Keeper Bio: Carter, Peter J.

Date of Service: 1871, 1879-1880

1844:  Peter J. Carter is born a slave in Northampton County, Virginia.

1870: Works as a teacher at Williams Friendship School in Chincoteague, VA. for the Freedmen’s Bureau.

1871: Served as Second Assistant at Assateague Lighthouse, VA. His annual salary was $440/year.

1879-1880: Served as Principal Keeper at Cherrystone Bar Lighthouse, VA. His annual salary was $540/year.

1880:  In the US Census in Northampton, Capeville VA., Peter J. Carter (age 36), lives with his wife Georgianna (Georgia), age 30, along with his two children and mother, Peggie, where he works as Keeper at Cherrystone Lighthouse.

1886: Peter J. Carter dies on July 19, 1886. He maintained until has last breath that he had been poisoned during a trip to Norfolk, VA.

Keeper Peter J. Carter Anecdotes:

The following is the obituary of Peter J. Carter, titled, “Death of a Colored Politician”

“Peter J. Carter, a well known colored politician of Northampton County, Va., died suddenly in that county Monday afternoon. He had been to Norfolk a day or so before his death, and was taken sick on the steamer while crossing the Bay. Deceased was about forty-five years of age, and was a man of some note among his people. He was a member of the State Legislature for two or three terms, and it is said that he made a great deal of money, which was spent as fast as it came in. We understand that his life was quite heavily insured.”

Sources: Chesapeake Chapter Keeper’s Database;;, “United States, Freedmen’s Bureau, Records of the Superintendent of Education and of the Division of Education, 1865-1872,” database with images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 14 December 2021), Peter J Carter, Mar 1870; citing Residence, Chincoteague, Accomack, Virginia, United States, NARA microfilm publications M1053. Records of the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, 1861 – 1880, RG 105. (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1969-1978); roll 19; FHL microfilm 1,549,596; Richmond Dispatch, November 17, 1873; Alexandria Gazette, July 26, 1886

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