Carson, Samuel Price (1798–1838)

By: Joe E. Ericson

Type: Biography

Published: 1952

Updated: May 13, 2022

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 Hamilton 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).

Time Periods:
  • Republic of Texas

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

Joe E. Ericson, “Carson, Samuel Price,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed July 01, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

May 13, 2022