Landon Carter, Revolutionary War officer and State of Franklin official, was born to John and Elizabeth Carter in Virginia, on January 29, 1760. He moved to northeast Tennessee, now Hawkins County, with his parents in 1770. In 1784 he married eighteen-year-old Elizabeth MacLin, a neighbor in the Watauga settlement, in present-day Carter County. The couple had seven children, one of whom died in infancy. The other six lived in the Carter Mansion in Elizabethton, built either by Landon or by his father in the 1780s. In addition to wealth inherited from his father, Landon was given ten thousand acres by the state of North Carolina.
Landon was educated in North Carolina and served in the Revolutionary War as a captain. In 1780 he went with John Sevier on the campaign against the Cherokees and participated at the battle of Boyd's Creek, now in Sevier County. In company with Sevier, Charles Robertson, and Francis Marion, he fought in South Carolina between 1780 and 1782. In 1788 North Carolina appointed Carter a major; in 1790 Governor William Blount made him lieutenant colonel in the Southwest Territory militia; in 1792-93 he rose to the rank of colonel.
In government activities, Carter served North Carolina, the State of Franklin, the Southwest Territory, and the State of Tennessee. In 1784 and 1789 Carter represented Washington County in the North Carolina General Assembly. In the unrecognized State of Franklin, he was Speaker of the Senate, member of the Council of State, and secretary of state. Under the territorial government, he served as treasurer of the Washington and Hamilton Districts. He represented Washington County in the Tennessee constitutional convention in 1796. He was a trustee at Martin Academy, now Washington College, and at Greeneville College, now Tusculum College.
Carter County, created in 1796, was named for Landon Carter, and the county seat, Elizabethton, was named for his wife. Landon Carter died on June 5, 1800. The Knoxville Gazette of June 25, 1800, called his death “an irreparable loss.”