George Washington Carper was born on April 7th, 1831 to Joseph and Virginia (Shumate) Carper, the third of eleven children. The family lived in Brush Creek, Virginia when George was born and lived there for his entire childhood. Brush Creek is part of West Virginia now and is a small unincorporated coal town.
When George was eighteen, he married Delilah Phipps on November 29th, 1849 in Fayette County, West Virginia. (Then Virginia, as well.) The couple took up residence in Frederick County, Virginia where George is listed as a Farmer on the 1850 census.
In November of 1851, George and Delilah’s first child was born, a girl, Mary Elizabeth. Mary Was born in Raleigh, Virginia and was the oldest of fourteen kids, including my own great-great grandmother, Eliza Ann.
The 1860 census finds the family living in an area called Scotts Ridge in Raleigh county, Virigina. The nearest post office was in a small town called Table Rock. I’m not sure if the town is still in existence, though the post office is not. George was again listed as a Farmer.
The Civil War began in April of 1861. On September 12th, 1862 George enlisted in Charleston, Virginia. He was 35 years old and listed as a Private in the 36th Regiment Battle Unit of the Virginia Infantry, Company C, 2nd Kanawha Infantry – The Raleigh Rangers. It looks like the Rangers unit was reorganized in May of 1862 and maybe George went home then, because in late December of 1862, George and Delilah had another daughter born to them. He was certainly home sometime during that spring! You can read a bit more about the 36th Regiment here.
The 1880 census finds George and Delilah still living in West Virginia, (which by now IS West Virginia, having seceded from Virginia.) George is still listed as a Farmer at 49 years of age. About 1885 they have emigrated to Promise, Oregon where Delilah passes away on April 4th, 1904 at the age of 70 years.
George is a preacher as well as a farmer. This is a 1901 picture of the congregation of the Wallowa Christian Church in Oregon where it is said that George preached.
This one was taken in 1910 at a Carper wedding in Promise, Oregon that George officiated. He is the gentleman with the white whiskers and black hat on the left hand side of the picture. (These two photographs, the one of the church congregation and the one of the wedding were shared by a user on Ancestory.com. Thank you for that!)
George was lonely after Delilah passed away, so in 1905, at the age of 74, he married Caroline Lyon Griffith in Wallowa, Oregon.
George passed away January 5th, 1910 at the age of 79. He is buried in the cemetery in Promise, Oregon.
Following is the text from his obituary printed in a local paper:
Pioneer Preacher Dies at Promise
Rev. G.W. Carper 40 years in ministry-First Preacher in Promise
Rev. G.W. Carper, first preacher in Promise and one of the first settlers in that community, died at his home on January 5, 1910, lacking but 2 months and 2 days of being 80 years of age. He had been 40 years a preacher and had spent an active life much of it on the frontier of Oregon.
George Washington Carper was born in West Virginia April 7, 1830. He and the wife of his youth together united with the Christian Church early in life. Mr. and Mrs. Carper about 15 years ago came to Promise where some of their children had already come. Mr. Carper preached the first sermon ever preached in Promise in Mr. Mann’s house in June 1885. Most of the time since then he has lived in Promise and preached in different parts of the country until the state of his health prevented him from such labors. During the last few months, Mr. Carper has been a constant sufferer. His life came to a peaceful close January 5, 1910. The funeral services were held at Promise school house conducted by Rev. Fred G. Potter. The remains were laid in the Promise cemetery where his first wife was buried several years ago. Mr. Carper was the head of a large family. He was the father of 13 children, three of whom died in childhood, two live in West Virginia and eight live in the Promise country and were near him at the time of his death. He had nearly 100 grand children and about 35 great grand children. Very fittingly was he generally called Grandpa Carper. A wife who has been a comfort to his declining days, also remains to mourn for him. Death came to his as a relief from toil and suffering. He was cheered by the hope of immortality in the blissful beyond in which he had so great faith.
(George was my 3rd great-grandfather.)