Carter Braxton, signer of the "Declaration of Independence"

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Carter Braxton, I

Birthdate: (61)
Birthplace: Newington, King & Queen, Virginia
Death: October 11, 1797 (61)
Richmond, Richmond, Virginia, United States
Place of Burial: Chericoke, Richmond, Virginia
Immediate Family:

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

Occupation: Merchant-Planter; politician, signer of Declaration of Independence
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
Age 19
Chericoke, King William, Virgiinia, United States
December 30, 1757
Age 21
"Newington", King & Queen Co., Va
Age 23
- 1775
Age 24
Age 25
Age 27
"Newington", King & Queen Co, Va
- 1776
Age 38