Military Wiki
James Pratt Carter
Mayor of Madison

In office
Succeeded by George M. Hayes, Jr.
Member of the Madison Board of Aldermen

In office
Personal details
Born August 20, 1915
Rockingham County, North Carolina
United States
Died December 19, 2000(2000-12-19) (aged 85)
Danbury, Stokes County
North Carolina, U.S.
Resting place Sardis Primitive Baptist Church Cemetery
Madison, North Carolina
Political party Democratic Party
Spouse(s) Nancy Elizabeth Martin
Children 4 (including Linda Carter Brinson)
Parents Yancey Ligon Carter
Mary Elizabeth Morton
Alma mater Wake Forest College
UNC Greensboro
Military service
Allegiance  United States
Service/branch United States United States Army
Years of service 1934–1958
Rank Army-USA-OR-02.svg Private
Army-USA-OR-06.svg Staff Sergeant
US-O5 insignia.svg Lieutenant Colonel
Battles/wars World War II
 • North African campaign
 • Italian campaign
Korean War

James Pratt Carter (August 20, 1915 – December 19, 2000) was an American military officer, politician, and educator. During his career in the United States Army, he served in World War II and the Korean War, retiring from the army in 1958 with the rank of lieutenant colonel. He was the mayor of Madison, North Carolina for twelve years and later served on the town's Board of Aldermen.

Early life[]

Carter was born on August 20, 1915 in Rockingham County, North Carolina to Yancey Ligon Carter and Mary Elizabeth Morton, who were prominent tobacco farmers in the Bethany community. He was the thirteenth of fifteen children.[1] Carter was raised in the Baptist tradition. His grandfather, Pleasant Jiles Carter, was a North Carolinian planter. Carter's great-grandfather, Thomas B. Carter, owned a large tobacco plantation in what is now Wentworth.[2]

The birthplace of J.P. Carter's father on the Carter Plantation.

His family descends from the colonist Reverend Thomas Carter, a Puritan minister in the Massachusetts Bay Colony and signer of the Dedham Covenant.



Carter enlisted in the United States Army as a private in 1934, after graduating from Madison High School. He served in World War II with the rank of staff sergeant, as part of the 20th Infantry Regiment, and was deployed to North Africa and Italy. He also served in the Korean War and was stationed in Japan.[3][4] He was decorated for his service in World War II.[1][5] During World War II, four of his brothers were also serving. His mother was awarded a "five-starred emblem" by the Legion of Honor Association for having five sons serve at one time.[6][7] The award was presented at the President's Birthday Ball at the town armory. He retired from the army as a lieutenant colonel in 1958.[1]


Carter graduated from Wake Forest College in Winston-Salem in 1961 with a degree in education.[1] Carter later earned a master's degree from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. He worked as a public school teacher at Madison-Mayodan High School, where he taught social studies. He was later appointed principal of Elliott Duncan Elementary School in Mayodan, a position he held until his retirement in 1977.[5]


In 1977 Carter was elected mayor of Madison.[8] He assumed office in 1978 and served until 1991.[9] In 1990 Carter dismissed Barry and Debbie Walker's charges of harassment against Phillip Webster, a town alderman, calling the charges a "personal vendetta" that the town "would no longer tolerate".[10] The Walkers accused Webster of harassment when ordering bushes on their property bordering U.S. Route 311 be trimmed by town workers. Carter told them to contact the district attorney if they felt a crime had been committed. He also stated that, were Webster guilty of violating a town ordinance, it would not be grounds for removal from the town's Board of Aldermen.[10]

In 1991 Carter supported a one-cent tax increase, to generate $273,000 annually as funding to maintain Chinqua Penn Plantation.[11]

On March 6, 1991 Carter was a speaker at a victory march and rally for United States troops who served in the Gulf War. The demonstration, sponsored by the Rockingham County Patriots, was held at Rockingham County High School.[12]

After his time as mayor, he served on town's Board of Aldermen for two years.[9]

Personal life[]

Carter was the uncle of folk artist Benny Carter and photographer Carol M. Highsmith. He was a Baptist and served as a deacon and trustee at First Baptist Church of Madison. He was a member of the Madison Lions Club and was named a Melvin Jones Fellow by the organization.[5]

He married Nancy Elizabeth Martin in 1941.[3] They had four daughters: Dorothy Jean Carter Seeman, Gerry Carter, Linda Carter Brinson, and Vicki Carter Alexander.[5]

In 1998 Carter was named Madison's Citizen of the Year.[5]

Carter died on December 19, 2000 at Stokes-Reynolds Memorial Hospital in Danbury, North Carolina. His funeral was held at First Baptist Church of Madison. He is buried in the cemetery at Sardis Primitive Baptist Church in Madison.[1]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 "OBITUARIES". 
  2. King, Nancy Webster (1983). "Pleasant Jiles and Sarah Sharp Carter". The Heritage of Rockingham County, North Carolina, 1983. Winston-Salem, North Carolina: Rockingham County Historical Society in cooperation with Hunter Publishing Company. p. 196. ISBN 0-89459-212-2. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Obituary: NANCY ELIZABETH CARTER". 
  4. "Life of the Soldier and the Airman". U.S. Army, Recruiting Publicity Bureau.. March 10, 1942. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 "North Carolina Obituary and Death Notice Archive - Page 1057". 
  6. Office, United States Adjutant-General's. "U.S. Army Recruiting News". 
  7. "Army Life and United States Army Recruiting News". War Department, Recruiting Publicity Bureau, U.S. Army. March 10, 1942. 
  8. "Final Report to the President: National Consumers Week, April 24-30, 1988 : Consumers Buy Service". Office of the Special Adviser to the President for Consumer Affairs and the United States Office of Consumer Affairs. March 10, 1989. 
  9. 9.0 9.1 "Descendant of former governor dies in 1935". 

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