Rhode Island Archival and Manuscript Collections Online

For Participating Institutions

John Carter family papers (Carter papers)

John Carter Brown Library

Box 1894
Brown University
Providence, RI 02912
Tel: (401) 863-2725

Biographical/Historical note

Printer and journalist John Carter was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1745. After an apprenticeship with Benjamin Franklin, Carter moved in 1767 to Providence, Rhode Island, and began work with the Providence Gazette, the weekly newspaper operated by William Goddard with his sister, Mary Katherine Goddard, and their mother, Sarah Goddard. When William Goddard moved to Philadelphia to begin publishing the Philadelphia Chronicle in 1768, Carter purchased the Gazette, producing the paper until near his death in 1814. From 1773 to 1779, Carter partnered with William Wilkinson, and the press operated under the name Carter and Wilkinson.

From 1772 until 1792 Carter served as the first Postmaster of Providence (commissioned by his former employer, Benjamin Franklin, who was Postmaster-General). During the Revolutionary War, he served on the Committee of Correspondence.

In 1769, John Carter married Amey Crawford (1744-1806), daughter of Captain John Crawford of Providence. They had twelve children, nine of whom survived into adulthood. Ann Carter, their eldest daughter, married Nicholas Brown of Providence; they were the parents of John Carter Brown. Their eldest son, Benjamin Bowen Carter, studied under Dr. Benjamin Rush and practiced medicine for a short time in Connecticut. He spent most of his career as a doctor and supercargo for the Brown family on many China trade voyages, on the ship Ann & Hope. Carter’s other sons, James, Crawford and William, were also involved in maritime trade.

Children of John Carter and Amey Crawford:

Brown, Ann, 1770 - 1798 (Married to Nicholas Brown)

Carter, Benjamin Bowen, 1771 - 1835

Carter, John, 1774 - 1815

Carter, Crawford, 1775 - 1779

(Son) Carter, March 20-21, 1777

Jenckes, Rebecca, 1778 – 1837 (Married to Amos T. Jenckes)

Carter, James, 1780 – ca.1812

Carter, Crawford, 1782 - 1868

Carter, (Daughter), June – Sept. 1783

Carter, William, 1785 - 1821

Carter, Huldah Maria, 1787 - 1842

Danforth, Elizabeth Ann, 1790 – 1876 (Married to Walter Raleigh Danforth)