M. DeWitt Carnal, farmer, was born in Henderson County, Tenn., in 1837, and is the third in a family of six children born to Joshua and Sarah W. (Dunn) Carnal. The father was a native of North Carolina; born in 1808; he received a fair education, and followed the occupation of a farmer. In 1832 he removed to Henderson County, Tenn., and about 1844 came to Carroll County, where he purchased land in the Thirteenth District; he remained here until his death, which occurred in 1850. The mother was born the same year, and in the same State as her husband; she died in December, 1885.

Our subject grew to manhood on the farm and received a good practical education; he taught several terms of school and in December, 1863, enlisted in Company G, Second Tennessee Mounted Infantry, Confederate Army. He was at Paducah and in several sharp skirmishes, but was principally engaged in guarding the Nashville & Chattanooga Railroad, between Huntingdon and Nashville. At the end of thirteen months’ hard fighting and suffering, he returned home. In 1865 he began clerking in a mercantile house, where he remained two years; he then, in company with W. P. Smith, established the firm of Smith & Carnal, and engaged in the mercantile business. This firm continued until 1875, when they disposed of their stock, and in 1878 he and P. E. Parker, Jr., formed a partnership and continued the business in the building where Mr. Parker now is. In 1879 Mr. Carnal purchased the stock and engaged in the business on his own responsibility; in December, 1883, he sold his stock and since that time has been farming. He has several farms in Carroll County, considerable town property, and some land in Kansas. In December, 1875, he married Martha A. Johnson, daughter of A. J. Johnson, and to this union were born five children: William, Martha D., Fannie L., Lizzie P. and James E. Mrs. Carnal was born in Carroll County, about 1853. Mr. Carnal has been a Republican since the war, and is a member of the Masonic fraternity.


Transcribed by David Donahue

Source: History of Tennessee from the Earliest Time to the Present: Together with an Historical and a Biographical Sketch of Carroll, Henry and Benton Counties, Besides a Valuable Fund of Notes, Original Observations, Reminiscences, Etc., Etc. Easley, S.C.: Southern Historical Press, 1978.