Pulaski County

Biography - James Carter

JAMES C. CARTER. Among the most enterprising and energetic business men of Cypress, Illinois, James C. Carter stands well to the forefront. Mr. Carter has had a career that has led him into various lines of endeavor at different periods and in every instance he has achieved conspicuous success. His grandfather, Samuel Carter, a native of Virginia, was the first of the family to become a settler in Southern Illinois, he having brought his family to this section in 1861. He lived to the advanced age of ninety-one years and died in 1870. One of his sons was Jonas C. Carter, who was born in Tennessee, married Elizabeth Buford, also a native of that state, and they became the parents of James C. Carter, whose life this sketch briefly outlines. He was one member of a family of nine children, but only one brother and one sister are now living, namely, Stephen and Mrs. Ethel Wilkinson, whose husband is deceased. One of his brothers, William L., was accidentally killed in October, 1902, another died of a congestive chill in 1884, and a sister, Ellen, succumbed to an attack of the measles when thirteen years old. Jonas C. Carter, the father of this family, and his wife lived on a farm in Cache township until 1881, when they removed to a home in Union county and are now residing on a farm there.

The birth of James C. Carter occurred July 20, 1864, in Cache township, Johnson county, Illinois. During his boyhood James attended the district school of his neighborhood and worked on the farm when school was not in session, continuing thus until twenty years old. He pursued his education further at Anna, Illinois, studying under the direction of Professor John R. "Dean. Securing a teacher's certificate, he engaged two terms as instructor and then entered McKendree College, and finally completed a four-year classical course there, teaching and studying alternately.

After acquiring his college diploma Mr. Carter devoted a number of years to continuous pedagogical work, in 1890 returning to Johnson county and teaching there. He was principal of schools at several points at different times during his career as a teacher, filling that position at Grand Chain, Pulaski county, Belknap, Johnson county, in 1893, 1894 and 1895; and was also at one time principal of Wetaugh schools in Pulaski county, continuing there two years.

In 1898 Mr. Carter made an unsuccessful race for the office of county superintendent of schools, and the same year received the appointment of Cypress postmaster, attending to the duties of that office and teaching a country school at the same time.

In the summer of 1900 Mr. Carter purchased a stock of merchandise and turned his attention to business and discontinued school teaching as a profession. Ill health compelled him to resign his postmastership and dispose of his store, which he sold to Wilhelm Brothers. In 1902 he was able, however, to renew his activity as a merchant and he re-purchased his old business and has ever since been engaged in merchandising and various other pursuits. He has been at all times closely identified with the growth and development of Cypress, and has done a prosperous business in his lines, increasing its volume to -meet the demands of an increasing population in that thriving town. He erected a fine brick business block here in 1910, a portion of the space in which is devoted to his five thousand dollar stock of merchandise. Previous to locating in the new building Mr. Carter suffered the loss by fire of his entire store stock, valued at seven thousand dollars.

In addition to this business he is the owner of several other fine properties, including a considerable acreage of real estate. He possesses a fine residence in the west part of town, has a farm of one hundred and sixty-three acres west of Cypress and another, containing one hundred acres, east of town. He devotes a portion of his time to superintending the raising of fine stock on his farms, including horses and hogs, and also owns a valuable herd of Hereford cattle. His industrial holdings include a sawmill for the manufacture of commercial lumber. Mr. Carter is an expert in timber and lumber matters, it having been when teaching school that he first became interested in timber and land, by trading in which he secured the funds that went for the purchase of his first store.

While giving personal attention to his many business interests Mr. Carter has yet found time to perform his full duty as a citizen and at times as a public official. He was elected a member of the board of county commissioners in 1904, and continued to serve in that capacity until December, 1910. He was elected to that office on the Republican ticket, and proved to be an exceedingly efficient man for the office.

The Methodist church counts Mr. Carter as among one of its most devoted and influential members. He is also a lodge man of prominence, belonging to the Modern Woodmen of America and the Independent Order of Odd Fellows.

The marriage of Mr. Carter occurred in 1887, when he took as his wife Miss Minnie Mowry, of Johnson county, daughter of John and Nancy Mowry. They have a family of three children, the eldest, a son, being a young man of twenty -two years; Ray C., nineteen years of age, and Fay, a daughter, aged fifteen years.

Mr. Carter is a citizen of the highest type, the weight of whose influence in all matters of moral and civic import is always found on the right side. He is a man of superior attainments, true to every trust, public or private, and enjoys the admiration and respect of friends and associates in every walk in life.

Extracted from A History of Southern Illinois, 1912, Volume 2, page 765-767


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