Samuel Price Carson
Samuel Price Carson, son of Col. John and Mary Moffitt McDowell Carson, was born in the Carson House in 1798. At the age of nineteen he moved to his brother's Green River plantation, where Joseph Carson taught him grammar and directed him in a course of reading with an eye toward "political advancement". Although Samuel Carson farmed for a time with his father and brothers, he was always interested in politics.
He was first elected to public office at the age of twenty-four when he was chose to represent Burke County in the State Senate. In this and a subsequent term he took an active role, introducing several bills and offering a number of petitions.In 1825, he entered the race for Congress. Some thought it brash for a twenty-six year old to aspire to such high office; however, Carson won the election.Personal hostilities that had transpired during the 1825 Congressional race carried over into the upcoming contest for Carson's re-election in 1827. Issues were debated and insults exchanged between Carson and his opponent, Dr. Robert Brank Vance of Buncombe County. It was during one of these heated arguments that Vance raised the subject of Col. John Carson having pledged loyalty to the Crown during the 1780 foray of Patrick Ferguson, in an attempt to save the cattle belonging to himself and his neighbors.
Although the Carsons denied that this ploy had anything to do with Col. John's true Patriot allegiance, the seed of doubt had been planted. The insult to the Carson name could not be ignored.Samuel Carson challenged Vance to a duel, and on November 5, 1827 the two faced off with pistols. Samuel's friend, Davy Crockett, fellow Congressman and a frequent visitor to the Carson House attended, as did John C. Calhoun. Family history relates that Calhoun picked Carson up in his personal carriage and drove him to the dueling site.Under the terms of the "code duello" Carson chose the falling mode of the weapon, while Vance chose the rising mode. One shot was fired, hitting Vance in the abdomen. The doctor died several hours later. Davy Crockett mounted his horse, and at quarter speed rode to the Carson House where he found the entire family, including several of the slaves sitting on the front porch awaiting news. His hat in tatters from using it to urge his horse onward, Crockett reined his animal in front of the house and shouted, "The victory is ours!"
Although he was re-elected to Congress, Samuel Carson, at Crockett's suggestion, later moved to Texas where he took part in many of the events preceding the siege of the Alamo. Although he was not there himself, Carson lamented the loss of his good friend, Davy Crockett. When independence was finally attained for Texas, Samuel Carson was selected as the first Secretary of State for the new republic, serving under the leadership of President Sam Houston.