Attica, Barzillai, brain fever, Carter, Connecticut, Crary, Dana Parker Carter, Darien, Dryden, epidemic, Flint, Genesee, Ingham, Lapeer, Lenawee, Litchfield, Lorenzo Dow, Luna Beardsley, Methodist, Michigan, New York, Second Awakening, Warren
Lorenzo Dow Carter was the fifth of eight children born to Barzillai Carter and Mary Crary. Lorenzo was born in Warren, Litchfield County, Connecticut, an area where his family had lived for four generations. In 1811, Lorenzo moved with his siblings and parents to Darien, Genesee County, New York.
The name Lorenzo Dow was a very popular name at the beginning of the 19th century. The original Lorenzo Dow was a traveling Methodist preacher who was very well known during the Second Awakening period. Dow travelled extensively through the New York – Connecticut – Vermont area, but also travelled to the wildernesses of Indianapolis and Ohio. Thousands of children were named after Lorenzo Dow, including Lorenzo Dow Carter. More can be learned about him here.
At the turn of the 19th century, many Connecticut families like the Carter family emigrated to Western New York. One such family was the Beardsley family, which had also moved from Litchfield County, Connecticut, to Genesee County, New York. Lorenzo Dow Carter married Luna Beardsley in 1836 in Batavia, Genesee County, New York. Together, Lorenzo Dow and Luna have eleven children together: Henry E in 1838; Norman Brace in 1839; Philena Wells on March 24, 1840; twins Sarah Delgratia and Solon D in 1843; Levant Brown on June 19, 1845; Mentha Amanda on November 22, 1847; Dana Parker on January 11, 1850; *Lynas George on July 20, 1850; Irena Dow on October 23, 1854; and George Lewis on March 31, 1856. (* Birth dates for Dana and Lynas are a little odd. According to the 1850 Census, Dana was already 1 year old in August of 1850 and Lynas was 9 months old, but according to Dana’s death record, Dana would have only been 8 months old. According to Lynas’s headstone, he was 1 year and 3 months when he died, making his birthday July 20 1850. According to this, he would have only been 1 month old at the time of the 1850 Census).
According to a Lapeer County history, on November 19, 1836, Lorenzo Dow and his brother Russell purchase large tracts of land within Section 28 in Attica Township, Lapeer County, Michigan. According to the General Land Office records, Russell Carter purchased the west half of the NE corner of Section 28, and Lorenzo Dow Carter purchased the east half of the NE corner of Section 28. By 1840, according to the 1840 US Census, Lorenzo Dow Carter was living in Dryden, Lapeer County, Michigan with his wife, Luna, and their two young sons Henry and Norman. By 1844, the family lived on a farm on his land in Section 28 just south of the present village of Attica, Lapeer County, Michigan. Sometime before 1872, The land changed hands and Lorenzo Dow Carter owned the south 70 acres of the NE quarter of Section 28.
In 1844, an epidemic hit the family. Between June 20 and July 18, 1844, three of the Carter boys died – Henry on June 20, Norman on July 4, and Solon on July 18. Tragedy struck again in August 1851 when two more of the Carter children died – Sarah Delgratia on August 13 and Lynas George on August 20. Since death records were not kept until the 1860s, it is hard to say what the children died of. There is a report in a Lapeer County history that the years of 1848 and 1849 brought an epidemic of “fever of the brain” to Attica, but since the years do not exactly match up, it is only speculation that this is what killed the Carter children. The rest of Lorenzo and Luna’s children lived to adulthood and all stayed in Attica.
Lorenzo Dow Carter led a relatively quiet life, even in a small village like Attica. He did not get involved in political or public life like many of the other early settlers did. It is not clear whether Lorenzo maintained a relationship or even correspondence with family in New York, but there is evidence that he may have been close to two brothers, Norman Brace and George Lewis Carter, who also settled in Michigan. Older brother Norman lived in Lenawee County with his wife Mentha Braddish. Lorenzo and Luna named children after both Norman and Mentha. Youngest brother George lived first in Genesee County before moving to Ingham County. Lorenzo and Luna also named two children after George – Lynas George, who died as an infant, and George Lewis Carter. Lorenzo may have had close relationship with his younger sister, Mary Ruthala Carter Harris, who lived in Fenton, Genesee, Michigan with her husband Heman.
On April 8, 188o, Lorenzo Dow Carter was killed when he was trampled by horses on his farm. He was 73 years old. Lorenzo Dow Carter was buried beneath a medium-sized obelisk at South Attica Cemetery in Attica, Lapeer, Michigan. The epitaph on the stone reads: Soldier of Christ well done; Rest from thy love employ; The battle fought the victory won; Enter thy Master’s joy.