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Bill Thayer

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 [decorative delimiter] Class of 1880

Vol. III

(Born O.)

Oberlin M. Carter

(Ap'd at Large)


Born July 11, 1856, Perry, OH.​a

Military History. — Cadet at the Military Academy, June 14, 1876, to June 12, 1880, when he was graduated and promoted in the Army to

Second Lieut., Corps of Engineers, June 12, 1880.

Served: on Special duty at the Military Academy, July 5 to Aug. 28, 1880; with Battalion of Engineers at Willet's Point, N. Y., Nov. 27, 1880, to Oct. 31, 1882; as Engineer Officer, Department of the Missouri,

(First Lieut., Corps of Engineers, June 15, 1882)

Nov. 9, 1882, to Aug. 11, 1884; as Assistant to Col. Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Gillmore, Aug. 19, 1884, to Apr. 6, 1888, and to Col. Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Abbot, Apr. 6 to Apr. 24, 1888; in charge of Survey of Grover's Island, Ga., May 16 to June 8, 1887, — of Works of River and Harbor Improvement in Georgia and northeastern Florida, since Apr. 24, — of Works of Defense in Georgia, and of Ft. Clinch, Fla., since May 17, — of Preliminary Examinations and Surveys at different times, since Aug. 28, 1888, — of Supervision over Construction of Bridge across Oconee River at or near Dublin, Ga., since Oct. 24, 1888; assisting in Instruction and Inspection of Georgia State Militia, July, 1889; and as Member of Board on Harbor Lines of Savannah Harbor, Feb. 4, and of Brunswick Harbor, Mar. 22 to Apr. 5, 1889.

Vol. IV
[Supplement, Vol. IV: 1890‑1900]

(Oberlin Matthias​b1 Carter)

Military History. — Served: At Savannah, Ga., in charge of works and river and harbor improvements in Georgia and northeastern Florida, April 24, 1888 to July 20, 1897. — Military Attaché at the U. S. Embassy, London, England, Aug. 14 to Sep. 4, 1897. — On duty with the Nicaraguan Canal Commission, Sept. 15 to Oct., 1897. — Awaiting orders, in arrest, and awaiting sentence of General Court-Martial to ––––

Vol. V
[Supplement, Vol. V: 1900‑1910]

Military History. — Awaiting orders, in arrest, and awaiting sentence of General Court-Martial, to Oct., 1899; dismissed Sept. 29, 1899, and sentenced to pay a fine of $5,000 and be confined five years in a penitentiary, and proceedings to be published in newspapers of his state, etc.: served sentence in Fort Leavenworth prison; history afterwards unknown.​c

Vol. VI
[Supplement, Vol. VI: 1910‑1920]

(Oberlin Matthies​b2 Carter, Born July –––––, 1856.)

Military History. —

Captain, Corps of Engineers, Feb. 26, 1891.

Dismissed, Sept. 29, 1899,
Per G. O. No. 172, A. G. O., Sept. 29, 1899.

Subsequent history unknown.

Vol. VII
[Supplement, Vol. VII: 1920‑1930]

Military History: —

Captain, Corps of Engineers, Feb. 26, 1891.

Dismissed, Sept. 29, 1899,
Per G. O. No. 172, A. G. O., Sept. 29, 1899.

Subsequent history unknown.

[Supplement, Vol. VIII: 1930‑1940]

Military History: —

Capt. C. E., Feb. 26, 1891.

Dismissed, Sept. 29, 1899.

Vol. IX
[Supplement, Vol. IX: 1940‑1950]

Died, July 18, 1944, at Chicago, Ill.: Aged 88.​d

Thayer's Notes:

a Birth data from multiple online sources.

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b1 b2 In other public records, his middle name is regularly given not as here (Matthias in Vols. IV and V or Matthies in Vols. VI‑IX) but as Montgomery.

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c This was the famous Gaynor-Greene conspiracy to defraud the United States of large sums of money in connection with harbor improvements at Savannah, by means of a fraudulent scheme devised by Carter, fellow West Point graduate Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Benjamin D. Greene (q.v.), and civilians John F. Gaynor, William T. Gaynor, and Edward H. Gaynor. Carter was dismissed after a court martial, widely followed in the newspapers of the time, found him guilty of several counts of embezzlement. He himself until his death over forty years later continued to insist that he was innocent, saying in 1900, "I am entirely innocent, and I shall not rest until my innocence, proven at my military inquisition, is officially proclaimed. It was proven that not one dollar of public funds was ever misappropriated nor misapplied by me, and that the government was never defrauded through me in any manner whatever."

The subsequent history of such a high-profile man was easy to ascertain — he worked as a consulting engineer after his release from prison — and I have to assume that Gen. Cullum preferred to ignore it.

The story of the trial and the man has recently been told by Philip W. Leon in his book, First in His Class: Captain Oberlin Carter and the Savannah Harbor Scandal (Heritage Books, 2009), a synopsis of which was briefly available online in a book review in the (Charleston, SC) Post and Courier, March 28, 2010.

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d The Vol. IX Supplement merely marks Capt. Carter with an ; the death data I give are not in the Register, are the result of my own websearches, and should not be blindly trusted. They are, however, online in several places, from apparently independent sources, among which an obituary printed in the Chicago Tribune, July 22, 1944 (as transcribed by Lynn Anders at this Gallia County Genealogical Society page).

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Page updated: 15 May 16