Author: Edmund Berkeley


Robert Carter (ca. 1664–1732)

Robert Carter, also known as Robert “King” Carter, was a land baron, Speaker of the House of Burgesses (1696–1698), treasurer of the colony (1699–1705), and a member of the governor’s Council (1700–1732). As senior member of the council, he served as president, or acting governor, from 1726 until 1727. Carter, as his nickname attests, was the richest and one of the most powerful Virginians of his day. Virginia-born, he inherited land from his father and his elder half-brother and spent much of the rest of his life accumulating more, most of it part of the Northern Neck Proprietary, for which he served as Virginia agent from 1702 until 1711 and from 1722 until 1732. At the time of his death, he held at least 295,000 acres of land, as well as numerous slaves. He also served as an agent for slave traders. Appointed to the Council by Governor Francis Nicholson, Carter nevertheless opposed Nicholson’s, and later Lieutenant Governor Alexander Spotswood‘s, policies, designed to assert royal control, sometimes at the expense of the interests of the great planters. Carter died in 1732, leaving a will that filled forty pages.