Cater Clan: Touring Kansas Cemeteries with Phil Carter

Philip Carter was born April 2, 1904. Nearing his 100th birthday, he visited Topeka in Dec. 2003, traveling from his home in Boulder, CO. While in Northeast Kansas Phil likes to visit family gravesites. He begins at the historic Simerwell Cemetery, in southern Shawnee County.

Phil's older brother, Gordon, and one of his wives is buried in the Simmerwell Cemetery

The Reverand Robert Simerwell came to Kansas in 1833, traveling with a band of Pottawattomie Indians who were being relocated into Kansa Indian territory. After serving at two Indian missions in what is now Johnson County, he and his wife, Fannie helped run the Pottawattomie Indian Mission five miles west of Topeka, from 1848 until they retired from missionary work in 1854 and settled in the area. The mission building still stands on land at the Kansas Historical Society History Museum.

Phil's parents, J.E. and Emily Carter, are buried in the Eskridge Cemetery, Wasbaunsee County, Kansas
Phil Carter, age 99, visits the Simerwell Cemetery near Auburn, Kansas
Above, top: Grave of Phil's parents, John Elam and Emily Carter. They are buried in the Eskridge Cemetery.

Above, bottom: Dr. Philip Carter received honors in July 2003 in Denver, Colorado, bestowed by the College of Veteranary Medicine at Kansas State University. Phil graduated from the program in 1926. In this photo he stands in the Simerwell Cemetery, near the Wakarusa River, east of Auburn, Kansas.

All photos © 2003 by Carol Yoho
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Elizabeth Simerwell Carter is believed to be the first white girl born in Kansas (1-24-1835). Her father, Rev. Robert Simerwell, was a missionary. He served at the Baptist Mission in current day Johnson County at the time of Elizabeth's birth. Her mother was Fannie Simerwell.

Phil's great-aunt, Elizabeth, is believed to be the first white child born in Kansas

Elizabeth was aunt to John Elam Carter, Phil's father. John Elam came to live with her and his uncle, John S. Carter, at the age of 12. In 1881 John Elam Carter married Anna Simerwell, a neice of Elizabeth. Anna died in 1883, perhaps in childbirth. Philip's mother, Emily Parker Carter, was J.E.'s second wife.