Nicholas Carter

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ChartsAncestors of Adele La Force
Nicholas Carter, son of Roger Carter and Ellen Rayles, was born probably shortly before his baptism at Helperby, Yorkshire, England, 4 June 1629.1 He died at Elizabethtown, Essex Co., New Jersey, in 1681.1

Nicholas married (…) Watson, whose ancestry is unknown (or not traced here), say 1651.1

Nicholas Carter was the oldest son of Roger Carter and Ellen Rayles. His identity is disclosed in the marriage register of his brother Roger who, at his marriage, said he was a "son of Roger Carter, of Helperby, and Ellen Carter, and brother of Nicholas Carter, now in New England." The mother's maiden name was Rayles, when whe was married to their father, in St. Michael's, at Belfry, county of York, 26 Nov 1627. They had a brother John, who married Phebe Foster, on 12 Dec 1647. Their grandparents were Thomas Carter of Horingham, and Ellen Wade of Alne, when they were married in 1594. They were of the tenth generation on the line from Johannes Le Carter, of Wodemanse Manor, in Beverly, Yorkshire, England, who lived in 1297.

His wife may have been related to Robert Watson of Windsor, Connecticut, who came from Holdeness, Yorkshire, England.

Nicholas was in Stamford Connecticut for a short time, and then went to Middleburg L. I. about 1652. On 12 Apr 1656, he was named among the purchasers of the town site from the Indians; his allotment was 20 acres. That year he was also on the Indian rate list for one pound, an average amount. Four years later, the town was "planted." The town name later changed to Newtown, years later to Elmhurst, and is now included in the borough of Brooklyn.

On 22 Jan 1657, he and some of his neighbors protested to Governor Stuyvesant against the town action to give an absolute deed to the parsonage to the Middleburg minister, Rev. John Moore. The governor decided in their favor.

In 1660, Nicholas and nine others complained that Francis Doughty was preventing Richard Mills, the schoolteacher and preacher, from having peaceable possession of the parsonage. Doughty had married the widow of Rev. Moore. Stuyvesant again ruled in the complainants favor.

In 1660, Nicholas was one of nineteen asking the Dutch government at New Amsterdam for some land with the privilege to settle a new town. They granted this request and the town thus settled later became Jamaica. He was still in Middletown on 10 Jul 1662 when he was among 45 signers of an agreement between them and the government on the amount of tax they would pay on their produce.

Shortly thereafter, war broke out Netherlands and Great Britain. The British assumed control at New Amsterdam, and Nicholas applied and was admitted as a freeman of Hartford, Connecticut on 12 May 1664. He is listed as "of Newtown," as were nine others, and still nine more were from Jamaica.

In 1666, he joined the move to Elizabethtown New Jersey and took the oath of Allegence
and Fidelity there on 16 Feb 1666. He evidently temporarily returned to Newtown and was listed as one of four overseers from Mar to Nov 1666. He became a
freeholder 4 Mar 1666.

Governor Nicolls granted proprietorships to the "Associates" to settle Elizabethtown and the town was started sometime between Nov 1664 and Aug 1665. To complicate the issue, Philip Carteret brought some immigrants on the ship Philip from England. He also came with a charter given by the Lords-Proprietors to establish a government west of the Hudson, and separate it from Gov. Nicolls' control.

After many interchanges of views and understandings and examinations of the various documents involved, Carteret volunteered to become an associate. The proprietors made concessions on 10 Feb 1666, and Nicholas had a right to 360 acres to bring into the colony himself, his wife, son, and a maid servant. This indicates his only child was at least 14 by 1666. Nicholas house lot was five acres, and as it was on the south side of the creek, indicates he was a man of considerable means.

There were various meetings on 19 Feb 1666 for consultation and agreement in relation to the division, or allotment, of the lands, and other regulations for the orderly transactions of town business. Division of the town plot into lots convenient for the settlers was probably made at one of the first meetings.

In May 1671, Gov. Carteret caused a stir when he convened a special court to try Capt William Hackett for illegal trading in the province, mostly at Woodbridge. The colonists felt that only the General Assembly had the right to convene a court. In any event, Nicholas was on the jury 16 May. It seems Gov. Lovelace of New York claimed that all vessels entering and leaving through Sandy Hook had to clear New York customs. Carteret insisted that to trade in New Jersey, entrance and clearance had to be done through the customs house at Elizabethtown. The jury went out three times, but finally gave up and requested a replacement as they could not agree on a verdict.

The dispute over court convening authority went up a notch when the Governor granted a lot to Richard Michell, who was one of the "menial servants" on the ship Philip in 1665. The governor was pleased with Michell's conduct and made a special grant of land to him for a house lot. Michell fenced it in and leased a part of it to George Pack for a tobacco crop. On the other part, he built a house covered with clapboard, and laid out a garden. Pack subleased on half of his field to William Letts. But the governor was not authorized to make such a grant. The fundamental agreements of 1666, made at a town meeting, agreed to by the governor, only allowed grants of land to be made by a vote of the people.

The townspeople were not pleased with the course of events and took steps to assert themselves. A group met at Nicholas Carter's house to discuss the issue and they decided to warn Pack not to plow the ground. They then called a town meeting to debate the subject. On 19 Jun 1671, they agreed that Michell could not have the lot, and that some would go the next morning to pull up Michell's fence, which they did. The principle was that Michell had never asked the town for the lot, they hadn't granted it to him, and the governor did not have the authority to do so.

The fence pullers were arrested and appeared in court 8 Mar 1672 and when asked "Guilty or not guilty?," they made no reply and left the court without giving a plea. The governor fined the "rioters", including Nicholas. But the fines were never paid since the marshal was powerless to collect since all the people were united against the governor.

In 1673, the Dutch repossessed New Netherland, and on 11 Sep, administered the oath of allegiance. Nickles Carter and his son John were among those forced to take the oath.

In 1675, the English defeated the Dutch and retook the area. Governor Carteret returned to resume his administration, and the old troubles. Since there were no definite surveys of the land, the people had to consent to the governor's grants of land. The old titles were worthless. Nicholas had applied for a survey, and so was granted 22 Oct 1675, his 360 acres in 6 parcels. On 9 Mar 1677, he bought 101 acres from John Melyn. He sold part of the tract and houselot on 16 Mar 1677. On 18 May 1681, he sold part of the Melyn land.

His land was mentioned as bordering other tracts on deeds dated 30 May 1676 (Robert Moss), 2 Aug 1676 (Roger Lambert), and 24 Apr 1677 (Edward Case).

He died in the middle of 1681 as on 14 Nov his son John was granted administration of his estate. John mortgaged the property to hold harmless as his bond in the administration of the estate.1


(…) Watson
  • John Carter1 b. bef. 1652
  • Samuel Carter+1 b. bef. 1656, d. aft. 1712
  • Nicholas Carter1 b. 1658
  • Elizabeth Carter1 b. 1660
This person was last edited on3 Oct 2014


  1. [S14] C. H. Cory, Lineal Ancestors of Captain James Cory and of His Descendants: Genealogical Historical and Biographical, Vol I Pt 2 ([New Jersey]: s.p., 1937), 332-356, further cited as Cory, Ancestors of Captain James Cory.