Monday, November 12, 2012



Thomas E. Carter 1828-1883 lived his whole life in Ohio County as did his brothers, children of John J. and Nancy (Coleman) Carter.  Thomas served in the Union Army with the 17th Kentucky Infantry Co. A advancing to rank of corporal, was captured November 30, 1864, and held as a prisoner of war at Andersonville, Georgia.  Upon release from prison at the end of the Civil War, he headed home onboard the SS Sultana.  The Sultana, a Mississippi River steamboat paddlewheeler, exploded April 27, 1865, later described as greatest maritime disaster in United States history.  Three of the four boilers exploded resulting in the Sultana burning and sinking near Memphis killing approximately 1,600 of the 2.400 passengers.  Thomas was initially listed among the dead by the Union Army.  According to the book Disaster on the Mississippi, by Gene Eric Salecker, Thomas was taken to the Overton union hospital in Memphis, Tennessee for medical attention.  Upon hospital release, family legend states that he walked back to Centertown, Kentucky.

Thomas received a pension for his military service of $16.00 per month and died of a disease contracted during the war.  At his death there were less than 120 Civil War (referred to as the Late War) pensioners in Ohio County, his being one of the larger amounts.  He never married, once was asked, Uncle Tom what made your teeth so short?  Gnawing horse bones in Andersonville Prison was his reply.  After the war he belonged to the Remus Whittinghill GAR Post 11, the Grand Army of the Republic was a fraternal organization of Union Civil War veterans. The Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War is the legal heir and represents the GAR and the Boys in Blue who saved the Union.     

Thomas E. Carter is buried at West Providence Baptist Church Cemetery, as are his brothers James Carter and  Richard Bennett Carter.  Brothers, Prince William Carter, John Walter Carter and Amsiah Carter and their parents are buried at Walton’s Creek Baptist Church Cemetery.  Thomas, James, Prince William, John Walter and Amsiah were the older brothers and all served in the Union Army during the Civil War, returning home to Centertown after their service was completed.

West Providence Church members, American Legion members and descendants of the Carter family, Helen Allen McKeown and Doug Carter, will be among those coming together to replace and dedicate a Civil War marker for Thomas E. Carter.  The ceremony will be held at 11:00 am on Monday, November 12, 2012, at the cemetery. The dedication will be performed by members of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War-Sgt Elijah P. Marrs Camp 5, Nicholasville, Kentucky.

A fitting tribute of respect for observance of Veterans Day, the Centertown Welborn Lee Ashby American Legion Post #296 and Auxiliary Unit will, as part of their membership drive, be serving lunch at Centertown City Hall following the ceremony. 

A welcome is extended to all to attend the dedication and dinner.

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