we could locate had heard the story, and firmly believed it. One relative knew it was true because his grandmother told him, and she was Jane's daughter." Her research did reveal her husband's ancestor was the daughter of James Wilson — only that he and the signer were not one and the same. Signer James Wilson, according to one source Cornwell found, had no living descendants. "Our search to prove or disprove it spanned several years," wrote Cornwell, "but at the end of the genealogical journey we found the real ancestor, another James Wilson, who turned out to be just as colorful and fascinating as the celebrated Wilson." Yet, some legends prove to be true. “I too had a family story that the Rev. Dr. John Witherspoon was an ancestor," says librarian Beatrice M. Beck. "It took three years to document this story. But it was one hundred percent correct.”* The Rev. Frederick W. Pyne’s Descendants of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence, a nine-volume series, was published by Picton Press. The author’s work incorporates data from the application files of the Society of the Descendants of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence, the Frank W. Leach manuscript, and many other published references. In 1987, the LDS Reference Unit at the Family History Library, in Salt Lake City, compiled the "Founding Fathers Project." The project encompasses genealogical data on signers of the Declaration of Independence, signers of the Articles of Confederation (1778), and members of the American Constitutional Convention (1787). The Reference Unit's objective was to identify names of wives, children, and parents. This reference is available on microfilm loan at the various Family History Centers. The film number is 1592751, item 3. However, for more complete data on descendants (up to 1900 in some cases), refer to the following microfilms: 001751: John Adams, Samuel Adams, Josiah Bartlett, William Ellery, Elbridge Gerry,John Hancock, Stephen Hopkins, Samuel Huntington, Robert Treat Paine, Roger Sherman, Matthew Thornton, William Whipple, William Williams, and Oliver Wolcott. 001752: Abraham Clark, William Floyd, John Hart, Francis Lewis, Phillip Livingston, and Lewis Morris. 001753: George Clymer, Benjamin Francis Hopkinson, Robert Morris, John Morton, and John Witherspoon. 001754: Charles Carroll, Samuel Chase, Thomas McKean, William Paca, George Read, Caesar Rodney, George Ross, Benjamin Rush, Thomas Stone, George Taylor, and James Wilson. 001755: Carter Braxton, Benjamin Harrison, Thomas Jefferson, Francis Lightfoot Lee, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Nelson Jr., and George Wythe. 001756: Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, Joseph Hewes, Thomas Heyward Jr., William Hooper, Thomas Lynch Jr., Arthur Middleton, John Penn, Edward Rutledge, and George Walton * Beatrice M. Beck to James Pylant, 4 June 2001.





William Woodruff's Facsimile

An upsurge in public interest in the Declaration of Independence occurred in the early nineteenth century. Among the various editions printed was one by Philadelphian William Woodruff, a journeyman engraver. Allegorical symbols of the new nation surround the text and signatures. The cursive signatures on the printing at the right indicate that it was one produced after Woodruff's initial 1819 printing.

July 4th, 2012 at the National Archives: Dramatic Reading of the Declaration of Independence
Declaration of Independence
John and Abigail (Adams)
Correspondence between John and Abigail Adams
Letter from Abigail Adams to John Adams, 31 March - 5 April 1776