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This Day in Georgia History

November 24, 1780

Farish Carter Born

Planter and entrepreneur Farish Carter was born in South Carolina. Little is known of his childhood, although his father - a major in the Patriot army - was killed two months before his son’s birth while trying to retake Augusta from the British. Likely, the state of Georgia awarded Maj. Carter’s family with a land grant after the Revolution. Farish Carter became a successful merchant in Sandersville and served as the Georgia contractor for the U.S. Army during the War of 1812. With the profits thus gained, Carter bought a plantation near Milledgeville, which became his home, though he continued to travel and conduct business throughout the South and ultimately in other parts of the country. By 1845 he owned over 33,000 acres in Baldwin County alone. Carter kept a summer home in north Georgia at Rock Spring, purchased during the Indian removal. In the process of traveling between his two homes, he was a frequent visitor to a small settlement in Cass County (later renamed Bartow County). For whatever reason, the town ultimately was named for him - Cartersville. Carter defied the stereotype of the typical southern planter who had all his money invested in land and slaves. Carter had large numbers of both to be sure, but his financial empire also encompassed gold mines, textile factories, bank and railroad stocks, grist mills, a cigar factory,marble quarries, toll bridges and ferries, and steamboats. Altogether, Carter owned assets in eight different states. More accurately, Carter represented American capitalism instead of southern elitism. Just as little is known of his childhood, little is known of what became of his many and diversified financial holdings - no records of his philanthropy survive. He did help establish the Milledgeville Female Academy (now Georgia College and State University) near his home. Carter died in Milledgeville on July 2, 1861.