The Wives and Children of Dominicus Carter - A Research Study
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Dominicus Carter was a polygamist. Among his descendants, much is made of Dominicusâ nine wives -- my mother used to tell us how he had nine houses all next to each other in Provo, but that's fiction! His first wife Lydia died before he ever married a second wife, and Sophronia died before he came west and did all the marrying he did in Utah. Three others (Sylvia Meacham, Caroline Hubbard, and Eliza Babcock) chose to leave. So the truth is that he never had more than five wives simultaneously, and that for only 2-3 years. During most of the Provo years he lived with four wives: Mary Durfee, Polly Miner, Elizabeth Brown and Fannie Nash. At his death all four of those extraordinary women were at his bedside.
There are a couple of sources regarding his numerous children. First, there is "a Xerox copy of a typewritten copy of a handwritten copy of what purported to be an exact copy of Uncle Dominicus Carter's records.â That list is transcribed on pages 101 and 102 of the book âCarter Pioneers of Provo Utahâ by Arthur D. Coleman, but he took âthe liberty to insert in parenthesis additional names and dates as copied fromâŠvarious family group sheets.â Arthur Colemanâs edited list had 52 children. But he famously made some egregious errors that have caused much confusion since the publication of the book. I have taken the liberty of scanning his version of the list and erasing all of the information included in parenthesis, so that we can see what purports to be Dominicusâ original list. The result is shown above.
There are 44 names and 47 birthdates. The list does NOT name mothers.
The 26 August 1847 date with no name is Sophroniaâs unnamed child.
I suspect that Arthur Coleman inserted the second 22 January 1859, forgetting the parenthesis, to fit a mistaken belief that there were two Ezras, born a day apart.
I also suspect that Arthur Coleman inserted the 26 May 1865 date, forgetting the parenthesis, to fit his mistaken belief that there were two Nellies, one born 28 May 1863 and one born 26 May 1865. Note that Phoebe was born 26 May 1862.
Dominicusâ granddaughter Hannah Clark Pike wrote a history of her grandfather. By her count, he had "46 children, 17 of whom preceded him in death, 87 grandchildren and 41 great grandchildren." She didnât give a list; she just gave the number 46. Dominicusâ obituary also gives the number 46.
Hannah Clark Pike said that 17 children preceded him in death. I count 16: Arlytia, Barrett, Sarah Emily, Lydia Ann, Isaac Morley, Wilford, Cornelia, Marion, Sophronia's baby, Harriett, Seth, Ann, Ruth, Ilus, Nellie Ann, and Alfred. If we count Mary Ann (whose existence I question) there are 17.
The following is my own attempt to document his children. I have spent some time dissecting the mistakes in the Carter Pioneers book and studying the "Xerox copy of a typewritten copy of a handwritten copy of what purported to be an exact copy of Uncle Dominicus Carter's records.â Funny thing â that list has one or two mistakes too. Either Dominicus had trouble keeping track of his own children, or there were typos when the âexact copyâ or the âtypewritten copyâ or Arthur Colemanâs transcription were made.
For each child I also searched for online historical records which named parents. I was successful much of the time but not all the time, as there are no records for many of the children who died during or prior to the early Utah period. By my count he had 46 children, the same number that Hannah Clark Pike gave. Of course, I could be wrong. I welcome your comments and your documented corrections to this list!
In the list below, the number before each childâs name is his or her birth order. You should notice that more than once there were children born a day apart, and on one occasion Mary Durfee and Caroline Hubbard both gave birth on the same day.
DOMINICUS CARTER'S WIVES AND CHILDREN
Married 11 May 1828 at Newry, Oxford, Maine. She was the wife of his youth. She died in Far West 23 Oct 1838 twenty-one days after they had arrived there from Kirtland, and only four days before Governor Boggs issued his Extermination Order.
Her children (She was Dominicusâ only wife when these children were born):
CHILD # 1. Arlytia Long Carter â female Born 18 May 1829 Newry, Oxford, Maine. Died 4 June 1854.
CHILD # 2. Lucinda McKenney Carter â female Born 14 Jan 1831 Newry, Oxford, Maine. Died 26 Jan 1904.
CHILD # 3. Barrett Carter â male Born 10 Jan 1833 Newry, Oxford, Maine. Died young.
CHILD # 4. Sidney Rigdon Carter â male Born 30 Aug 1834 Newry, Oxford, Maine. Died 10 Nov 1912.
CHILD # 5. Sarah Emily Carter â female Born 11 May 1836 Geauga, Ohio. Died 11 Aug 1838.
CHILD # 6. Lydia Ann Carter â female Born Feb 1838 Kirtland, Geauga, Ohio. Died 8 Dec 1853.
SYLVIA AMERETTA MEACHAM
Married 23 March 1839. Logic tells us that Sylvia was Dominicusâ 2nd wife and she was not a plural wife. Why? First, there is a county marriage record, and our Illinois polygamists did not go down to the county offices to record their plural marriages. Second, Brigham Young took his first plural wife in 1842, and the revelation on plural marriage (D&C 132) wasnât recorded until 12 July 1843. I donât think that Dominicus Carterâs polygamy would have preceded Brigham Youngâs polygamy! Sylvia and Dominicus were divorced between 1845 when son Isaac Morley Carter was born, and 1855 when she married her 2nd husband. I think she was divorced from him by 1846 â her Nauvoo temple record of 21 Jan 1846 has her surname Mecham (the record used a womanâs married name if she was married). In the 1850 census she is with her mother in Winter Quarters and going by her maiden name. She married her 2nd husband John Snider in 1855 and they had two children together. She died in Park Valley 24 May 1894.
Her children with Dominicus:
CHILD # 7. Erastus Francis Carter â male Born 24 January 1843 Adams, Illinois. Died 26 Nov 1912. Burial record names parents.
CHILD # 8. Isaac Morley Carter â male. Family records have his birth 2 June 1851 on the plains. However, his death is reported in the Nauvoo Neighbor Wednesday, September 3, 1845, page 3: âIsaac Morley Carter, 3 m; canker.â This puts his birth about 2 June 1845 in Nauvoo, and death September 1845 in Nauvoo.
Family records has the marriage date 2 January 1844 in Nauvoo. Maryâs 22 Dec 1845 Nauvoo temple record gives her surname as Carter - her married name. Note that her first child wasnât born until 1848. Mary stayed with Dominicus until his death in 1884 and died in Provo the following year.
CHILD # 10. Wilford Carter â Wilford is not included on Dominicusâ original list of his children. But neither is the child that Sophronia Babcock lost about the same time. This was a hard time for keeping records. Wilford Carterâs death is recorded in the 1850 US Census Mortality Schedule, which records deaths âduring the year ending 1st June, 1850.â The schedule records his death as April, age 4/12. Assuming this refers to April 1850, his birth would be about December 1849. There are several problems here. All sources agree that daughter Mary Jane was born June 1850, which is only 6 months after December 1849. The book âCarter Pioneers of Provo Utahâ has Wilfordâs birth 13 May 1848, and death 23 Apr 1849 â that puts his age at 11 months instead of 4 months. The Carter book's source appears to be family group records submitted by the descendants of Mary Durfee. Wilford is not found in the lists of deaths at the Winter Quarters Project website, but their lists are acknowledged to be very incomplete. The upshot is that the only thing Iâm sure of is that the Mortality Schedule proves his existence. I kind of wonder if Mary Durfee Carter was thinking of the previous year when she said he died in April, but that doesnât explain the age discrepancy. Anyway, considering all this, I tend to use the dates from the Carter book, understanding that they could be wrong.
CHILD # 11.Mary Jane Carter â female Born 4 June 1850 Kanesville, Pottawattamie, Iowa. Died 1 Nov 1938. Death certificate names parents.
CHILD # 12.George Dominicus Carter â male Born 15 June 1852 Provo, Utah, Utah. Died 7 Dec 1922. Death certificate names parents.
CHILD # 14.Edmund Durfee Carter â male Born 2 March 1854 Provo, Utah, Utah. Died 28 March 1915. Listed with mother Mary Durfee in the 1870 census, in which each wife has her own house.
CHILD # 18.James Chauncey Carter â male Born 27 March 1856 Provo. Died 21 Oct 1921. Death certificate names parents.
CHILD # 22.Heber Kimball Carter â male Born 22 Jan 1859- Provo, Utah, Utah. Died 14 Aug 1926. Marriage record, death record name parents. (Note the Carter Book has a twin brother Ezra Carter born and died 22 Jan 1859 to Mary Durfee, but that child is not included on Dominicus' list of his children. This confusion probably comes from the fact that Mary Durfee gave birth to her son Heber Kimball Carter on 22 January 1859, the day before Elizabeth Brown gave birth to her son Ezra Carter on 23 January 1859. For some reason these births one day apart got muddled over the generations, and the Carter book has Mary Durfee giving birth to twins Heber and Ezra on 22 Jan 1859. Balderdash.)
CHILD # 26.Warren Carter â male Born 8 May 1860 Provo. Died 9 Jan 1922. Death record names parents.
CHILD # 30.Phoebe Carter â female Born 26 May 1862 of Provo. Died 1 Sep 1930. Death record names parents.
CHILD # 35. Cornelia Carter â female Died 27 Aug 1867. Buried in Provo City Cemetery block 4, lot 13. The cemetery record names her parents Dominicus Carter & Mary. Age at death is not given. Cornelia is not in any of the other sources, but I believe that this is the same child that the Carter Pioneer book names Amelia and incorrectly attributes to Sylvia Meacham. Amelia is on Dominicusâ list of children. The list gives her birth date as 18 Dec 1867. Then on page 159 of the Carter book is information from a family group record for Sylvia Meacham, with no source provided. This entry reads: "Amelia Carter b 18 Dec 1866 died young.â But Sylvia Meacham had been married to John Snider for more than 10 years by this time and CANNOT be the mother. If Cornelia and Amelia are one and the same, her birth date was probably 8 Dec 1866, as 8 Dec 1867 is after the documented burial of 27 Aug 1867. A birth of 18 Dec 1866 works, assuming that the next child Charles Henryâs birth year of 1868 as given on his death certificate is correct.
CHILD # 37. Charles Henry Carter â male Born 17 Feb 1868 Provo, Utah, Utah. Died 14 Feb 1928. Enumerated with his mother Mary Durfee Carter for the 1870 & 1880 censuses. His birth is given as 17 February 1867 on Dominicusâ list, but his death certificate has 1868. In the 1880 census he is 2 years old (having already had his birthday) which makes me think 1868 is correct.
CHILD # 42. Marion Carter â male Born 6 Feb 1870 Provo, Utah, Utah. Died March 1874. Listed with his mother Mary Durfee in the 1870 census, in which each wife has her own house. Note he is listed as female in that census, but his LDS Church membership record has his gender male.
QUESTIONED CHILD??? Mary Ann Carter (Challenged) Many Family Group Records attribute another child to Mary Durfee named Mary Ann, born about 1872/1873, died 16 May 1879. There is nothing in the historical record to support the existence of this child, and I personally think this looks like a mistake. My reasons:
*First, she's not on Dominicusâ list â but there are a few children who died young that weren't on his list.
*Second, Mary Durfee was 43 years old in 1872/1873. Not impossible, but a little old.
*Third, there is no burial record for this child â but then there isnât one for Marion either.
*Fourth, there is no LDS Church membership record for her, while there is one for brother Marion, who was born four years earlier and lived a shorter life.
*Fifth, Sidney Rigdon Carter, son of Dominicus & Lydia Smith, had a daughter named Mary Ann who was born 1862 and died 15 April 1881. Maybe whoever first attributed this child to Dominicus and Mary Durfee was confused with this child?
I donât know who first added this child to Mary Durfeeâs family, and the jury is out on whether she existed.
Family records have the marriage date November 1838, a month after first wife Lydiaâs death. But I seriously doubt the correctness of this date, and here's why: First, because there is a county marriage record for Dominicusâ March 1839 marriage to Sylvia Meacham, something there would not be if Sylvia were a plural wife. (Our Illinois polygamists did not march down to the county record office to record their plural marriages.) Secondly, consider that Brigham Young's first known plural marriage was in 1842. Was Dominicus Carter really practicing polygamy before Brigham Young? I think not. Thirdly, Sophronia had no children until 1847, when she died in childbirth. Finally, there are Nauvoo temple records for Sophronia and her sister Eliza recorded 10 January 1846. As far as I can see, the Nauvoo temple record recorded the womanâs married name if she was married. Mary Durfeeâs record of 22 Dec 1845 gives her surname as Carter. Hannah Knight Libby Carterâs record of 7 February 1846 has her surname as Carter. All of my female relatives who I can find in that record were recorded with their married name if they were married. But Sophronia and her sister Eliza both have their surnames recorded as Babcock â their maiden name â in their records of 10 January 1846. So, as I read that record, when Sophronia and Eliza Babcock woke up the morning of 10 January 1846, they were both unmarried women. And when did they marry? Well, Dominicus Carterâs LDS Church membership record, as seen in the IGI, showed a marriage to Sophroniaâs sister Eliza Babcock on 10 January 1846, the same day of the sistersâ Nauvoo temple records. (His membership record only showed three of his wives, and only this one marriage date.) I canât help but believe that Sophronia also married Dominicus on that day. Or maybe Iâm wrong and she was married to him sometime before January 1846. But I seriously doubt that Dominicus was already married to Sophronia when he walked into the Sangamon county office and recorded his marriage to Sylvia Meacham. At any rate, this dear woman Sophronia died in childbirth on 26 Aug 1847. Family record give her death place as on the plains between Nauvoo and Winter Quarters, but it is documented that she is buried in Carterville Cemetery. (Souce is an excerpt from the Life History of Nancy Naomi Alexander Tracy Written by Herself, seen in the "Life of Hannah Cordelia Mecham," written by Robert E. Givens. Seen at FamilySearch: https://familysearch.org/photos/stories/85415. She states that "Dominicus Carter also buried a wife there [Carterville Cemetery], and before we left this place there was quite a little burying ground.") Carterville was a thriving settlement in the Winter Quarters settlements. The Carterville Cemetery was recently located in what is now farmland.
CHILD # 9. Unnamed child â unknown gender Born and died 26 Aug 1847 near Kanesville, Pottawattamie, Iowa. This child is in the system with both genders, but the gender is unknown.
Sophroniaâs sister. Dominicus Carterâs LDS Church membership record, as seen in the IGI, showed a marriage date to Eliza Babcock 10 January 1846. The date fits, as she has a Nauvoo temple record for that very date. The marriage didn't last very long though, and the following year in the Winter Quarter Ward Membership Lists she is recorded as Eliza Babcock and is living with her mother. There were no children with Dominicus Carter. She was in two pioneer wagon companies and her last name was given as Babcock both times. (Interesting note â she started out with the Brigham Young Company in 1847 but broke her collar bone and had to return to Winter Quarters. She completed the trip in 1853.) It is said that Eliza was also one of Brigham Youngâs plural wives, though they divorced - and she does show up on lists of Brigham Youngâs wives. She later married a man by the name of John Groves and died in childbirth in 1868. She is buried in the Paupersâ area in Salt Lake City Cemetery.
Family records have their marriage 4 October 1851. Polly stayed with Dominicus until his death. After Dominicus' death, she married David Garner, and he died in 1889. Polly died in Provo in 1896.
CHILD # 13 Frances Miner Carter â female Born 17 May 1853 Provo, Utah, Utah. Died 30 Dec 1935. Death certificate and obituary name her parents Dominicus Carter & Polly Miner.
CHILD # 16. Harriett Carter â female Born 27 Nov 1855 Provo, Utah, Utah. Died 4 Oct 1856. Newspaper death notice names her parents Dominicus and Polly Carter. Note the Carter Pioneer book gives another (unsourced) version of Harriet (born the same date) with Sylvia Meacham as her mother. However, by 1855 Sylvia Meacham had been divorced from Dominicus Carter for about a decade and was married to her 2nd husband John Snider.
CHILD # 20. Polly Ann Carter â female Born 28 Dec 1857 Provo, Utah, Utah. Died 24 Aug 1931. Death certificate names her parents.
CHILD # 25. Albert Miner Carter â male Born 10 Feb 1860 Provo, Utah, Utah. Died 28 Jan 1929. Death certificate names his parents.
CHILD # 29. Tamma M. Carter â female Born 25 May 1862 Provo, Utah, Utah. Died Dec 1862. Tamma's name appears on Dominicus' list of his children with the birth date 25 May 1861. The record of the children of Polly Miner (page 216 in the Carter book) has birth date 25 May 1862 and death Dec 1862. No burial record is found for her.
CHILD # 34. Alma Miner Carter â male Born 20 Dec 1865 Provo, Utah, Utah. Died 17 Oct 1939. Enumerated in the household of his mother Polly Miner for the 1870 & 1880 censuses.
CHILD # 36. Seth M. Carter â male Born 10 Jan 1867 Provo, Utah, Utah. FamilySearch has a death date of 4 March 1869, source is probably family records. I have never found a death or burial record.
CHILD # 43. Joseph William Carter â male Born 6 July 1870 Provo, Utah, Utah. Died 16 Aug 1941. Death certificate and obituary both name his parents.
Married 20 June 1852. She stayed with Dominicus until his death and never remarried. She died 11 October 1915. (Note family records and the tombstone have her death 9 September 1914, but her obituary and the Provo Cemetery Sexton's record are clear that she died 11 October 1915.)
CHILD # 15. Enos Carter â male Born 28 March 1854 Provo, Utah, Utah. Died 7 Feb 1938. His name and birth date are on the list that Elizabeth Brown Carter made of her own children (Carter Pioneer book, page 226). Enos' death record names his parents Dominicus Carter & Elizabeth Brown.
CHILD # 17. Mariah Carter â female Born 27 Feb 1856 Provo, Utah, Utah. Died 12 Sep 1907. Her name and birth date are on the list that Elizabeth Brown Carter made of her own children (Carter Pioneer book, page 226). Death certificate names her parents.
CHILD # 23. Ezra Carter â male Born 23 Jan 1859 Provo, Utah, Utah. Died 6 June 1902. His name and birth date are on the list that Elizabeth Brown Carter made of her own children (Carter Pioneer book, page 226). Burial record and obituary name his parents Dominicus Carter & Elizabeth Brown. Note the Carter Book has a second Ezra Carter born and died 22 Jan 1859 to Mary Durfee, but that child is not included on Dominicus' list of his children. This attribution to Mary Durfee probably comes from the fact that Mary Durfee gave birth to her son Heber Kimball Carter on 22 January 1859, the day before Elizabeth Brown gave birth to her son Ezra Carter. For some reason these births one day apart got muddled over the generations, and the Carter book has Mary Durfee giving birth to twins Heber and Ezra on 22 Jan 1859. Balderdash.
CHILD # 27. Hannah Libby Carter â female Born 29 Jan 1861 Provo, Utah, Utah. Died 9 Jan 1938. Her name and birth date are on the list that Elizabeth Brown Carter made of her own children (Carter Pioneer book, page 226).
CHILD # 32. John F. Carter â male Born 2 Oct 1863 Provo, Utah, Utah. Died 17 March 1953. His name and birth date are on the list that Elizabeth Brown Carter made of her own children (Carter Pioneer book, page 226). Death certificate names his parents.
CHILD # 38. Ann Carter â female Born 28 Feb 1867 Provo, Utah, Utah. Died 16 May 1867. Her name and birth date are on the list that Elizabeth Brown Carter made of her own children (Carter Pioneer book, page 226). Burial record names her parents.
CHILD # 41. Ruth F. Carter â female Born 10 March 1869 Provo. Her name and birth date are on the list that Elizabeth Brown Carter made of her own children (Carter Pioneer book, page 226). Her LDS Church membership record gives her death date as 5 May 1881, the same date as her brother Ilas. The problem is, there was a newspaper notice about Ilasâ death and if she had died on that date too, the article would certainly have reported both deaths. Perhaps there was a mistake made on her membership record. In Elizabeth Brownâs autobiography she stated that she buried two of her children, and there are documented burials for Ann and Ilus. It is unclear to me what happened to Ruth. The Carter book says she died young.
CHILD # 44. Ilus Carter â male Born 5 Jan 1871 Provo, Utah, Utah. Died 5 May 1881. His name and birth date of 5 January 1871 are on the list that Elizabeth Brown Carter made of her own children (Carter Pioneer book, page 227). His birth date given on Dominicusâ list is 10 Sep 1865, but the birth date on his LDS Church membership record, his burial record and on the newspaper death notice agree with Elizabeth Brownâs date of 5 Jan 1871. His newspaper death notice and burial record both name his parents.
CAROLINE MARIAH HUBBARD
Married 20 October 1854. She had two children with Dominicus and divorced him. She married next William Beatty and they had one son. She later married Amos Fenstermaker and had several children with him. She died 2 October 1907 in Salt Lake County.
Her children with Dominicus:
CHILD # 19. Willard Richard Carter â male Born 27 March 1856 Provo, Utah, Utah. Died 2 Dec 1941. Death certificate names his parents.
CHILD # 21. Clara Melissa Carter â female Born 23 Oct 1858 Provo. Died 13 Oct 1948. Death certificate names her parents.
FRANCES "FANNY" NASH
Married 6 January 1857. She stayed with Dominicus until his death. In 1890 she married William Davis. She died 16 May 1908 in Provo.
CHILD # 24. Franklin Richard Carter â male Born 20 Sep 1859 Provo, Utah, Utah. Died 10 May 1932. His name and birth date are on the list that Fanny Nashâs mother kept of Fannyâs children. Death certificate names his parents.
CHILD # 28. Frances Elizabeth Carter â female Born 27 Sep 1861 Provo, Utah, Utah. Died 25 Jan 1906. Her name and birth date are on a list that Fanny Nashâs mother kept of her daughterâs children.
CHILD # 33. Louisa Carter â female Born 6 Apr 1865 Provo, Utah, Utah. Died 21 Nov 1939. Her name and birth date are on the list that Fanny Nashâs mother kept of Fannyâs children. Her death certificate names her parents.
CHILD # 39. Alfred Carter â male Born 12 June 1867. Died 19 Nov 1867. Alfredâs name and birth date are on the list that Fanny Nashâs mother kept of Fannyâs children. Provo City Cemetery Burial Record names his parents Dominicus & Fanny Carter. Note some records in FamilySearch have his mother Elizabeth Brown. On page 226 of the Carter book is Elizabeth Brown's autobiography. In it she lists all of her children (including those who died young), and Alfred is not among them.
CHILD # 40. Samuel Carter â male Born 25 or 27 Nov 1868 Provo, Utah, Utah. On the "Xerox copy of a typewritten copy of a handwritten copy of what purported to be an exact copy of 'Uncle Dominicus Carter's records'" his birth date is given as 25 November 1868. On the list that Fanny Nashâs mother kept of Fannyâs children his birth date is given as 27 November 1868. In 1891 a newspaper article stated that Samuel was fined for assaulting his step-father W.H. Davis (his motherâs 2nd husband).
CHILD # 45. Parley Pratt Carter â male Born 29 March 1871 Provo, Utah, Utah. Died 11 March 1944. His name and birth date are on the list that Fanny Nashâs mother kept of Fannyâs children. California Death Index gives his motherâs maiden name as Nash.
CHILD # 46. Arthur Carter â male Born 6 Apr 1875 Provo, Utah, Utah. Died 6 Feb 1937. His name and birth date are on the list that Fanny Nashâs mother kept of Fannyâs children. His death certificate names his parents.
CHILD # 31 Nellie Ann Carter â female Born 28 May 1863 Provo. The book âCarter Pioneers of Provo Utahâ implies that there were two Nellies, but I am convinced that there was only one. The book mentions Nellie three times:
- Page 251 with the birth 1863 and the mother Fanny Nash, no source given. However, there is no Nellie on the list that Fannyâs mother kept of Fannyâs children.
- Page 159 with the birth 26 May 1865 and the mother Sylvia Meacham, no source given. However, by this time, Sylvia had been divorced from Dominicus for at least a decade - probably about 20 years.
- Page 102 (Dominicusâ own list of his children) merges the 1863 and the 1865 Nellie. When you reconstruct the list to remove the edits that the author Arthur Coleman made (remove anything in parenthesis), Nellie Ann is listed only once with a birth date of 28 May 1863. There isn't a second Nellie on the original list. Arthur Coleman attributed this version of Nellie to Fanny Nash, but the original list did not identify the mothers of any of the children.
These three entries taken together lead me to conclude that there was only one Nellie, born 28 May 1863.
Some researchers wonder if Nellie is actually Cornelia, who was the daughter of Mary Durfee. Maybe so!
I personally donât believe there is enough evidence to state who Nellieâs mother was.
Prepared by Vauna Marie Green Kelly email@example.com