Farewell to Jennie Carter

Jennie Carter wrote for The Elevator from July 1867 to December 1874. She may have written more, but a number of issues of The Elevator are missing in the years leading up to her death in 1881. Her last offering was a story for Christmas, not a cheerful tale, but a true tale of rival cousins that ended in tragedy on a Southern plantation.

Have you often thought, dear reader, that this world would be far nicer if no one said harsh things, never reproved when necessary, if they had heard wrong, smile and pass on. There are many, yes, the majority who do just do, others like true heroes, count the cost and speak against wrong. Those are our moral surgeons who sever a limb that the body may live.

Jennie Carter: A Black Journalist of the Early West, pp. 129 (19 December 1874)

Jennie was just such a “moral surgeon,” who did not hesitate to call out wrongs, whether it was the evils of slavery or drunkenness on the street. She wrote in support of women’s rights, temperance, equal education for all children, and the rights of black citizens to have a say in government and community affairs.

Jennie died on August 10, 1881 of what sounds like a heart attack. She was only 50 years old, possibly 51. (My thanks to the author of Following Deer Creek, a Nevada County blog, for making this obituary available.)

The Daily Transcript (Nevada City) 12 August 1881

“When I die, I hope no one will eulogize me, but simply say Mrs. Trask has gone to sleep. That will be the truth.” Jennie Carter, writing as “Semper Fidelis,” The Elevator 9 December 1867.

About nancyleek

Nancy is a retired librarian who lives in Chico, California. She is the author of John Bidwell: The Adventurous Life of a California Pioneer.
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