|Robert Carter III of Nomini Hall, 1753 Thomas Hudson (1701-1779) Oil on canvas Gift of Louise Anderson Patten, 1972.17|
Robert Carter III (1728-1804) was the grandson of Robert “King” Carter, the wealthiest planter in the early 18th century Virginia. Carter settled at Nomini Hall in Westmoreland County where he and wife Frances Tasker Carter raised a large family and operated tobacco plantations, mills, and other industries. Raised in the Church of England, Carter converted first to the Baptist faith before becoming a Swedenborgian in 1788. Three years later he drafted a “Deed of Emancipation” that provided for the gradual manumission of over 500 enslaved people, likely the largest individual emancipation in the U.S. before the Civil War. This presentation will examine Carter’s life from his childhood in Virginia to his religious conversions and momentous 1791 Deed of Emancipation, the 225th anniversary of which we commemorate this year.