About 1804-1805 when widow Martha Jane Huskey Ogle moved her family from the Abbeville District
of SC to the mountain area that her husband William (Old Billy) had described as "paradise," a fairly large contingent
came with her: her five sons; her unmarried daughter, Mary Ann (Polly); her married daugher, Rebecca; Rebecca's husband, James
McCarter, and Martha's brother, Peter Huskey and his children, some of them with spouses and children of their own.
In addition, several friends of the Ogles, Huskeys, and McCarters came with the group.
Family tradition includes a story that Billy had originally gone to TN to scout out the land he had received as a grant
for his Revolutionary War service. He returned to SC determined to bring his family back to TN with him, but while he
was in SC, a "grievous disease," probably typhoid or malaria, struck him, and he died.
Martha Jane decided to go to TN anyway, and by 1805 she was there. She and her family became the first settlers
in the area that came to be known as White Oak Flats, now Gatlinburg, TN. The Huskeys moved on to the Walden's Creek
area, leaving the Ogle and McCarter families. James and Rebecca McCarter travelled about six miles further northeast
into the wilderness to establish their home.
James and Rebecca had seven children who survived: William, Isaac, John, Joseph, Thomas, James, Jr., and Jeremiah. Over
the years as more McCarters were born and built their own houses and farms in the mountainous region James and Rebecca had
chosen, that area came to be called Cartertown. Soon a church and cemetery were established there. At one time
Rebecca and James owned all of Cartertown. Their farm was located near the cemetery. James died shortly after
the birth of his last son, Jeremiah (b.1815). Rebecca married a second time to Middleton Whaley
Thomas McCarter (1811-1888) , James and Rebecca's sixth son, was our ancestor. He married Mary Ownby (1814-1886).
The couple lived near James and Rebecca in Cartertown and had twelve children: Aaron, Alfred, Mack, Thomas Hill, Samuel,
Isaac, Mariam, James, John, William, Radford Gatlin, and Mary. Their fourth son, Thomas Hill (1842-1823) was also our
ancestor. Thomas Hill was always called by his given and middle names (Thomas Hill) to distinguish him from
his father. (There was a famous pioneer preacher in TN named Dr. Thomas Hill who was both
a doctor and a minister. Dr. Hill was widely admired but controversial. Because Dr. Hill was so prominent,
I suspect, but have no proof, that Thomas Hill McCarter may be his namesake. Thomas Hill McCarter's brother Radford
Gatlin was named after a controversial public man, so such a naming was something Thomas Hill's parents
did do at least once)
Thomas Hill McCarter married Marriah Reagan (1842-1923) daughter of Daniel Wesley Reagan (1803-1892). When
Marriah's mother died, Marriah was only two years old, so her stepmother Sarah Whaley Reagan (1810-1901) became about the
only mother Marriah ever knew. By agreeing to marry Daniel Wesley, Sarah had really taken on a job because Daniel Wesley
had nine children, six under ten years of age. Then Sarah and Daniel had five children of their own. Years later
when Daniel died, Sarah moved in with Thomas Hill McCarter and her stepdaughter Marriah who lived on a farm in the Cartertown
area. She lived wih them until her death.
Thomas Hill and Marriah had eleven children: Mary Elizabeth, Wesley S., Martha Jane, Thomas Zachrius, Daniel William,
Nancy, Ephraim Earl, Etta, Noah, Sariah Alice, and, of course, Eli.
In 1904 when widower Rev. Israel Hatcher married Thomas Hill McCarter's daughter Sariah Alice, he took her away from
Cartertown to live in Wear's Valley. Alice's younger brother, Eli, came to visit his big sister and met and fell in
love with Betsy, Israel's daughter from his first marriage. The young folks were married on 8 Jul 1904 when Betsy was fifteen
and Eli was eighteen.
For quite a while the young couple lived on a farm in Cartertown with Eli's parents, Thomas Hill McCarter and his wife
Marriah Reagan McCarter, but a horrible influenza epidemic in 1923 took both of Eli's parents, and shortly after, in February
of 1924, the couple's infant twins died, too.
That farm place Eli and Betsy first called home was located on Long Branch Creek which flowed into Dudley Creek and then
into the Little Pigeon River. Most of the couple's twelve children were born on that farm, attended school in Cartertown
and Gatlinburg, then moved out into the world. After the elder McCarters died, Eli built a new home for his family.
It was located on Baskins Creek across from where the Anna Porter Public Library is today. Later
Eli took a job with Alcoa Aluminum in Alcoa, TN, and the family lived there when their youngest child was born. Next
Eli and Betsy's family moved to a house on Baskins Creek Road where the Johnson Motel is now located. When WWII began
they moved to daughter Edna's house in the Medlin Addition to serve as "house sitters" for the duration of the war.
Several generations removed from that farm on Dudley, we McCarters still have an affinity with Gatlinburg and the Smokies.
Wherever we live, Gatlinburg is our home. Our roots are there
Greve, Jeanette S. The Story of Gatlinburg, Nashville, TN. Premium Press America,
1931, pp. 1-5.
Ogle, Lucinda Oakley, "Map of Gatlinburg about 1910," 1971.
McCarter Family LIneage charts.
Reagan Donald B. Smoky Mountain Clans, Rev. Ed.