McDuffie County historian discovers roots of President Carter

Published: Feb. 21, 2023 at 11:00 PM EST
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THOMSON, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - A historian in Thomson is reflecting on former President Jimmy Carter’s ties to his backyard and what it means to have a little piece of him here.

While many view the Ansley House as the sole local tie to Carter, his roots run a lot deeper than that.

It’s made one local historian dive deeper.

“Nobody knows, nobody cares. It’s all true though,” said Lewis Smith, McDuffie Museum, historian.

While the Ansley Rock House is as sturdy as its name, Carter’s fourth great-grandmother’s home is still standing after all these years. All signs the Carter side of the family was ever in Thomson are gone.

“Most people don’t know that. I didn’t know it myself until about three years ago,” he said.

James Carter planted his family’s roots in Wrightsboro’s Quaker settlement around 1768.


“You got James Carter lived here. Then you have his son, Kindred Carter lived here. And his son Wiley Carter lived here,” he said.

Wiley married his neighbor Ann Ansley and moved to Plains after a stint in Glascock County.

“Who else were they going to marry? There was nobody else up here but like those three, four, or five families. They were neighbors, they played with each other, the Ansley’s had eight kids,” said Smith.

Just like the branches of a family tree spread so did the Carter’s impact. While the Ansley house has a corner spread in the McDuffie Museum, the Carter family has a drawer.

“There’s nothing in here. You didn’t see anything except that one little display thing. But I mean, this is Jimmy Carter’s ancestral home,” said Smith.

We also found that President Carter and Barry Gordy III who founded Motown Records are second cousins. The two share a great-grandfather, James Thomas Gordy.