Author: Alonzo Thomas Dill


Carter Braxton (1736–1797)

Carter Braxton was a member of the Continental Congress (1776) who supported and signed the Declaration of Independence, and of the Council of State (1786–1791; 1794–1797). Born to power—his maternal grandfather was the wealthy land owner and enslaver Robert “King” Carter—Braxton married it, as well, wedding first a niece of the Speaker of the House of Burgesses and then, after her death, the daughter of a member of the governor’s Council. Braxton acquired large amounts of land and numbers of slaves, and he both cultivated and traded tobacco. While in the House of Burgesses (1761–1775), he served on various prestigious committees and, in May 1775, confronted Patrick Henry and a group of militiamen over their demand for reimbursement of Virginia gunpowder seized by the Crown. Braxton arranged for his father-in-law to pay for it. Although he supported independence, he published a pamphlet that challenged the democratic ideas of John Adams and, as a result, was sent home from the Continental Congress. The American Revolution (1775–1783) left Braxton virtually insolvent, but his political connections intact. He served on the Council of State, and during his second term, advised Henry, his one-time adversary and now Virginia governor. Braxton died in Richmond in 1797.