edited from Barry Mazor (“Ralph Peer and the Making of Popular Roots Music”):
The act that represented the very image of rural domesticity for so many was being privately pulled apart by domestic tensions. Sara Carter was tiring of A.P. Carter’s constant absence on song-hunting trips, and his remoteness and lack of involvement in everyday farm and family life when he did come home.
A.P.’s more fun-loving, naturally affectionate, and present cousin, Coy Bayes, had increasingly been attracting he attention, until the worried extended family forced Coy to leave the area entirely. A despondent Sara absented herself from the farm and her children, moving in with relatives.
A.P. and Sara were now very much separated, as Peer would learn when he brought up getting music and family members together for recording in April 1933; Sara was refusing to join in, preferring to avoid A.P. altogether.
Anita Peer [wife of Ralph Peer, who recorded the Carter Family for the Victor Talking Machine Company] wrote to Sara Carter,
“Of course it is really none of my business, but I just wondered if there was anything I could do to help things along. I realize it would be distinctively awkward for both you and A.P. to work again, but on the other hand, the ‘Carter Family’ has become well known and there is the chance to make some more money, even in these days of depression.
I have been divorced once myself, as I think I told you, so I can sympathize with you perfectly…Even if you never live together again you could get together for professional purposes like the movie stars do. Practically all of them are divorced, or should be…”
In 1936 Ralph Peer wrote to Sara Carter,
“What are your plans now as to A.P.? He has written me that you are suing for divorce…He apparently wanted me to exert some pressure upon you, but I told him that this was a matter that people had to settle for themselves, and something in which I did not want to interfere…From a business standpoint, it is important that the Carter Family should not be too broken up.”