Carter Papers

I will confess that I am like most people who become involved in their family history and that I tend to myopically focus, at least at first, on the ancestors who bear my surname. This myopia gradually lessens with age and experience, however, unlike physical myopia which invariably gets worse with age. Eventually I began to study with equal interest other direct ancestral lines, including those of my mother (the Wheelers and Bishops etc.) and my father’s mother (the Mintys and Websters, etc. of Scotland).

However, it took me somewhat longer to come to realise that I had an even earlier immigrant ancestor on my paternal side than Matthew Morry, on whom I have expended a tremendous amount of time, energy and money in researching. My earliest Newfoundland direct-line ancestors were not the Morrys but rather the Carters and their kin.

The first of these was Robert Carter of Sidmouth, Devon, (1722-1800) and his wife, Ann Wylly of Campbeltown, Scotland, (1718/19 – aft 1800). They are my 5th great grandparents and they arrived in Ferryland in the 1740s, before Matthew Morry was even born. Therefore, such a belated recognition of the importance of this illustrious family is unforgivable and I intend to try and make up for this in coming months by adding information on them here.

First of all, and most easily, I will start with the information on file at the Provincial Archives Division at The Rooms. There they have two main manuscript series dedicated to the Carters of Ferryland and their descendants. The first is a general family manuscript collection known as “MG 31 – Carter Family (Ferryland) Collection, 1759-1908” . The second is a more focussed series of files pertaining to a lengthy and acrimonious court battle over ownership and entitlement to land rents on property originally granted to a man named Benger in Ferryland, but then managed and claimed after his departure from the area by the Carters but claimed by a man in Ireland named Nason. This collection is known as “MG 247 – Carter (Benger/Nason), Ferryland”.

MG 31 – Carter Family Papers

This collection of several dozen papers dating back to the mid-1700s was donated on several different occasions by members of the Carter family who were direct descendants of the original immigrants and who had received these papers through inheritance. But the principal contributor, and the one identified by the Archives in the summary of the collection, was identified as follows: “Donated to the Provincial Archives by Mrs. D.N. MacGillivary in 1977 and 1992” .

“Mrs. D. N. MacGillivary” was in point of fact Marion Clarke, the wife of Commodore Darroch (Doc) Norman MacGillivary of the Royal Canadian Navy. So who was this mysterious donor and how did she acquire so much of the Carter family papers?

The answer to that question is easy enough, if one has access to the website of the CBC, because Marion was an on-screen personality (announcer and interviewer) on the CBC for many years.

Marion Clarke MacGillivary
Commodore Darroch Norman MacGillivary, RCN

“Doc”, who died in 2003 in Halifax, NS, was actually my father’s 5th cousin, though I’ll bet neither knew that! They were both 4th great-grandsons of Robert and Ann Carter. Doc’s line passed back through some well-known and prestigious connections. His mother was Doris M. Alderdice, the daughter of Sir Frederick Charles Alderdice, Prime Minister of Newfoundland, and his wife Harriet Maria Skinner Carter (the Carter connection). Previous generations back to Robert included William Thomas Skinner Carter, Arthur Hunt O’Brien Carter, Hon. William Carter of the Admiralty Court and Supreme Court. The latter was a son of Robert and Ann and, being the legal beagle in the family, I suppose it was only natural that he should inherit important family papers. And subsequent descendants held onto these until the male line died out with Doc and his widow realised the best thing to do was to donate the papers to the Newfoundland Archives.

Here is a listing of the contents of the “Carter Papers” at The Rooms:

Carter family (Ferryland) collection
MG 31

Level of description Collection
Accession 424 77
15 92
Extent 13 cm textual records
2 drawings
1 map
Record consists of
• [Series ] Correspondence and family materials
• [Series ] Legal documents
• [Series ] Sketches and plans
Record type Non-Government Records
Custodial history The papers were in the custody of the Carter family until donation to the Provincial Archives in 1977 and 1992.
Scope and content Collection consists of textual records and cartographic items relating to the Carter family of Ferryland and St. John’s for 1759-1927. Collection includes correspondence, wills, indentures, grants, a family tree and other family memorabilia. Two sketches and a plan of Carter property at Ferryland are also included.

Collection is arranged in three series: Correspondence, 1765- 1908; Legal documents, 1759-1927; Sketches and plan, 1822-1888.
Variations in title Previously described as two collections: Carter papers; James Carter [papers].
Source of title Title is based on the subject of the collection
Immediate source of acquisition Donated to the Provincial Archives by Mrs. D.N. MacGillivary in 1977 and 1992.
Arrangement During redescription in 2003, the James Carter fonds ( MG 891) was incorporated into the Carter family collection.
No original order. Fonds arranged chronologically
Copyright Copyright expired
Related records MG 247 Carter (Benger/Nason) fonds consists of documents relating to Carter properties at Ferryland: 1750-1860. The Robert Carter fonds (MG 920) consists of diaries recording weather, family and local information.
Provenance access point • Carter (family) –
Provincial Archives Division

Carter family (Ferryland) collection
Correspondence and family materials

Level of description Series
Extent 35 folders textual records
Record consists of:

• [Item MG 31.1] Correspondence: Robert Carter, Dartmouth, to brother William Carter
• [Item MG 31.2] Correspondence from James Carter
• [Item MG 31.3] J. Oldfield, C.R. engineers, to Judge Carter
• [Item MG 31.4] John Williams to W.T.S. Carter, Bay Bulls
• [Item MG 31.5] Correspondence to uncle
• [Item MG 31.6] Robert Carter, Ferryland, to Thomas Stabb, St. John’s
• [Item MG 31.7] W. Sawyer to William Carter, Halifax
• [Item MG 31.8] Correspondence from George Williams
• [Item MG 31.9] Correspondence from George Williams to niece
• [Item MG 31.10] Undecipherable cross over letter
• [Item MG 31.11] Correspondence: A.H.C. [Arthur Hunt Carter]
• [Item MG 31.12] Correspondence: F.C.S. Carter to uncle
• [Item MG 31.13] Arthur William Carter to John Harvey
• [Item MG 31.14] Correspondence: Robert Carter to Catherine Carter
• [Item MG 31.15] Correspondence: Christopher Northcote
• [Item MG 31.16] Correspondence: Robert Carter to father
• [Item MG 31.17] Correspondence: Arthur O’Brien Carter to Governor, et al
• [Item MG 31.18] Correspondence: Arthur O’Brien Carter to Thomas Skinner
• [Item MG 31.19] Correspondence: Nick R. Mudge to William Carter
• [Item MG 31.20] Correspondence: James Carter to “Bun”
• [Item MG 31.21] Correspondence: De Bernardy Bros. to W.J.S. Carter
• [Item MG 31.22] Correspondence: W.T.S. Carter to William Horwood, Q.C.
• [Item MG 31.23] Correspondence: Hugh H. Carter: Carter estates
• [Item MG 31.24] Correspondence: W.J.S. Carter to William Carter
• [Item MG 31.25] Correspondence: from Rev. H. Kilner Woodward to James H. Carter
• [Item MG 31.26] Charles Tessier, administrator of estate of Robert Carter, to James. M. Carter
• [Item MG 31.69] Correspondence to Mrs. Maude White from the Royal Trust Company: estate of James Carter
• [Item MG 31.27] Measurements of flagstaff room, Ferryland
• [Item MG 31.28] “The Grinder”: draft of poem
• [Item MG 31.29] Poem / attributed to Ann Carter
• [Item MG 31.30] A song: “The Motley Maggot Gang”
• [Item MG 31.31] Page of an election manifesto
• [Item MG 31.32] Official envelope with wax seals
• [Item MG 31.33] Pedigree of the Carters of Ferryland (family tree)
• [Item MG 31.71] Obituary of James Carter

Record type Non-Government Records
Scope and content Series consists of correspondence on various social and legal topics, a poem attributed to Ann Carter, a song and family history information.
Source of title Title based on the contents of the series
Copyright Copyright expired

Provincial Archives Division
Carter family (Ferryland) collection
Legal documents

Level of description Series
Extent 36 folders textual records
Record consists of:

• [Item MG 31.34] Barbados: transfer of guardianship of infant, Henry Lagorse, from John Rowan to Robert Bulley
• [Item MG 31.35] Will of John Weston
• [Item MG 31.36] Indenture, lease of plantation, The Pool, Ferryland to John Maxey
• [Item MG 31.37] Will of Peter Weston
• [Item MG 31.38] Grant at Aquaforte to Robert Carter, Ferryland
• [Item MG 31.39] Indenture of Mary Moore
• [Item MG 31.40] Grant of fishing room to Mary Shea: north side, Ferryland Harbour
• [Item MG 31.41] Will of Robert Carter, Sidmouth, Devon, late of Ferryland
• [Item MG 31.42] Letter of attorney: Thomas Benger to William Carter
• [Item MG 31.43] Receipt for sale of plantation at The Pool, Ferryland
• [Item MG 31.44] Petition of Arthur Hunt Carter: Crown land, Ferryland
• [Item MG 31.45] Letters patent: appointment of William Carter, Acting Assistant Judge, Newfoundland Supreme Court
• [Item MG 31.46] Statement of what took place at the Court House in the case of McLarty/Costoloe
• [Item MG 31.47] Receipt issued to Peter Weston Carter: rental of ordnance property
• [Item MG 31.48] Notes: property leases and related records
• [Item MG 31.49] Draft memorandum of agreement between A. O’Brien Carter and [?]
• [Item MG 31.50] Memorial of William Carter to Lord John Russell: 3 year’s salary unpaid
• [Item MG 31.51] Memorandum of agreement between Peter W. [Weston] Carter and William Williams
• [Item MG 31.52] Declaration regarding John Kinchila: lease from estate of William Carter
• [Item MG 31.53] Draft notice warning trespassers, signed Arthur O’Brien Carter
• [Item MG 31.54] Declaration of Valentine Keefe: purchase of land from the estate of William Carter
• [Item MG 31.55] Will of Sarah Carter, Ferryland
• [Item MG 31.56] Draft will: Arthur O’Brien Carter, Ferryland
• [Item MG 31.57] W.T.S. Carter: account with P.G. Tessier: property rents
• [Item MG 31.58] Declaration of executors, R.A.W. Lilly, P.G. Tessier and W.T.S Carter: sale of property from Carter estate to John White
• [Item MG 31.59] Declaration of Mary Coady of Bay Bulls: land held from Carter estates
• [Item MG 31.60] Carter estate: Rent records
• [Item MG 31.61] Acknowledgment of title to bar Statute of Limitations (draft)
• [Item MG 31.62] Indenture between Hugh H. Carter, attorney, and John Williams, Bay Bulls
• [Item MG 31.63] Receipt for payment of rent on land, Ferryland: Charles Tessier for the Carter estate
• [Item MG 31.64] Note to W.T.S. Carter, C.W.H [Charles William Hutchings]Tessier
• [Item MG 31.65] Supreme Court: Suit of Hugh H. Carter
• [Item MG 31.66] Certification of bill of sale: Anne and John Costello, Ferryland
• [Item MG 31.67] Newfoundland, in the Supreme Court, letters of administration to James Henry Alfred Carter, Ferryland
• [Item MG 31.68] Last will and testament: James Carter
• [Item MG 31.70] Probate: will of James Carter

Record type Non-Government Records
Scope and content Series consists of legal documents including a transfer of guardianship, wills, indentures, property leases, and a petition for crown land.
Source of title Title based on the contents of the series
Copyright Copyright expired

Provincial Archives Division
Carter family (Ferryland) collection
Sketches and plans

Level of description Series
Extent 3 graphic materials
Record consists of:

• [Item MG 31.72] Plan of Carter properties, Ferryland. / John Maher, Surveyor
• [Item MG 31.73] Sketch of Carter House, Ferryland / Watermark John Hayes
• [Item MG 31.74] “The Judges Old House in Ferryland” [Carter house]

Record type Non-Government Records
Scope and content Series consists of three drawings related to Carter family properties at Ferryland.
Copyright Copyright expired


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You are visiting the website of the Morry family of Newfoundland, ex Devon

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We hope that this site will serve as a link and a gathering place for the scattered remnants of the Morry Family, whose ancestor, Matthew Morry, came from Stoke Gabriel via Dartmouth Devon, England, to Newfoundland to make a living in the fishing trade some time before Sept. 1784. At that time we know he was granted land for a fishing room in Caplin Bay (now Calvert) near Ferryland, a tiny fishing village on Newfoundland’s Southern Shore that we, his descendants, think of as our family seat.

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