Speculations on the Origin of the Virginia Carders, Based on Family Histories

A Scotch and Welsh Ancestry for the Carders?

This letter was written by a grandson of the James Carder who was listed in the early Culpeper County records. It gives Scotland and Wales as the ancestral home of one of the Culpeper County Carder lines. I have found nothing to prove or disprove any of this, but Mr. McDonald seems to give a very good account of James Carder’s children that matches other existing records. If the information contained in this letter is correct, then there were possibly multiple Carder families in Culpeper County at the same time with different origins. One interesting item is the fact that Jacob Carder, who was born in Culpeper County about 1776, is not mentioned in this letter, but he was living in Harrison County, WV, with one of James Carder’s grandsons in 1860. It is a fact that there were Carders in Culpeper County prior to the Revolutionary War, which is when Mr. McDonald says that his Carders arrived.

The McDonald House,  I.B. McDonald, Proprietor

Columbia City, Indiana

Sept. 16, 1893

My dear Sir: - I am just in receipt of your very interesting epistle of a few days ago. When I got your letter the name Carder struck my memory in a very peculiar way, hence my reference to my good and dear mother’s maiden name. Now a little correct history. My grandfather James Carder and his brother Edward O. Carder came from Scotland during the Revolutionary War and settled in what was then the District of Culpeper (Va.). Subsequently when I was about one year old (1829) a part of Culpeper County or District was cut off - a new county was made called Rappahannock County and a small town near Hedgeman’s River called Little Washington was made the county seat.

In Rappahannock County on the Luray and Culpeper Pike is a small village called Woodville. Near this Woodville my grandfather James Carder lived and died.

Edward O. Carder went across the “Blue Ridge” and settled near what is now Mt. Jackson in the Shenandoah Valley. In after years another brother came from Scotland and after remaining in old Virginia a while went to Barbour County and settled somewhere near Philippi. During the war while I was stationed at Huttonsville in the Tygarts Valley I met several of the Upshur County Carders who were direct descendants of my grandfather’s third brother who was much younger than he was. This younger and third brother’s name was John Carder as has been told to me by my people at Woodville.

My oldest uncle, John Carder moved to Harrison County, West Virginia in 1832 or 3 and settled on Kinchelow Creek northwest of Clarksburg where he died during the war or about its close in 1864 or 5. His children, a large family, and their relatives still live in Harrison County. One, a noted physician, lived at Salem and afterwards at a post office called Jane Lew. Of this family I have not heard anything for several years, hence, cannot suggest where they are. During the war I met several of the Upshur County Carders — good people.

My uncle, John Carder, was the oldest of James Carder’s children. Geo. Lawson was next. He lived and died at Luray in Page County when I was a small boy. I met his widow during the war in 1862. He was a brave fellow and had his left leg broken in a fight.

My third uncle was Coleman Carder. He died near Woodville at 97. Then my uncle William Carder died only a few years ago near Woodville age 88. Uncle James Carder died in the same locality about 32 years of age of some pernicious fever. My uncle Joseph Carder in 1834 emigrated to Shelby County, Illinois. He died only a few years ago aged 83.

My mother’s name was Elizabeth Carder, the oldest daughter of my grandfather. She died in 1883 at 80 years. By the way, while my grandfather James Carder came from Scotland, the stock before going to Scotland came from Wales and settled up in the Highlands of Scotland in Inverness.

I am quite anxious to visit the Carders of Upshur, Harrison, and Taylor counties if possible. I would like very much to see them once more before I pass over the “Deep and Dark River”.

May God bless you and yours,

I am kindly, etc.

Isiah Burritt McDonald


A French Ancestry for the Carders?

In the Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Western Arkansas, published in 1891, a biographical sketch of Thaddeus Mack Carder (1832-1910), who was the first mayor of Mena, Arkansas, states that Thaddeus M. Carder was born in Culpeper Co., Virginia. It also states that his paternal grandfather was Ivison Carder, who came from France with Lafayette to help the Americans during the Revolution. It states that Ivison Carder and his brother George remained in Virginia, and that Ivison married, had children, and lived to be 106 years old. I have not found any evidence to prove or disprove any of this. Iverson Carder was living in Pendleton District, SC, in 1810, age 26-45, which would place his birthdate at 1765-1784. He was in Lumpkin Co., Georgia, in 1830, 1840, and 1850, and is listed as age 95 in 1850, which would place his birthdate at 1755. However, the 1850 census gives his birthplace as South Carolina.

This Iverson Carder is not found in any early Culpeper Co., Va. records. Also, if he was living in SC and Georgia from 1810-1850, he must have left a son behind in Virginia if Thaddeus Mack Carder was born there in 1832. I also have not seen any other records that show Iverson Carder to be born in France. He apparently was connected to the other Carders living in Pendleton District, SC, in the early 1800s. His name appears on the estate sale of Nimrod Carder of Pendleton Dist. in 1810. Nimrod Carder’s administrators were George Carder, who is listed in the 1800 SC census as age 45+, and was probably Nimrod’s father, and Sarah Carder (1772-), who was probably Nimrod’s wife. The 1850 census shows Sarah’s birthplace as Virginia. Others listed in the estate papers were Thomas Carder, Sr. and Thomas Carder, Jr. Iverson Carder was listed next to Thomas Carder in the 1810 census.

Armstead Carder (1771?-1839), a Culpeper County native, migrated to Pendleton District, SC, about 1800, and moved to Indiana about 1816. His name does not appear on Nimrod Carder’s estate settlement, but he is listed in the 1810 census on the page after Sarah Carder, Nimrod’s wife.

The Thomas Carder, Sr., listed above, moved to Tennessee by about 1784, and was listed as a Washington Co., Tennessee, taxpayer in 1787. He moved to South Carolina about 1798, when he received a land grant for 402 acres. His son Thomas, Jr, is listed in the 1850 census of Anderson County, SC, as age 66, born in Tennessee. Thomas, Sr. is probably related to a Godfrey Carder who received a North Carolina land grant in Washington County, Tennessee, in 1782. A John Carder also moved to East Tennessee in the 1780s, and owned land in Hampshire County, WV, from 1767 to 1789. By 1789, he was living in Greene County, Tennessee.

Based on the above records, it appears that the Carders in South Carolina and Tennessee in the late 1700s and early 1800s did come from Virginia. However, as is the case with most pre-1800 Carders, there are no records that show the relationship between the two groups. The French connection through Iverson Carder is questionable, in my opinion. It seems very much of a coincidence that threegroups of Carders, one from England, one from Scotland/Wales, and one from France, would settle in Culpeper County, Virginia. Furthermore, I have never heard of any Carders from France before. Another problem with the French group of Carders is that not only did they live in the same place in Virginia as the older English Carders, but they also lived in South Carolina near Armstead Carder, who was from the older English group of Carders. I would suspect that all of these Carders were of the English group, and a story got mixed up somewhere along the line. Perhaps someone can find a list of Lafayette’s soldiers and see if any of them are named Carder.

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