George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Hugh Williamson, 22 March 1790

From Hugh Williamson

New York 22nd March 1790.

Mr John Skinner of North Carolina who is at present in New York has been mentioned by severals ⟨of⟩ his fellow Citizens as a Gentleman who would discharge the Duties of Marshal with great Reputation.1

Mr Skinner having had the Misfortune to lose his Wife a short Time before the Sitting of our Convention had resolved to attempt the Relief of his Mind by Traveling, for this Reason Governor Johnston gave him a Certificate that is inclosed.

The Family and Connections of Mr Skinner have long been influential and much respected in the State. One of his Unkles Genl Skinner was Treasurer for many Years and has lately been Officer of Loans.2 Mr John Skinner has been a Member of our Legislature, ever since he was eligible, either in the Commons or Senate, except when he has been of the Governors Council. He has ever been distinguished in political Life by a manly firmness as well as by a sound Understanding whence he is generally respected in the State.

The Office of Marshal would probably be the more acceptable to Mr Skinner from the Idea that it is considered as being honourable rather than profitable. He is very independent in his Circumstances.3

Hu. Williamson


1John Skinner was a wealthy planter and a member of a prominent family in Edenton, North Carolina. He served in the North Carolina general assembly in 1783 and was a state senator from 1784 to 1788 and a member of the first North Carolina Ratifying Convention in 1788, in which he was an active supporter of the Constitution. GW appointed Skinner U.S. marshal for North Carolina on 7 June 1790 (see GW to U.S. Senate, 7 June 1790). Skinner declined reappointment in 1794 and recommended his deputy, Michael Payne, who received the appointment.

2William Skinner (d. 1798), also of Edenton, was a planter and a leading North Carolina Federalist. During the Revolution he served as a brigadier general (1777–79), member of the North Carolina provincial congress (1775–79), and as state treasurer (1779), as well as in the first North Carolina Ratifying Convention in 1788, in which he supported the Constitution. He was reappointed commissioner of loans under the new government in 1790 and served until his death.

3Enclosed in Williamson’s letter was an undated testimonial from Williamson, Timothy Bloodworth, John B. Ashe, and John Steele, members of Congress from North Carolina, stating that Skinner’s appointment would “give general Satisfaction to his fellow Citizens.” Also enclosed was a certificate from Samuel Johnston, governor of North Carolina, dated 4 Dec. 1789, testifying that Skinner “is a Gentleman of respectable Connections & Property within the said State, and hath acquitted himself honorably in the discharge of the Publick Service, and as an honest Man, in his private concerns.” Both documents are in DLC:GW

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