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Bettie Morton Carrington


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Bettie Morton Carrington
Bettie Morton Carrington
Historic Hillsborough Commission


Bettie Carrington appears in the United States Census of 1850 [1] and the United States Census of 1860 [2] for the Southern District of Halifax County, VA, in the family of William W. Carrington, MD, 42, of Halifax, and his wife, Jane W. Carrington, 40, born in Charlotte County, VA. Bettie’s parents were first cousins. William was the son of George Carrington, and Jane was the daughter of George’s brother Clement Carrington, both being the sons of Paul Carrington. In the United States Census of 1850 [1], page 68, Bettie is referred to as Elizabeth M. Carrington (age 9), and is one of seven children. Her siblings were Virginia (15), Thomas R (14), Clement (12), Susan (6), Mary (4), and Willie Ann (1). Dr. Carrington also lists 17 employees, including boatmen, factory hands, “horseler,” shoemaker and blacksmith. Dr. Carrington’s real estate was valued at $60,000.

In the 1860 census, William and Jane Carrington, 52 and 50, were living with Clement (22), Bettie (18), Susan (14), Mary (12), Willie Ann (11) and an eighth child, William K (9). William Carrington’s occupation was listed as “farmer.” His personal estate was valued at $100,575 and his real estate at $138,500.

Bettie attended the Burwell School about 1855-56; she would have been around 14 to15 years of age. In her diary, Mrs. Burwell refers to a girl named  "Bettie"  who visited Mrs. Burwell to say goodnight, stayed to chat and later played the piano for the other girls to dance in the parlor. It is possibly Bettie Carrington to whom she referred.

In the United States Census of 1880 [3] for the “East End of Black Walnut Township,” page 38, Bettie’s mother Jane Carrington, widow, is shown as “keeping house” with her youngest child, William, 29, and one servant.

Bettie married James Dinwiddie (1837 – 1907) on May 7, 1862 and they had ten children: John, James, Jane, Clement, Nannie, Maude, Mary, Susan, William and Bettie. James Dinwiddie (who had no middle name) was a graduate of the University of Virginia and served in the Confederate Army.

The James Dinwiddie family, including wife Bettie, age 27, appears on page 100 in the United States Census of 1870 [4] for Ward #3,Lexington, Fayette Co, KY, where James, 32, was a teacher at the Sayre Female Academy. The family included children James, Nannie, Susan and Jane. Directly above the listing for James and Bettie is that for John Dinwiddie,35, presumably James’ brother, his wife Eliza, 33, and their daughter Nannie, 5. A number of teachers and staff are listed, and along the side, in the margin, is written, “Sayre Female Academy.” The Principal is Henry(B.or R.) McClellan.

In the United States Census of 1900 [5] for Wake County, NC, James Dinwiddie is listed, with several of his daughters, and is principal and teacher at Peace Institute in Raleigh, which later became Peace College. A history of Peace College in the online archives of Peace provides a thorough and glowing account of the role of Robert Burwell and his son John Bott Burwell as the first two principals of Peace Institute. James Dinwiddie succeeded the Burwells as principal of Peace Institute from 1890 – 1907 and was much loved and respected. Dr. Dinwiddie was the last outright owner of Peace Institute. The Dinwiddies’ daughter Nannie was an important fixture at Peace Institute for many years and was the embodiment of gentility, style, standards of conduct, and culture. She eventually retired to Washington DC and died in 1946.

Bettie died in 1898 at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, MD, from complications following an appendectomy. Dr. Dinwiddie died on a visit to his son’s home in San Francisco, 1907.

James and Bettie Carrington Dinwiddie are buried in Raleigh. Handsome Dinwiddie Chapel at Peace College is named in his honor; outside the entrance to the Chapel, which is on the second floor of the main building at Peace, are large oil portraits of Robert Burwell and John Burwell.

The connections between the Burwells and the Dinwiddies live on beyond their contributions to Peace Institute; the Dinwiddie’s daughter Mary Morton Dinwiddie married a grandson of the Burwells in Raleigh, Edmund Burwell Crow, who was the son of Anna Burwell Crow, Robert and Anna Burwell’s daughter. Two of their descendants live in Raleigh as of 2010.

The Carrington home where Bettie grew up still stands along a very old road on beautiful farm and wooded land near the southern Halifax County; called “Oak Cliff” it remains in the family.

Biographical Data

Bettie was called Bettie.

Important Dates

Bettie Morton Carrington was born on August 14, 1841. She died on March 21, 1898, and was buried in Oakwood Cemetery, Raleigh, NC.

Places of Residence

Schools Attended



  1. United States Census of 1850.
  2. United States Census of 1860.
  3. United States Census of 1880.
  4. United States Census of 1870.
  5. United States Census of 1900.