George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Benjamin Hawkins, 21 January 1794

From Benjamin Hawkins

Senate Chamber 21st Jany 1794

The gentleman who wrote the inclosed I have long known his character is unexceptionable, he is a brother of the late Colo. Richd Henderson, who purchased Kentuckey, one of the Royal Judges of North Carolina: He resides in the interior part of the State and is a native of it.1

I have no other intimation of the intention of Mr Thomas than this from Mr Henderson.2 With the most respectful attacmnent I have the honor to be sir, yr most obedient servt

Benjamin Hawkins


1In his letter of 17 Dec. to Hawkins, a senator from North Carolina, Thomas Henderson (1752–1821) wrote: “I have received information from John Skinner esqr. Marshal of this State, that he intends very shortly to resign that office, Our early and long Acquaintance will I hope be a sufficient apology for soliciting your influence and Interest in procuring for me that appointment” (DLC:GW; a post office notation reads, “Guilford C. House Decemr the 20th 1793”). Henderson, a former merchant at Guilford Court House, held a variety of appointed and elected positions in North Carolina, including clerk of court for Guilford and then Rockingham counties, clerk of the Council of State in 1789, and member of the Council of State in 1795. He served two terms between 1792 and 1795 as a delegate from Rockingham County to the state House of Commons, and in 1796 he served one term in the state Senate. His brother Richard Henderson (1735–1785), who was born in Virginia, was a lawyer and land speculator. Colonial governor William Tryon appointed him an associate justice on the colony’s Superior Court in 1768, and he served as such until 1773. In 1774 he formed the Louisa Company, and the following year this association negotiated a treaty with the Cherokee Indians that granted the company title to a large tract consisting of present-day Kentucky and part of Tennessee. Although this venture eventually failed to gain either state or national legitimacy, Henderson continued his speculation in western lands and founded present-day Nashville, Tennessee. He represented Granville County in the North Carolina state legislature in 1781 and served on the Council of State, 1782–83.

2Hawkins probably means Mr. Skinner’s intention to resign. GW appointed Michael Payne to replace John Skinner as marshal of North Carolina (GW to U.S. Senate, 10 Dec. 1794, LS, DNA: RG 46, Third Congress, 1793–95, Senate Records of Executive Proceedings, President’s Messages—Executive Nominations; LB, DLC:GW).

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