Cater Family

This page provides information about the Cater family, who settled first in the South Carolina lowcountry in the 1600s. One branch made its way to Abbeville, South Carolina by the 1830s.

There is quite a bit of information about these early Caters in Garrett-Sharpe Brown-Poindexter and Allied Lines: A Genealogical Study with Biographical Notes. (New York: The American Historical Company, Inc., 1971).  For more detail, see that study.

Thomas Cater (-about 1731)

Thomas Cater arrived in the colony of South Carolina in August 1672. He died about 1731.  He owned several tracts of land on or near the Ashley River. The name of his wife is not known.

In his will, which was recorded April 13, 1731, the following children were mentioned:

  • Mary Cater. Born in 1686. Married first John Brandford in 1702. Married second William Lashley.
  • William Cater. Born about 1690.  Died about 1749.
  • Susannah Cater. Born in 1692. Married Nathaniel Bradwell in 1708. Died in 1752.

William Cater (about 1690-about 1749)

William Cater was born about 1690 in South Carolina, a son of Thomas Cater.  His wife's name was Mary. 

He had several land grants from the S.C. Lord Proprietor, including 500 acres in Granville County (1709) and 500 acres in Berkeley County (1711).

He belonged to an Antipedo Baptist group.

William Cater died about 1749 in Berkeley Co., SC.

The following is from the Will Book 1747-1752:

William Cater, Berkeley County, planter. Wife: Mary, residency on my plantation during her widowhood. Sons: Thomas, plantation where I now live; William, Benjamin; Joseph my warrent for land; all sons under 21 years. Daus: Elizabeth Marion; Mary Baker; Ann Child. Mentions land at Cypress divided between sons William and Benjamin. Mentions: 50 ro Rev. Mr. Isaac Chanler. Exors: sons Thomas and William. Wit: Nathal. Barnwell [Bradwell in proof], Thomas Braadwell.

D: 20 Oct. 1744. P: 29 Sept. 1749. R: nd. p. 167.

An interesting note is that his daughter Elizabeth was married to Benjamin Marion, an uncle of Francis Marion, the "Swamp Fox."

Thomas Cater (1731-1753)

Thomas Cater was born in 1731 in South Carolina, a son of William Cater and his wife Mary.  He married Susannah Baker, a daughter of Richard Baker and Mary Bohun.

Thomas Cater and Susannah Baker had two children:

  • Mary Cater. Born 1750.  Died young.
  • Thomas Cater. Born December 17, 1751. Married Rachel Miles on February 18, 1773. Died April 20, 1803. 

Thomas Cater died about 1753 in SC.

The following entry is in the Will Book 1752-1756:

Thomas Cater, St. George's Parish, Berkeley Co, planter. Son: Thomas, under 21 years, plantation on Ashley River in said parish where I now live since my father's death. Dau: Mary, under 21 years.  Nephew: William Quarterman, under 21 years.  Sister: Elizabeth Marrion. Mentions: plantation at Pon Pon and my other tract at Cypress Swamp in said parish to be sold to pay my debts; executors to maintain my 2 children "school'd and Educated in a hansom and Christian manner as their Interest will afford;" residue of estate to said 2 children; sister Marrion's children [not named], under 21 years; silver watch.  Exors: Col. Walter Izard; William Mayne [Maine]; kinsman Nathaniel Bradwell. Wit: Robt. Hancock, Hugh Monron; Ann Monron.

D: 4 May 1752. P: 17 Sept. 1753, R: nd. p. 100.

Thomas Cater (1751-1803)

Thomas Cater was born December 17, 1751 in St. George's Parish, South Carolina, a son of Thomas Cater and Susannah Baker.  On February 18, 1773, he married Rachel Miles, a daughter of Silas Miles and Elizabeth McPherson.

The following land sale is recorded in 1773 as shown in Clara A. Langley, South Carolina Deed Abstracts 1719-1772 Vol. IV 1767-1773, Books I-3−E-4 (Easley, SC: Southern Historical Press, 1984), pp. 330-331:

Book E-4, pp. 346-352
7 & 8 June 1773
Thomas Cater, planter, of St. Peters Parish, Granville Co, & Rachel his wife, to Thomas Kellar, planter, of St. George Parish, Dorchester, Berkeley Co., for
1300 currency, 318 a. in St. George Parish, bounding E on John Ainslie; S on Mrs. Baker & John Izard; W on John Sheppard; N on Nathaniel Bradwell. Witnesses: William Maine, Jr., Ester Maine. Before William Maine, J.P. Recorded 4 Aug. 1773. Plat dated 8 Mar. 1773 by Nathaniel Bradwell, Dep. Sur.

The following land sale is recorded in 1778 as shown in in Brent H. Holcomb, South Carolina Deed Abstracts 1773-1778 Books F-4 through X-4

W-4, 299-303: Lease & release. 1& 2 Jan 1778, Jehu Willson of Parish of St. Paul, Gentleman, and Ann his wife, and Thomas Cater of Parish of Prince William and Rachel his wife, to Allen Miles of Parish of St. Paul Gentleman, for 6500 SC money, whereas said Ann Willson and Rachel Cater being two of the daughters and devisees mentioned in the will of Silas Miles, late of St. Pauls Parish, SC, deceased, are entitled unto an equal fourth part of the lands of a fourth part of the money to arise from the sale of the same, and whereas two of the daughters of said testator to wit Elizabeth the widow and relict of Press Smith, Esquire, deceased, and Susannah the wife of John McPherson of the Indian land, gentleman, are infants under the age of twenty one years so that they cannot at present join in a full and complete conveyance, said Jehu Wilson and Ann his wife and Thomas Cater and Rachel his wife have agreed to sell their several undivided fourth parts of said premises; 394 acres in St. Pauls Parish, Colleton County, adj. land of Samuel Wainwright, James Nicholas, Robert miles, Allen Miles and 170 acres on south side of the Road from Rantowles' Bridge to Parkers Ferry adj. land of Robert Miles, Frederick Grimkie. Jehu Willson (LS), Ann Willson (LS), Thomas Cater (LS), Rachel Cater (LS) Wit: Josiah Miles, Robert Miles. Proved before Andrew Leitch, J. P., by the oath of Robert Miles, 23 Feb 1778. Recorded 19 March 1778.

The following entry for Thomas Cater is in Bobby Gilmer Moss' Roster of South Carolina Patriots in the American Revolution:

b. 1750, S. C.
d. 1804
m. Rachel Miles, 18 February 1773
He served as a lieutenant in the Volunteer Company of Beaufort. Council of Safety, 26 February 1776; McCall, II, 28.

Thomas Cater was a representative for Prince William Parish in the state legislature for 1782.

The following entry for Thomas Cater is in N. Louise Bailey and Elizabeth Ivey Cooper, Biographical Dictionary of the South Carolina House of Representatives Volume III 1775-1790 (Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 1981), pp. 134-135:

CATER, THOMAS (1751-1803). Grandson of RICHARD BAKER (d. 1752); brother-in-law of CHARLES DUPONT (1744?-1793).

    Thomas Cater, born December 1751, was the son of Thomas Cater (d. 1753?) and Susannah Baker. From his father, he inherited a plantation on the Ashley River in St. George Dorchester Parish. However, he was living at Cater Hall plantation in St. Peter Parish by 1778 when he was named to the grand and petit juries. In 1790 he owned fifty slaves in Beaufort District. During the American Revolution, Cater participated as a militia lieutenant (1776) and captain (ca. 1780) and supplied provisions for Continental and militia use. St. Peter elected him to the Fourth General Assembly (1782). Locally, he served as tax inquirer and collector for St. Peter, Purrysburg (1779, 1783). On 18 February 1773, he wed Rachel Miles (1755-1802), daughter of Silas Miles and Elizabeth McPherson. Eleven children were born to their marriage: Rachel (m. Thomas John Smith Farr), Mary Elizabeth (m. 1st Thomas Rhodes, 2d Rev. Winborn Asa Lawton), Elizabeth, Susannah Baker (m. Charles Dupont [1781-1814]), Caroline, Ann Miles, Thomas Miles, Silas McPherson, Richard Bohun, William Maine, and McPherson. A year after his wife's death, Thomas Cater died on 20 April 1803.

    Fourth General Assembly    St. Peter    1782

According to the family bible of their son, Thomas Miles Cater, the children of Thomas Cater and Rachel Miles were:

  • Rachel Cater. Born August 4, 1774.
  • Elizabeth Cater. Born March 2, 1778. Died June 5, 1803.
  • Mary Cater. Born June 25, 1776. Died March 10 [no year].
  • Susanna Cater. Born August 9, 1780. Died 1927.
  • Caroline Cater. Born October 14, 1782. Died March 23, 1807.
  • Ann Miles Cater. Born April 3, 1784. Died October 25, 1789.
  • Thomas Miles Cater. Born April 24, 1786. Died January 30, 1819.
  • Silas McPherson Cater. Born April 2, 1789.
  • Richard Bohun Cater. Born December 14, 1781. Died November 24, 1850.
  • William Maine Cater. Born March 19, 1795. Died September 4, 1796.
  • McPherson Cater. Born December 6, 1796. Died October 18, 1798.

Thomas Cater died on April 20, 1803 in SC.  He and his wife are buried in the DuPont Cemetery on Haphazard Plantation Road in old Grahamville (now Ridgeland, Jasper Co., SC).

Thomas Miles Cater (1786-1819)

Thomas Miles Cater was born April 24, 1786 at Cater Hall plantation in St. Peter's Parish in Beaufort, SC, a son of Thomas Cater and Sarah Miles.

On January 21, 1805 he married Sarah McPherson Postell.  According to the Thomas Miles Cater's family bible, he and Sarah Postell had the following children:

  • James McPherson Cater. Born November 3, 1805. Died July 24, 1806.
  • Thomas Cater. Born October 24, 1806.
  • Eliza Cater. Born March 7, 1808. Died March 12, 1808.
  • John James Cater. Born May 29, 1809.
  • Richard Bohun Cater. Born January 5, 1811.
  • Andrew Postell Cater. Born June 8, 1812.
  • Edwin Cater. Born November 1, 1813.
  • Sarah Postell Cater. Born February 8, 1815.

His first wife, Sarah, apparently died in childbirth or shortly thereafter on February 8, 1815.

On September 14, 1815, Thomas Miles Cater married Catherine Mitchell Johnson. They had the following children:

  • Thomas Johnson Cater. Born October 26, 1816. Married Amelia Elizabeth Wimberly on December 22, 1842. Died  March 15, 1888.
  • James McPherson Cater. Born April 6, 1818.
  • Thomas Miles Cater, Jr. Born April 12, 1818. Died October 6, 1836.

Thomas Miles Cater died on January 30, 1819.

Richard Bohun Cater (1811-1854)

Richard Bohun Cater was born January 5, 1811 in Barnwell, South Carolina, a son of Thomas Miles Cater and Sarah McPherson Postell.

On August 23, 1832, he married Jane Lovely Patterson in Church Hill, Abbeville Co., SC. The minister performing the wedding was the Rev. Dr. Moses Waddel, the noted antebellum educator.

Richard Bohun Cater and Jane Lovely Patterson had the following children:

  • Thomas Andrew Cater. Born February 8, 1835. Served in Company I, 14th Regiment South Carolina Volunteer Infantry, McCalla's Rifles. Married Sarah B. Died January 3, 1902. Buried in Rocky River Presbyterian Church cemetery in Abbeville Co., SC.
  • Louis J. Cater. Born about 1836. Died July 8, 1837. Buried in Rocky River Presbyterian Church cemetery in Abbeville Co., SC.
  • Edwin Cater. Born April 30, 1838. Died February 24, 1904. Never married. Buried in Rocky River Presbyterian Church cemetery in Abbeville Co., SC.
  • Elizabeth C. Cater. Born about 1841.  Died March 7, 1886. Never married. Buried in Rocky River Presbyterian Church cemetery in Abbeville Co., SC.
  • Eliza Postell Cater. Born October 16, 1842. Died February 17, 1893. Never married. Buried in Rocky River Presbyterian Church cemetery in Abbeville Co., SC.
  • Mary Jervey Cater. Born about 1846. Died July 3, 1917 in Abbeville Co. Never married. Buried in Rocky River Presbyterian Church cemetery in Abbeville Co., SC.
  • John Richard Cater. Born November 16, 1844. Served in 40th Mississippi Infantry Regiment, Company C. Married first Rosa Rebecca Pressly. Married second Permelia Frances Jones. Died April 7, 1924 in Sheffield, Colbert, AL.
  • Martha Ann Cater. Born about 1849. Died February 4, 1918 in Abbeville Co.  Never married. Buried in Rocky River Presbyterian Church cemetery in Abbeville Co., SC.
  • Rebecca DuPont Cater. Born about 1851. Died October 3, 1948 in Abbeville Co.  Never married. Buried in Rocky River Presbyterian Church cemetery in Abbeville Co., SC.
  • Sarah Cater. Married Richard Wilson.

Richard Bohun Cater died on 23 May 1854 in Abbeville, SC.  His wife moved with some of their children to Mississippi but returned to the Abbeville area after the Civil War.  He and his wife and most of their children are buried at Rocky River Church Cemetery in Abbeville Co., SC.

John Richard Cater (1844-1924)

Photograph of John Richard Cater

John Richard Cater was born on November 16, 1844 in Abbeville County, a son of Richard Bohun Cater and Jane Lovely Patterson.

In the 1860 federal census for Attala County, Mississippi, the Cater family was listed as:

  • Jane Cater, 47, farming, personal estate valued at $9863.
  • Elizabeth C. Cater, 20
  • Eliza P. Cater, 18
  • John R. Cater, 16, laboring in farm
  • Martha A. Cater, 11
  • Rebecca Cater, 9

There were 10 slaves, ranging in age from 38 to 6.

Cater enlisted in the 40th Mississippi Infantry Regiment, Company C along with some of his cousins. He saw service at Vicksburg, Corinth, and Battle of Peachtree Creek in Atlanta, where he was wounded. For several months he was in the military hospital at Macon.

He married Rosa Rebecca Pressly Hutchison on October 14, 1865 in Lowndesville, Abbeville, SC; she was the widow of Benjamin Fayette Hutchison.

Their children were

  • Emma Irving Cater. Born 1867 in South Carolina. Married Edward Lawrence Milam. Died August 20, 1932 in Marietta, Cobb, GA. Buried in Crest Hill Cemetery in Marietta.
  • Willie Pressly Cater. Born June 26, 1868 in South Carolina.  Married Robert H. Pressly on June 26, 1889. Died March 27, 1956 in Atlanta, Fulton, GA. Buried in Old Casey Cemetery in Atlanta.
  • Hattie Belle Cater. Born 1870. Married John Floyd Clower II on May 28, 1889. Died April 2, 1958 in AL.
  • Josiah Brison Cater. Born August 17, 1873. Died May 20, 1956 in San Diego, CA.

In the 1870 federal census for Sweetwater, Monroe Co., TN, the Cater family was listed as:

  • John Cater, 26, farm laborer.
  • Rose Cater, 24, keeping house.
  • Emma Cater, 4.
  • Willie Cater, 2.

On October 8, 1876, Rosa filed for divorce. The abstract from the Chancery Court records for Monroe Co., TN (Monroe County, Tennessee Chancery Court Records 1832-1887. Researched and Compiled by Reba Bayless Boyer. 1988) follows:

R. Rosa Cater v. John R. Cater. Field 8 Oct. 1876. Bill for divorce. His residence unknown. Married in Loundsville [sic], Abbeville Co., S.C. 14 Oct. 1865; moved to Sweetwater in 1869; he left her and four small children in 1872; she asks divorce, restoration of maiden name of Hutcheson, and custody of children.

On January 7, 1880, John Richard Cater married Permelia Frances Jones in Colbert Co., AL.

In the 1880 federal census for Chickasaw, Colbert Co., AL, John Cater was living with his second wife:

  • John Cater, 34, farmer
  • Permelia Cater, 20, housekeeper.

The following article appeared in the Abbeville Press and Banner on November 22, 1899:

Mr. John R. Cater, youngest brother of the Misses Cater of this city, left Abbeville in 1867 and for the past 32 years has not been heard from, but now returns from Sheffield, Ala., on a visit to home folks and friends in the Old Palmetto State.  His arrival was quite a delightful surprise, making many hearts to rejoice.

In the 1900 federal census for Sheffield, Colbert Co., AL, the family was listed as:

  • John Cater, born Nov 1844, 55, married 20 years, nurse
  • Cornela [sic] Cater, born May 1859, married 20 years, 8 of 9 children alive
  • Tom Cater, born July 1882, 17
  • Andrew Cater, born Sept 1883, 16
  • Dean Cater, born Apr 1886, 14
  • Eula Cater, born July 1888, 11
  • ? Cater, born July 1890, 9
  • Janie Cater, born 1894, 6
  • Pearl Cater, born 1896, 4

In the 1910 federal census for Sheffield, Colbert Co., AL, the family was erroneously listed as Carter:

  • John R. Carter, 65, married 24 years, accountant?
  • Polly Carter, 51, 8 of 10 children surviving
  • Dean Carter, 24, railroad
  • Eula Carter, 22
  • Mary Carter, 17
  • Pearl Carter, 15
  • Janie Carter, 8

In the 1920 federal census for Sheffield, Colbert Co., AL, the family at 710 Atlanta Avenue was listed as:

  • J. R. Cater, Sr., 76
  • Permelia Cater, 60
  • Richard D. Cater, 32, electrician
  • Mary Estelle Cater, 17, telephone operator

John Richard Cater died on April 7, 1924 in Sheffield, Colbert, AL.

The following obituary is from the Sheffield Standard for April 11, 1924:

Confederate Veteran Passes to Final Reward

Mr. John R. Cater, Sr., died at his late residence, 132 Wood Avenue, Sheffield, at 3:45 p. m., April 7th.  Mr. Cater was born in Abbeville, S. C., November 13th, 1844, moving to Mississippi prior to the Civil War. He enlisted in the 4th Mississippi Regiment, C.S.A., serving throughout the entire war, receiving two serious wounds during his service that later caused him to retire from activities as a railway engineer. He moved to Colbert County in 1879, marrying Permilla Frances Jones on January 7th, 1880.  Ten children were born of this Union, and he is survived by his wife and seven children:

John R. Cater, Jr., Andrew and Richard Dean Cater, Mrs. Eula C. Reeder, Mrs. N. W. Smith, Mrs. W. P. Azbell and Miss Estelle Cater, all of Sheffield; also seven grand-children namely: Henry A. Cater of Texas; Mrs. J. S. Wilson of Wilson Dam[;] Harry Jackson and Jane Frances Reeder, Mary Maxwell and Virginia Frances Azbell and Henry Cater, of Sheffield.

Funeral services were held from the home at 3:00 o'clock, Tuesday afternoon and were conducted by Rev. Herman L. Turner of the Presbyterian Church. Interment followed in Oakwood Cemetery.

The sympathy of the entire community is extended to his bereaved widow and children.

Willie Pressly Cater (1869-1956)

Photograph of Willie P. Cater

Willie Pressly Cater was born on June 26, 1868 in South Carolina, the daughter of John Richard Cater and Rosa Rebecca Pressly.

In 1869, the Cater family moved to Sweetwater, TN.  In 1872, according to court papers, John R. Cater left his family.  Around 1881 Rosa Rebecca Pressly Cater and her family moved to Atlanta.  On June 26, 1889, she married Robert H. Pressly, her cousin who had recently joined the Atlanta Fire Department.  For more information about their family, see the material on Robert Henry Pressly.

Willie Pressly Cater outlived her husband by 26 years.  She died March 27, 1956 in Atlanta, Fulton, GA and is buried in Old Casey Cemetery in Atlanta.

The following obituary is from the Atlanta Journal:

Mrs. R. H. Pressly Died at 87; Rites To Be Thursday

Mrs. R. H. (Willie P.) Pressly, Sr., died Tuesday morning at her home, 1720 Westhaven Dr., SW.

Mrs. Pressly, a native of Abbeville, S.C., had lived in Atlanta since she was a little girl. A son, J. A. Pressly, is a pressman with the Atlanta Journal.

Mrs. Pressly was a member of the Georgia Avenue Presbyterian Church.  Her late husband was a former assistant fire chief.

Funeral services will be held at 2:30 p.m. Thursday at Georgia Avenue church.  The Rev. George Hayward will officiate.  Burial will be in Casey Cemetery.

Other survivors include a son, R. H. Pressly, Jr. of Atlanta; a daughter, Mrs. Alvin Copeland Sr. of Lake Worth, Fla., and a sister, Mrs. John F. Clower of Montevallo, Alabama.