While our physical offices are closed until further notice in accordance with Austin's COVID-19 "stay home-work safe" order, the Handbook of Texas will remain available at no-cost for you, your fellow history enthusiasts, and all Texas students currently mandated to study from home. If you have the capacity to help us maintain our online Texas history resources during these uncertain times, please consider making a 100% tax-deductible contribution today. Thank you for your support of TSHA and Texas history. Donate Today »


Joe E. Ericson

CARSON, SAMUEL PRICE (1798–1838). Samuel Price Carson, planter and lawmaker, son of John and Mary (Moffitt) Carson, was born at Pleasant Gardens, North Carolina, on January 22, 1798. The elder Carson was a "man of means and an iron will" who represented Burke County in the North Carolina General Assembly for many years. Samuel Carson was educated in the "old Field school" until age nineteen, when his brother, Joseph McDowell Carson, began teaching him grammar and directing a course of reading to prepare him for a political career. As a young man Carson also attended camp meetings with his Methodist mother and was often called upon to lead congregational singing.

In 1822 he was elected to the North Carolina Senate. Two years later he was chosen to the first of his four terms (1825–33) as a member of the United States House of Representatives, where he became a close friend of David Crockett. Carson was defeated in 1833 because he had supported John C. Calhoun's nullification meeting in spite of his constituents' disapproval. He was reelected to the North Carolina Senate in 1834 and was selected as a delegate to the North Carolina Constitutional Convention in 1835. His failing health prompted him to move to a new home in Mississippi. In a very short time, however, he moved on to Lafayette (now Miller) County, Arkansas, an area then claimed by both Texas and Arkansas. On February 1, 1836, he was elected one of five delegates to represent Pecan Point and its vicinity at the Convention of 1836. On March 10 he reached Washington-on-the-Brazos and immediately signed the Texas Declaration of Independence.

With regard to legislative and constitution-drafting experience, Carson was the outstanding member of the convention. On March 17 he was nominated, along with David G. Burnet, for president ad interim of the Republic of Texas, but he was defeated by a vote of 29 to 23. Thereupon Carson was elected secretary of state, an office he held only a few months. On April 1, 1836, President Burnet sent him to Washington to help George C. Childress and Robert Hamiltonqqv secure financial and other aid for the infant republic. In May, Burnet wrote Carson asking him to resign because of his poor health, but Carson evidently did not receive the letter. When Carson read in a June newspaper that two other men were the only authorized agents for Texas, he retired in disgust to his Arkansas home.

On May 10, 1831, he married Catherine Wilson, daughter of James and Rebecca Wilson of Burke County, North Carolina. The couple had a daughter. They also adopted Carson's illegitimate daughter, Emily, whose mother was Emma Trout, a North Carolina neighbor of Carson's. Carson died on November 2, 1838, at Hot Springs and was buried there in the United States government cemetery. Carson County, Texas, is named in his honor.

Michael R. Hill, The Carson House of Marion, North Carolina (MS, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin, 1982). Louis Wiltz Kemp, The Signers of the Texas Declaration of Independence (Salado, Texas: Anson Jones, 1944; rpt. 1959). Rupert N. Richardson, "Framing the Constitution of the Republic of Texas," Southwestern Historical Quarterly 31 (January 1928). Texas House of Representatives, Biographical Directory of the Texan Conventions and Congresses, 1832–1845 (Austin: Book Exchange, 1941).

Image Use Disclaimer

All copyrighted materials included within the Handbook of Texas Online are in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 related to Copyright and “Fair Use” for Non-Profit educational institutions, which permits the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA), to utilize copyrighted materials to further scholarship, education, and inform the public. The TSHA makes every effort to conform to the principles of fair use and to comply with copyright law.

For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml

If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.


The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Handbook of Texas Online, Joe E. Ericson, "CARSON, SAMUEL PRICE," accessed July 07, 2020, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fca67.

Uploaded on June 12, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
visit the mytsha forums to participate

View these posts and more when you register your free MyTSHA account.

Call for Papers: Texas Center for Working-Class Studies Events, Symposia, and Workshops
Hi all! You may be interested in this call for papers I received from the Texas Center for Working-Class Studies at Collin College...

Katy Jennings' Ride Scholarly Research Request
I'm doing research on Catherine Jennings Lockwood, specifically the incident known as "Katy Jennings' Ride." Her father was Gordon C. Jennings, the oldest man to die at the Alamo...

Texas Constitution of 1836 Co-Author- Elisha Pease? Ask a Historian
The TSHA profile of Elisha Marshall Pease states that he wrote part of the Texas Constitution although he was only a 24 year-old assistant secretary (not elected). I cannot find any other mention of this authorship work by Pease in other credible research about the credited Constution authors...