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January 24, 2013 / Joanne Yeck

The Carter Woodson Family


Yesterday, I mentioned Carter Woodson, Sr., the grandfather of one of Buckingham’s most famous sons, Dr. Carter G. Woodson (1875-1950), pictured above.

His grandfather, Carter Woodson, was a talented carpenter and lived as a slave in Fluvanna County and as a free man in Buckingham County.

By the 1830s, Carter Woodson, his wife, and his first family were the property of a man named John W. “Jack” Toney, who lived across the James River from Buckingham in Fluvanna County. The origin of Carter’s surname is unknown; however, an 18th-century marriage connected Toney’s family to William Woodson, who owned land in Buckingham on Randolph’s Creek, near the Cumberland County border and Dr. Carter G. Woodson’s birthplace.

Sometime before emancipation or soon after, Carter Woodson came to live in Buckingham where he married a woman named Sidney, who was the property of James Harris, and lived on one of his plantations in the northeast corner of Buckingham. While still enslaved, Carter and Sidney were members of Buckingham’s Sharon Baptist Church and church records indicate they were both Harris’ property. They were members in good standing, and in January of 1870, Sharon’s Clerk recorded that letters of dismissal were granted to the couple, allowing them to transfer their membership to an African-American church.

I’m very interested in learning more about the descendants of Carter Woodson, Sr., especially the children he had with Sidney.


Leave a Comment
  1. Travis Adams / Apr 2 2021 1:21 pm

    Hello. Do you know if Carter Woodson Sr. had a son named Charles Woodson? I believe this charles woodson was from his “first family”. But im not sure. Thank you

    • Joanne Yeck / Apr 2 2021 1:35 pm


      I don’t believe Carter Woodson, Sr. had a son Charles in his second family. Unfortunately, I don’t have details about his first family. Good luck in your research!


      • Travis / Apr 2 2021 1:52 pm

        Thank you for your help! My 4th great grandfather was a former slave named Charles Woodson born in 1828 in the buckingham/curdsville VA area. Ancestry says his father was Carter Woodson Sr with no mother named. This same carter Woodson sr on ancestry is married to Sidney as you mention in your article. My research led me to your article which shed some light as to why maybe Charles is not named as a son of Carter and Sidney. Now i am just researching for confirmation. Thank you again!

      • Joanne Yeck / Apr 2 2021 2:04 pm


        My book, “At A Place Called Buckingham,” includes a chapter about Carter G. Woodson. I mention this in a footnote: “In 1867 and 1868, a George Woodson and a John Woodson worked for P. F. Toney of Buckingham. In 1868, Charles Woodson joined them working for Toney, indicating a continuing link between white Toneys and black Woodsons. See Buckingham Personal Property Tax, 1867 and 1868, Library of Virginia, Richmond, Virginia.”

        There are many Woodsons living in the area. This Charles Woodson might or might not be related to Carter Woodson, Sr.


  2. Mary Ash / Jul 26 2016 5:07 pm

    Hi, we are trying to find out if Alexander Woodson (Lunenburg, Va) may be related to Woodson family.

    • Joanne Yeck / Jul 27 2016 1:52 pm

      Thanks for your comment. I don’t recognize Alexander Woodson of Lunenburg County. Do you have dates for him? Birth or death. Thanks, Joanne

  3. sharonj50 / Apr 9 2016 7:30 pm

    Reblogged this on jonesssharon270wordpresscpm and commented:
    i would like to know about his family from buckingham in newcanton and my mother was a toney dont know if itis the same toney his family came from

    • Joanne Yeck / Apr 10 2016 8:17 am

      Thanks for your comment. I suspect that the Buckingham and Fluvanna County (and environs) Toneys are from the same family. My book, “At a Place Called Buckingham,” contains a chapter about Carter G. Woodson and his Buckingham County roots. Click here for more: Also you might find more that interests you at Slate River Ramblings by searching. If you haven’t already, try searching keywords like: New Canton, Toney, Woodson, etc.

  4. maleaha / Feb 1 2015 9:09 am

    do you know what the name of his kids are?

    • Joanne Yeck / Feb 1 2015 2:13 pm

      Thanks for your question. Whose children are you interested in? Carter Woodson, Sr.?

    • Judith K. Claire / Feb 20 2015 11:17 am

      Herta Woodson- Washington DC was married to a WDC

  5. Rose / Feb 7 2014 7:35 pm

    Do you know anything about John Morton Nicholas and Carter G. Woodson connection.

    • Joanne Yeck / Feb 7 2014 9:41 pm

      Rose, I don’t know of any connection. Joanne

  6. Bill Davidson / Jan 25 2013 9:45 am

    Do you know the ancestry of the John W. “Jack” Toney in Fluvanna Co., VA who you mentioned? My wife is a descendant of Bishop Toney and Sarah Ashlin Ashley, via their son John Toney (born about 1756 in Goochland Co., VA) who married Mary Fletcher. Bishop Toney was a grandson of the William Toney (born about 1634 in England) who married Ann Bishop, and a son of the Alexander Kaster Toney who married Elizabeth Gilliam.

    Some show that the Edmund Toney (born about 1760) who lived in Buckingham Co., VA was another descendant of William Toney and Ann Bishop, via one of their other sons who was also named William Toney. Edmund Toney’s father was apparently yet another/later/third William Toney who married Margaret Sutherland. Thanks.

    • Joanne Yeck / Jan 25 2013 9:58 am


      I don’t know much about Jack Toney’s background; though, as you know, the family spread along both sides of the James River in Fluvanna and Buckingham. I do have this about the Woodson connection:

      In about 1773, Mary Ann (a.k.a. Marian/Marion) Toney married Jesse Woodson of Cumberland County. His father was William Woodson of Buckingham County, who lived in the northeast corner of Buckingham near the Cumberland County border. In 1804, “Marion” Woodson was named by her father, William Toney of Franklin County, Virginia, in his will, dated December 30, 1804. In it he also names a son, John, along with other children. It is not currently known how John W. Toney of Fluvanna might relate to William Toney. See Elma Henning and Merle Rummel, “The Toney Family History” (Baltimore, MD: Gateway Press, 1979).


  1. Dr. Carter G. Woodson: Father of Black History | slate river ramblings . . . .

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