Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to William Baker, 30 May 1801

To William Baker

Washington May 30. 1801

Dear Sir

A large district, consisting of about ten or a dozen counties of Virginia 4. or 5 of Maryland, & the territory of Columbia, was created by the last Congress into a separate district by the name of the district of Potomac, the court of which is to be held […]. mr D[ent] who was appointed the Marshal, after [acting?] some time has resigned [he says] it would [seem?] from the richness & extent of the […] […] […] […]-hends, to be a district of [importance?]. I [had] supposed [it] […] as your residence is so convenient to Alexandria that […] you to undertake [that] office […] [therefore] [to establish?] proposing it to you [your answering requested?] […] have been able by enqu[…] […]   the subject. Accept assurances of my perfect esteem & respect.

Th: Jefferson

PrC (MHi); faint; at foot of text: “Doctr Baker”; endorsed by TJ in ink on verso.

William Baker (ca. 1749–1812) of Prince George’s County, Maryland, brother-in-law of Samuel Hanson of Samuel, was a physician and landholder who sought government office in Washington or Baltimore. In June 1801, TJ gave him a recess appointment as marshal of the district of Potomac, although an official commission was not issued until January 1802. Baker had sought Samuel Carr’s help and “interposition with your Uncle in my behalf” in March 1801. Baker manumitted one of his female slaves in 1796, and hired out and later sold his slave John Freeman to TJ (Papenfuse, Maryland Legislature description begins Edward C. Papenfuse, Alan F. Day, David W. Jordan, Gregory A. Stiverson, eds., A Biographical Dictionary of the Maryland Legislature, 1635–1789, Baltimore, 1979–85, 2 vols. description ends , 1:111; JEP description begins Journal of the Executive Proceedings of the Senate of the United States … to the Termination of the Nineteenth Congress, Washington, D.C., 1828, 3 vols. description ends , 1:401; Washington Federalist, 17 June 1801; MB description begins James A. Bear, Jr., and Lucia C. Stanton, eds., Jefferson’s Memorandum Books: Accounts, with Legal Records and Miscellany, 1767–1826, Princeton, 1997, The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, Second Series description ends , 2:1043; Baker to Samuel Carr, 20 Mch., RC in DNA: RG 59, LAR, endorsed by TJ as received 21 Mch.; Commission for William Baker, 26 Jan. 1802, FC in Lb in DNA: RG 59, MPTPC; TJ to Charles Little, 31 Mch. 1801).

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