Family


The Carter Cousins are a lively bunch of young children. Read more >>


Andrea Rose Carter (Andi) I’m the youngest child in a busy ranching family in 1880s California. I love to ride my palomino mare, Taffy, up to my special spot. Read more >>

Riley Jared Prescott has hazel eyes, dark hair, and a ready smile. He’s my best friend. When I’m feeling down, Riley always knows what to say to cheer me up. Read more >>


Justin Carter is my oldest brother. He is a lawyer and enjoys politics, but he can flush out a stray cow or brand a calf when he has to. He has dark hair and blue eyes. Read more >>

Lucinda Hawkins (Lucy) is married to Justin. She’s from San Francisco, but Justin clearly swept her off her feet. They married in September of 1882. Read more on Justin’s page >>


Chad Aaron Carter is doing what he always dreamed–running the Circle C ranch. He didn’t expect to take over so soon after Father died but he manages thing well. Read more >>

Ellianna Coulter (Ellie) is married to Chad. She’s from a gold camp in the Sierras. Ellie and Chad met as children. Later, she moved to Fresno. Read more on Chad’s page >>


Katherine Carter Swanson (Kate) is my oldest sister. I knew nothing about this sister who looks like me until she showed up on the ranch with three little kids. Read more >>

Troy Swanson is an all-around con man, scoundrel, and stagecoach robber. He sweet-talked Kate into running away with him and returned later and conned me. Read more >>


Mitchell James Carter (Mitch) is the youngest Carter brother. He’s easygoing and gets along with everybody, even Chad. He helps big brother run the ranch. Read more >>

Melinda Jane Carter Wilson outgrew racing her horse with me before I was ready. She’s blond, blue-eyed, and pretty. Melinda is a lady like Mother. More about Melinda & Peter >>


James and Elizabeth Carter are my parents. This picture shows them at their wedding, a year after they met in San Francisco during the California gold rush. Read about their past >>

Aunt Rebecca Carter is a blustery, bossy old lady, who is constantly trying to turn me into a proper young lady. She lives in a mansion in a rich part of San Francisco. Read more >>


Daniel Benjamin Carter is, unfortunately, my first cousin. My only cousin in fact, since Aunt Rebecca never married, and Daniel is Uncle Benjamin and Aunt Lydia’s only child. It shouldn’t have been that way. My aunt and uncle had three other children, Greta, Paul, and Ruth, but each died early in childhood from some illness or another. (Personally, I don’t think living in the middle of New York City is all that healthy). Daniel, the youngest, is their only surviving child, which might explain why he’s been allowed to get away with so much.

In looks, Daniel is a younger version of Mitch. He has a ready smile, but I don’t trust that smile. When Mitch grins, you know something good or funny is going to happen. When Daniel smiles, you know he has some scheme up his sleeve.

Daniel made my life (and Melinda’s) miserable during his stay on the Circle C ranch, when his folks sent him West in 1884. His mean tricks escalated to the point where I was ready to tell Mother everything, but fate in the form of my accident occurred.

Daniel went to jail for six months for his thievery, and Justin made sure he got on the train back to NYC when he was released. He sent a wire to Uncle Benjamin that Daniel was on his way, and we eventually got a telegram back that said Daniel had made it home safely. I didn’t hear one word about my cousin until three years later, when he showed up unannounced at Memory Creek ranch and asked for a job. “Second Chances,” from Yosemite at Last: And Other Tales from Memory Creek Ranch.

Benjamin Paul Carter is my father’s identical twin brother. He and James (my father) are ten years younger than their sister Rebecca. When they were born in Boston, Massachusetts, Rebecca was beside herself with joy at having two real “dolls” to play with. She was also old enough (age 10) to help her mother care for the babies, so it was a win-win situation. Big sister Rebecca spent more time with the twins than their parents. They were a handful, but they seemed to listen to Rebecca, and they loved her very much. (Maybe that is why Aunt Rebecca feels she can act like a mother rather than their older sister and boss all because of it.

In 1849, my father sailed with his captain father, but Benjamin stayed behind in Boston. He was not as rough and tumble as his twin brother and was prone to seasickness, while James looked for adventure and loved the sea. He also loved California and stayed behind when the gold rush exploded. Benjamin never saw his brother James again. He was caught up in city life and with making a name for himself as an architectural engineer. He even helped design the East River Bridge between Brooklyn and New York City. The “Brooklyn Bridge” still stands today. When my father died in the spring of 1874, Benjamin and his family came West f to attend Father’s funeral. According to Melinda, it was not a pleasant visit. I get a funny lump in my throat when I see Uncle Benjamin. Mother says he’s not very much like Father, but he sure looks like him. I wish Father was still alive.

Lydia Carter is Benjamin’s wife. I don’t know her very well. She lives so far away. But Aunt Rebecca and she were good friends back in Boston, until Rebecca relocated to San Francisco. Then they lost touch. I first met Aunt Lydia after my accident, when they came out to the Circle C the spring and summer we had Daniel with us. She seemed to me to be a lot like Rebecca, only much younger. She also had a sad look about her. Maybe she was still grieving for the three little children she lost. Maybe she looked at our family, all six healthy, western Carters, and felt a twinge of envy.

Whatever the reason, I knew she had spoiled her youngest son to the point of the ridiculous. She believed everything Daniel made up. And he made up a lot of stories. The worst one being that he saved my life that fateful day of my accident (instead of admitting he had been the cause). Poor Aunt Lydia! When the truth came out and Mitch punched Daniel in the jaw and knocked him down in our dining room, Aunt Lydia swooned into Uncle Benjamin’s lap. I saw it out of the corner of my eye while Justin was hauling me upstairs to my room. That was not an especially good day, and it will live in my memory forever. Mother is right, I was rude that day, and there was no excuse for talking to my aunt and uncle like I did. Since then I have apologized, and Aunt Lydia and I parted on better terms.

71 thoughts on “Family

      1. What if Sid’s daughter Ellen was previously married and had a daughter, but comes back to the ranch as a widow to live with her father. She and Mitch were roughly the same age back when they were little. Mitch helps her recover from the grief of losing her husband (Jonathan in my mind, but any name works) and they eventually get married. Her little girl could be named Laura.
        {can you tell I have given a lot of thought to this? πŸ™‚ }
        It would also be pretty cool to have both Mitch and Chad marry someone with a name like Ellie or Ellen. Very similar names.
        ~Anna Elizabeth

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    1. It’s complicated because up and coming lawyers ‘read law’ more than they attended a law school. There were hardly any law schools in the 1800s. The young lawyer student found another good lawyer to study under. So . . . it could be a couple of years or until the young lawyer convinced his mentor he was ready to strike out on his own. Hope that helped.

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      1. I thought I had read in a book by you (maybe Tales from the Circle C Ranch) that he went to law school at Harvard or Yale.
        ~Anna Elizabeth

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    1. Well . . . I was watching a couple old western TV series years and years ago, and I thought they would be vastly improved if there was a younger sibling, so that was my initial reason Andi is the youngest. I threw her into the series and then wrote fan fiction to include the youngest child.

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  1. Hey Mrs. M? This is just an idea, but could you think about telling Riley’s story? Like, when he was at the fort? That would be super cool! Thanks!

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  2. Did any other homeschoolers who only watch old shows notice Aunt Rebecca is Grandma Hanks off of Pistols and Petticoats?

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    1. @Anonymous

      Yes, it is the lady from when calls the heart I noticed that to. That is soooo funny 🀣🀣🀣🀣🀣🀣
      I just watched the new series of it with my fam!!

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  3. Hey Mrs. M! I was wondering if on Melinda’s avatar if her son William could be the same baby you have on the post the Carter Cousins? I just think he’s much more cuter and looks like Melinda! Lol! And please tell me if that doesn’t make sense.

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  4. when do u think Mitch will marry? i’d like to find him courting someone at least. he’s such a wonderful young man and would make a amazing father, don’t you think?

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  5. Hey, Mrs. M, that picture of Ellie… Did you know that was a picture of Elizabeth Thatcher (actress Erin Krakow) from When Calls the Heart? You might want to A: change the image or B: caption it ‘Erin Krakow.’

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, Baby Sammy is my grandson Levi. The name Samuel James come from my grandson, Levi’s older brother, who died soon after birth.

      Gracie is my granddaughter Julie, who is also the cover girl for all of the Circle C Stepping Stones books. πŸ˜‰

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