In 1832 he was 25, and taking a chance—as well as a $300 cut in pay—to join his former colleague John Pratt at a new educational startup in Ohio. Pratt was the first principal of the Granville Literary and Theological Institution, later named Granville College and then Denison University. Resources were thin, and Pratt desperately needed a teacher for the 60 young men expected in the next term.
Carter arrived in Granville in time to find the first college building burned to the ground before it had even been put to use. Over the next quarter of a century, Pratt and Carter were the institution’s two indispensable pillars, sometimes more like a pair of comrades-in-arms than teachers. Carter’s load included teaching mathematics, natural philosophy, astronomy, languages, and all of the instruction in chemistry and geology. He also served as the college’s treasurer, struggling to make ends meet through periods of perilous debt.
For two decades, Carter carried the onerous weight of this fledgling college’s teaching and fiscal management, and it seems he also carried its daily mail. His daughter, Sarah Carter Hallam, donated this vividly striped carpet and leather mailbag to Denison’s archives in 1926. The college campus in Carter’s time stood on a farm south of town, so his appointed rounds would have meant that long muddy mile crossing Raccoon Creek, carrying the daily post to and from the village through rain, snow, sleet, and hail with this colorful satchel on his shoulder.