Edward Earl Carter inducted into Sons of American Revolution

Edward Earl Carter has accomplished many things in his 75 years, both on a professional and personal level.

However, he called his induction Saturday into the N.C. Society Sons of the American Revolution a pinnacle of his life.

“I thought I was proud when I married this beautiful wife of mine of 49 years,” he said at the ceremony at the Harlowe Community Center. “I thought I was proud of my three lovely daughters and all the grandchildren. … I thought I was proud of the many accomplishments and to have grown up in Piney Grove … and I thought I was a proud guy, but it’s more than that.”

The Harlowe native, initially educated in a four-room school, was at the top of his class at Virginia State University and City University of New York. He became a research physicist at Columbia University and spent eight years in the Army, much of it working on nuclear missiles. He received a Bronze Star as a field artillery officer in Vietnam and spent 25 years as an executive scientist for Burroughs Welcome. After retirement, he became the first black chairman of the school board and spent two years as mayor in Greenville.

Carter became just the second African-American to be inducted into the group of honorary compatriots during Saturday’s ceremony. He hopes to help establish a group chapter in the Harlowe community.

“There are more than enough people in my family to have 10 chapters,” Carter said. “It is going to be a process of educating them of our rich heritage.”

Carter’s family is related to three of 14 Harlowe men who went off to fight in the Revolutionary War. Guy Higgins, a former state society president, said Carter relates back to Absalom Martin

“The actual line of descent that we actually proved, because it was the easiest one, was Absalom Martin,” Higgins said.

Carter is also a descendant of Isaac Carter and William Dove, also among the original 14. Others include John Carter, Joshua Carter, John Gregory, James Manley, Simeon Moore, George Perkins, Isaac Perkins, Aaron Spelman, Asa Spellman, Hezekia Stringer and Mingo Stringer.

Regina Carter Garcia, a genealogical researcher and one of the honoree’s daughters, said that the 14 men weren’t slaves. That they were free men helped in the process of establishing lineage that allowed her father to become inducted. She said often the records of slaves don’t exist or are hard to locate.

“When I started to do my father’s side, records would just kind of pop up and even stories would pop up about some of the people who are found on this side, the Carters, the Godettes, the Morrises, and the Doves,” she said. “When you are free, you have more freedom to move, to marry, which creates a record, you own land. There are these nuggets of information that are fascinating.”

Higgins said the role of African-Americans in the Revolution was significant.

“The Revolutionary Army was the first and last fully integrated army until the Korean War,” he said.

Jim Wood, a former society president, said almost 5,000 African-Americans participated in the southern campaign of the Revolutionary War.

“They predominantly were the fighting troops. There were sergeants. There was a lieutenant,” Wood said. “It was completely integrated. Most people don’t know that story. They participated in the Battle of King’s Mountain.

“These 14 patriots here were in the Siege of Charleston, the Battle of White Plains, Valley Forge and other campaigns. That history, for a large part, has been lost because a lot of history of the American Revolution has been lost. What we’re trying to do is go back and document it and tell the story.”

The organization plans to have inductions of the descendants of the 14 patriots in the future.

“I was very pleased to be of service to my country and to find out on top of this that my ancestors played such a vital role,” Carter said “It really makes me proud.”