Lorenzo Carter was the first permanent white settler of Cleveland, Ohio.
Carter was born in 1767 (sometimes reported as 1766) in Rutland, Vermont. In 1797, hoping to lead a more profitable life in the Connecticut Western Reserve, Carter relocated his family, including his wife, Rebecca Fuller, to Cleveland. The Carters arrived in Cleveland on May 2. They were the only white family in Cleveland until April 1800. Several other families settled near Cleveland before this date, but they preferred the higher elevations of land around this community, rather than the swampier terrain of Cleveland.
Carter and his family did succeed on the frontier. They built a sizable log-cabin home, which also served as an inn and, for a time, as a jail. Carter eventually became a sizable landholder in the area, owning several dozen acres of land on both the east and west sides of the Cuyahoga River. Carter built the first log warehouse in Cleveland in 1810, as well as the first ship, the Zephyr, capable of trading sizable amounts of goods on Lake Erie in 1808. The Carters also owned the first frame house in Cleveland, although it burned shortly before completion. Carter also served as a constable and as a major in the Ohio Militia.
Carter died on February 7, 1814.
- Butler, Margaret Manor. A Pictorial History of the Western Reserve: 1796-1860. Cleveland, OH: The Early Settlers Association of the Western Reserve and The Western Reserve Historical Society, 1963.
- Van Tassel, David D., and John J. Grabowski, eds. The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1996.