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Sanford W. Carter (left) and his brother Leon J. Carter

Sanford White Carter was the youngest of three children born to William Firman Carter and Nellie J. Harrington. Sanford was named after his mother’s adoptive father, Sanford White of Campbell Corners, Ionia County, Michigan, but was known to his family as Sam.

Sanford’s parents and siblings, Florence Gladys (born 1899) and Leon Jay (born 1902), lived with or near the White family in Campbell Corners until 1903. Sometime late in the year, the entire family, including a pregnant Nellie, traveled 116 miles from Campbell Corners to Attica, Lapeer County, Michigan. The family most likely traveled by rail, from Clarksville to Lansing, and then from Lansing to Attica. If they traveled on the road by horse and buggy, they most likely traveled along present-day M-21/Corunna Road. On December 21, 1903, Sanford White Carter was born in Attica. He was most likely born at the home of his grandparents, Dana Parker Carter and Eliza Marie Firman. While Sanford was born healthy, Nellie suffered some complications with the birth, and one week later on December 28, she died. The cause of death is recorded as “Peritonitis and Heart Failure, caused by Puerperal Fever.”

Three years later, in 1906, Sanford’s father remarried a woman named Dora M. Webb in Flint, Genesee County. The family lived in Flint thereafter, first in a house on Plum Street (since absorbed by the UM-Flint campus), and later in a house on Broadway Avenue (recently destroyed in an arson). However, Sanford did not live with his father and siblings, and was instead raised by his grandparents, Dana Parker and Eliza Firman Carter.

In the summer of 1911, Sanford’s grandfather, Dana, committed suicide by hanging himself. According to the 1920 U.S. Census, Sanford’s grandmother, Eliza, went to work and live at the Michigan State Home and Training School in Lapeer. That same year, Sanford lived with his sister, Florence Carter Scamlin, and her husband Claude in Flint. Eliza Carter died February 15, 1920 at the Michigan Home and Training School of Lobar Pneumonia. After his grandmother’s death, Sanford went to live with his aunt Mintha Carter Eastman and her husband, Bert, in Lapeer.

On October 15, 1921, Sanford White Carter married Indiana-native Emma Fern Everdon in Lapeer. Fern Everdon was the youngest of Samuel Everdon and Flora Forbes’s four children: William Clyde (1890); Cora Blanche (1893-1976); Ginevea (1895-1982); and Emma Fern (1901-1949). In 1915, Fern’s sister Cora moved from the family’s farm in Jennings, Crawford County, Indiana, to Lapeer to get married. After their father’s death in 1921, Fern and Ginevea followed suit, traveling to Lapeer with their mother. Ginevea married in June of 1921, and Fern married four months later.

After they were wed, Sanford and his wife Fern moved to Lansing, where they lived for about three years. In March 1925, the couple returned to Lapeer, and Sanford got a job as a molder in the Bostick Stove Works. Sanford and Fern lived at 46 Turrill Avenue in Lapeer. Sanford also was involved with the I.O.O.F (Independant Order of Oddfellows), as well as an active member of the Methodist Presbyterian Church.

On about June 1, 1926, Sanford went to the Lapeer City Hospital for abdominal pain, which was found to be caused by appendicitis. He underwent surgury to have his appendix removed, and subsequently developed pneumonia. Sanford died on the afternoon of June 8, 1926 at the Lapeer City Hospital. He was buried in an individual plot at Mt. Hope Cemetery, in Lapeer.

After Sanford’s death, Fern moved north to Traverse City where she worked in the State Hospital as an attendant, according to the 1930 U.S. Census. Sometime between 1930 and 1939, she married Thomas Lee LaFrance in Detroit. She had at least three children with him: Sharon, Karen, and William. Emma Fern Everdon Carter LaFrance died January 20, 1949.

* If anyone else has any other information on Sanford White Carter, Emma Fern Everdon, or the LaFrance family, please contact me. I’d love to share info with you!

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