The Real Jeb and Dash: The Quest for Carter & Isham
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Carter Synoptic Bio

Carter Bealer, 1937


Pseudonymously christened ‘Jeb Alexander’ by his niece Ina Russell in her edited, published version of his diaries Jeb and Dash: A Diary of a Gay Life, 1918 - 1945, Carter Newman Bealer was born in Atlanta, Georgia on October 17, 1899[1], but his real story begins at the age of twelve with the diaries he would keep for the next fifty or so years, stopping just a year before his death in 1965.[2] The reported fifty volumes of diaries that Ina distilled into one book chronicles Carter’s life and his longtime friendship with Isham W. Perkins (Dash), as well as a host of other friends, coworkers, acquaintances and family members—the events largely centered around Washington, DC.  
The simple death announcement in a local Washington, DC newspaper quietly distilled Carter’s life into the fragile sentence: “On Tuesday, May 11, 1965, Carter Newman Bealer.”
[3] As ordinary as this notice was, Carter’s life was not indistinct. Without his diaries and, perhaps just as importantly, the edited published version thereof, we would know nothing of his compelling story as a gay man living in the first half of twentieth century America. 
Carter’s story, as presented by Ina, begins in 1918, the year he entered college, and ends in 1945, some 20 years before his death. Though his diaries, according to Russell, actually span the years 1912 - 1964, these early and later diary entries were omitted from the work because, as Ina wrote, “Some early entries had charm, but domestic history of the time is well known and nothing new seemed to emerge.”
[4]  And as for the later years, Ina writes that Carter “…quietly reported ‘the nothingness of the last eighteen years…’”[5] 
Though Carter’s story as reflected in the published diaries begins in the year 1918, when he is 18 years old, he began his life in Atlanta, Georgia, the second son born to Pierre McFarland and Alba (Newman) Bealer. It was, as it turned out, not the place where Carter and his family would put down their roots.
In the published version of Carter’s diaries, in an entry dated 1 June 1919, Carter writes, “Today is the anniversary of the death of my real mother.” But according to published reports, Alba (Newman) Bealer died January 12, 1904, not June, in Atlanta, Georgia; she would have been 31 years of age.
[6][7] Several days after she gave birth to their first daughter, the baby passed away and Alba was stricken with diphtheria, dying a few days later.[8] Carter was four years old at the time, as he states in the published diary entry. His brother Pierre M. Jr. was the oldest and his brother Lewis the youngest, there being about two years difference between Carter and his older and younger brothers.* Carter viewed this event as having played a pivotal role in his life, lamenting on more than one occasion in the published diaries “…how much richer and happier would our lives have been had she lived.”[9] 
At the time of Alba’s death, Carter’s father was already a manager for the Great Atlantic and Pacific (A & P) Tea Company in Atlanta, Georgia,**
[10] a company for which he would work for the remainder of his long career.[11] On October 12, 1905, Pierre married Ernestine Alberti Brumby, less than two years following Alba’s death,[12] and just five days before Carter’s sixth birthday. They were married in Winder, Georgia, and the ceremony was performed by Pierre’s brother, the Reverend Alexander Bealer.[13] Ernestine was 26 years of age and Pierre was 37 years old. Ina, either according to her own pronouncement or perhaps Carter’s habit, refers to Ernestine in the published diaries as ‘Mama.’ Ernestine was born in Athens, Georgia on February 16, 1879, and her marriage to Pierre produced three more children: Dorothea (1906), Hartford (1909), and Edwin (1915).[14]  Dorothea was Ina’s mother.[15] 
Pierre Sr. moved the family to Washington, DC circa 1908, where his career was identified closely with the merchandising growth of the A & P Company.
[16] According to the 1910 U.S. Census and personal letters, Carter and his family were living at 1837 Monroe Street in the Mount Pleasant area not far from their future home at 1424 Longfellow Street, NW in a part of the city known as the Brightwood area.[17][18] The home on Longfellow is the one pictured in Jeb and Dash that Ina includes, and the home where Carter, as an adult, spent time with his family on Sundays, according to the published diaries.
Carter’s first and middle names were given to him as a namesake of his mother’s brother, Charles Carter (C.C.) Newman.
[19] Alba was the daughter of Mrs. J.S. (Elberta Lewis) Newman and Professor James Stanley (J.S.) Newman, professor of agriculture at Clemson College in South Carolina.[20] Though it’s impossible to know without asking Ina, Carter’s pseudonym, Jeb Alexander, may have been based, in part, on his paternal uncle’s name, the Reverend Alexander Winkler Bealer or perhaps it was an homage to Ernestine’s father, Dr. Alexander Brevard Brumby.
In an entry dated Sunday, 26 May 1929 (Clemson College, South Carolina), Carter is traveling and he writes, “The train entered South Carolina and how strange it seemed to be in my mother’s [Alba’s] home state. Spartanburg, Greenville—finally Calhoun. Uncle Jeb, bald and in a white suit, was at the station to meet me. Grandmother sat in the back seat, feeble of memory.” Though Alba had more than one brother, Uncle Jeb is presumably Carter’s namesake, Charles Carter, and his grandmother was Alba’s mother, Elberta, who was about 92 years old at this time; she would pass away by that December.
[21] Calhoun is adjacent to Clemson, South Carolina, where Clemson College (as it was designated then, not a university as it is known today) is located. Both Alba’s father, James Stanley Newman, and her brother, Charles Carter Newman, taught at Clemson College where there is a building named in their honor, Newman Hall.[22] James Stanley Newman was professor of Agriculture from 1892 - 1905, and Charles Carter was professor of horticulture from 1899 - 1946.[23] It seems fitting that Carter was named after this uncle, because he too would go on to have a long career in the field of agriculture, albeit with the United States government and in an entirely different vein than that of his grandfather and uncle.

After working in an editorial capacity for the United States Department of Agriculture in Washington, DC for nearly 35 years, Carter retired on February 28, 1958, at the age of 58.[24] He travelled abroad often during his lifetime, and he continued to travel after his retirement.[25] He passed away 7 years later on May 11, 1965,[26] at the age of 65. Upon his passing, Carter bequeathed a vast collection of books, ephemera and more to his alma mater, Washington and Lee University.[27] He was laid to rest at Fort Lincoln Cemetery in Brentwood, Maryland.[28] 

This is where his legacy begins, in earnest.  

*To view a photo of Carter and his young brothers (Pierre and Lewis) posing with their father in Atlanta, Georgia, visit the Digital Library of Georgia's Vanishing Georgia project and search 'Pierre Bealer.'


**To view  a photo of Pierre Bealer in front of the store he managed in Atlanta, Georgia, visit the Digital Library of Georgia's Vanishing Georgia project, and search 'Pierre Bealer.'   



[1]"United States World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918," database with images, FamilySearch ( : 13 March 2018), Carter Newman Bealer, 1917-1918; citing District of Columbia no 10, District of Columbia, United States, NARA microfilm publication M1509 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.); FHL microfilm 1,556,845.
[2] Ina Russell, ed. Jeb and Dash, 3.

[3] “Deaths: Bealer, Carter Newman,” The Washington Post (Washington, DC), May 13, 1965, p. B4.

[4] Ina Russell, ed. Jeb and Dash, 4.

[5] Ina Russell, ed. Jeb and Dash, 6.

[6] “Mother Follows Child in Death,” The Constitution (Atlanta, GA), Wednesday January 13, 1904.

[7] Find a Grave, database and images (, memorial page for Alba “Happy” Newman Bealer (7 Sep 1872–12 Jan 1904), Find a Grave Memorial no. 83126560, citing Westview Cemetery, Atlanta, Fulton County, Georgia, USA ; Maintained by Diane Gravlee (contributor 47083760).

[8] “Mother Follows Child in Death,” The Constitution (Atlanta, GA), Wednesday January 13, 1904.

[9] Ina Russell, ed. Jeb and Dash, 21, 108.

[10] “Mother Follows Child in Death,” The Constitution (Atlanta, GA), Wednesday January 13, 1904.

[11] “Pierre M. Bealer dies at 86; Was A & P Pioneer,” The Washington Post (Washington, DC), June 24, 1954, p. 18.

[12] Ina Russell, ed. Jeb and Dash, 21. According to the published diary entry for 1 June 1919, Ernestine was Alba’s nurse.

[13] Annie Elizabeth Miller, Our Family Circle (Macon, GA: The J.W. Burke Co., 1931), 197.

[14] Annie Elizabeth Miller, Our Family Circle (Macon, GA: The J.W. Burke Co., 1931), 197.

[15] Carter Bealer. 1965. Last Will and Testament. Washington, DC.

[16] “Pierre M. Bealer dies at 86; Was A & P Pioneer,” The Washington Post (Washington, DC), June 24, 1954, p. 18.

[17] "United States Census, 1910," database with images, FamilySearch ( Pierre M Bealer, Precinct 10, Washington, District of Columbia, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) ED 220, sheet 4B, family 71, NARA microfilm publication T624 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1982), roll 155; FHL microfilm 1,374,168.

[18] “P.M. Bealer to Occupy Fine Dwelling in Longfellow Street,” The Washington Post (Washington, DC), December 27, 1914.

[19] Ina Russell, ed. Jeb and Dash, 103.

[20] William Fletcher Boogher, An Historical and Genealogical Collection, Largely from Original Sources (Baltimore, MD: Genealogical Publishing Co.), p. 254.

[21] Certificate of Death: Elberta Lewis Newman. Filed [illegible month] 30, 1930. State of South Carolina, State Board of Heath, Bureau of Vital Statistics, Reg. Dist. No. 3-a, File No. 22782. Informant: Prof. C C Newman [Charles Carter Newman, son of deceased], Anderson, South Carolina.  

[22] “Clemson University Libraries – Campus Album,” Newman Hall, accessed November 7, 2005,

[23] Priscilla Munson, Reference Librarian for History, Clemson University Libraries, email to this author, November 12, 2006.

[24] Application for Retirement: Carter Newman Bealer. February 28, 1958. Office of Personnel Management, Retirement Operations Center, Boyers, Pennsylvania.

[25] Passport No. 611787, United States of America, Department of State. Carter Newman Bealer. July 11, 1957.

[26] “Deaths: Bealer, Carter Newman,” Evening Star (Washington, DC), May 12, 1965, p. D7.

[27] Carter Bealer. 1965. Last Will and Testament. Washington, DC.

[28] “Deaths: Bealer, Carter Newman,” Evening Star (Washington, DC)