Thomas Carter Home Site Archaeological Dig

April 2016

Mary Ball Washington Museum & Library and Historic Christ Church & Museum are proud co-sponsors of an archaeological dig in Lancaster County May 12-14, 2016. Funded by The Carter Society (TCS) of Descendants of Colonial Virginia Carters through individual donations, the work will be conducted by the Fairfield Foundation in Gloucester County. They will conduct a shovel test survey on five acres of land at West Point Road where the Corotoman River divides into the Eastern and Western branches. The Farley family owns the 30-acre property and has given permission to carry out the exploratory dig. The rain date for the project is May 26-28.

Volunteers are encouraged to help with the dig but are asked to contact Dave Brown at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. so that the work can be organized and scheduled over the 3-day period. Observers are also very welcome to attend and are asked to contact Dave in advance. Tax deductible donations are welcome and can be sent to TCS treasurer, Ben Kemplin, 12345 Bowling Green Road, Alburn, KY  42206; please designate for "TCS Discovery and Preservation Fund."

Thomas Carter was an early immigrant to Lancaster County, arriving sometime in the mid-1600s. He married Katharine Dale, the daughter of Edward Dale and Diana Skipwith Dale on 4 May 1670. Edward Dale, a prominent Lancaster County official, gave the 500-acre property to the newlywed couple as a gift, and they established their home near the water front. There they raised thirteen children, nine of whom lived to adulthood. The children and their godparents, all well-known local residents from the Carter, Chowning, Conway, Corbyn, Ball, Dale, Fox, Lee, and Stretchly families, as well as Lady Ann Skipwith, are documented in Thomas Carter’s 1662 Book of Common Prayer, now owned by the Virginia Historical Society in Richmond. In this prayer book, Thomas Carter identified himself as “Mr. Thomas Carter of Barford in ye county of Lancaster in Virga.” Many believe Barford identified his origins in Bedfordshire, England, but some have claimed it identified his property, sometimes in modern times referred to as “Barford.”  

The eldest son was Edward, probably named after his maternal grandfather; the second son was Thomas, Jr. who was a close business associate of Robert “King” Carter and inherited “The Old Home Place,” after his father’s death in 1700. Several generations occupied the house until all of the property was eventually sold to Col. James Gordon. Sons Edward, John and Henry Skipwith Carter also inherited portions of the property. Other sons and daughters went on to become successful members of Christ Church Parish, and St. Mary’s White Chapel. It is said that Henry Carter inherited part of the property on the top of the hill near Merry Point, now known as Verville, and built a portion of the present house in 1725. This property is owned by Mr. Ammon G. Dunton, Jr. and will be one of several Lancaster properties featured on the April 27 Historic Garden Week tour, “Following Country Roads in Lancaster County.”

Contacts for further information: Robert Lumsden, organizer, and Mary Ball and Christ Church volunteer, Heathsville, VA. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and David Brown, Archaeologist, Fairfield Foundation, Gloucester, VA. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.