Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Walter Carr, 2 June 1801

From Walter Carr

Lexington Kentucky June 2nd. 1801


I have taken the liberty of addressing a few lines to you on the subject of the office of marshall in this District

I beg leave to offer myself as a candidate for that office if vacant—I had the pleasure of being personally acquainted with you while I was an inhabitant of Albermarle altho perhaps may not now be within your recollection—I therefore beg leave to refer you to Gentlemen who have taken the trouble of addressing you on this occasion through the medium of the Secretary of state.

I am Sir Your hum Servt

Walter Carr

RC (DNA: RG 59, LAR); at foot of text: “Thos. Jefferson President of the United States”; endorsed by TJ as received 16 July and “to be Marshl. of Kentucky” and so recorded in SJL.

Walter Carr (ca. 1752–1838), originally from Virginia, had been sheriff of Fayette County and a justice of the county court. He was also in his career a member of the Kentucky General Assembly and a delegate to state constitutional conventions (G. Glenn Clift, comp., Kentucky Obituaries, 1787–1854 [Baltimore, 1977], 122; Charles R. Staples, The History of Pioneer Lexington, 1779–1806 [Lexington, Ky., 1939], 78, 88, 140, 150–1; James F. Hopkins and Mary W. M. Hargreaves, eds., The Papers of Henry Clay, 11 vols. [Lexington, Ky., 1959–92], 2:341n).

One of the people who wrote to the secretary of state in support of Carr’s application was Christopher Greenup of Frankfort (Madison, Papers, Sec. of State Ser. description begins J. C. A. Stagg, ed., The Papers of James Madison, Secretary of State Series, Charlottesville, 1986–, 8 vols. description ends , 1:242). TJ received letters on the subject from Harry Innes, John Fowler, John Brown, and James Garrard. Innes, writing from Kentucky on 3 June, reported that Carr was “a man of property” who had served as a justice of the peace and a state legislator, and “from general report as well as from a personal acquaintance” Innes could say that Carr was “a gentleman of respectability” who was “fully competent to perform the duties” of marshal (RC in DNA: RG 59, LAR; at foot of text: “The President of the United States”; endorsed by TJ as received 26 June and so recorded in SJL with notation “W. Carr. Marsh.”; TJ later canceled “Innes Harry” and added “Walter Carr to be Marshall of Kentucky” to the endorsement). Fowler wrote from Lexington on 5 June. Referring to a long acquaintance with the applicant, Fowler asserted that Carr was “ranked among the most respectable of the Citizens in this State for his Patriotizm and integrety.” Carr’s “capacity is fully competant to discharge the duties of that department,” Fowler wrote, and “his responsibility equal to any” (RC in same; at head of text: “The President of the United States”; endorsed by TJ as received 26 June and so recorded in SJL with notations “W. Carr. Marsh.” and “Off.”; also endorsed by TJ: “Walter Carr to be marshal of Kentucky”). Brown, writing on 12 June at Carr’s request, stated that Carr had lived in the state for several years and “has, so far as has come to my knowledge, supported the character of an honest man & a good Citizen” (RC in same; at foot of text: “Thomas Jefferson Esqr. President of the U. States”; endorsed by TJ as received 16 July and “Walter Carr to be Marshal of Kentucky” and so recorded in SJL). James Garrard, the governor of Kentucky, wrote from Frankfort on 24 June to say that it had been “frequently suggested” that the commission of the present marshal might not be renewed “for some misconduct,” prompting Garrard to mention Carr—“a gentleman of unblemished character, both in publick and private life; and well Qualified for the full and faith discharge of the duties of that Office.” Carr’s nomination would be as satisfactory to the people of Kentucky “as the Appointment of any Other person within the district” (RC in same, at foot of text: “Thomas Jefferson Esqr President of the United States,” endorsed by TJ as received 17 July and so recorded in SJL with notation “Carr to be Marshal,” and also endorsed: “Waltr. Carr to be Marshal of Kentucky”; ANB description begins John A. Garraty and Mark C. Carnes, eds., American National Biography, New York and Oxford, 1999, 24 vols. description ends ).

Index Entries