Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Joseph Willcox, 20 October 1801

From Joseph Willcox

State of Connecticut
Killingworth Octr. 20th. 1801


My republican friends have solicited me to offer myself as a candidate for the office of Marshal of this State—and considering that the legislature has intolerantly driven me to the necessity of resigning all military rank, I am induced to waive those considerations of reserve, which might Otherwise have influenced me & to offer myself as a candidate for that Office,

However easy it might be to obtain a long list of respectable Names to sustain this Application, I prefer to rely on a direct statement, that my situation in the State is central, My habits of Attention to business established, and that my Ambition to discharge the duties of the Office (if conferred) will be equalled only by my respect for the administration, which has the power of conferring it.

I have the honor to be Sir—with the greatest respect yr very humble servant—

Joseph Willcox 2d

RC (DNA: RG 59, LAR); at head of text: “To the President of the United States”; endorsed by TJ as received 27 Oct. and so recorded in SJL; also endorsed by TJ: “to be Marshal of Connecticut.”

Joseph Willcox (1757–1817), a Revolutionary War veteran from Killingworth, Connecticut, was a member of the Connecticut General Assembly in the 1790s. In June 1801, after thirty years’ military duty, he resigned as brigadier general and commanding officer of Connecticut’s second brigade militia upon learning that the state legislature promoted a subordinate officer ahead of him. TJ appointed him marshal of the district of Connecticut in December 1801 and renewed him in this post in 1805. Willcox resigned as marshal in 1809 and subsequently settled in Marietta, Ohio (Heitman, Register description begins Francis B. Heitman, Historical Register of Officers of the Continental Army during the War of the Revolution, April, 1775, to December, 1793, new ed., Washington, D.C., 1914 description ends , 593; Roll of State Officers and Members of General Assembly of Connecticut, from 1776 to 1881 [Hartford, Conn., 1881], 96, 113; 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 , 1:397, 399; 2:5, 122; New Haven Connecticut Journal, 17 Aug. 1796; Boston Constitutional Telegraphe, 10 June 1801; Hartford Connecticut Courant, 5 July 1809 and 11 Feb. 1817; Vol. 33:671, 674n, 678).

My Republican Friends: possibly Gideon Granger and Elisha Hyde, who along with Willcox were known as the “triumvirate of Connecticut” (Hartford Connecticut Courant, 16 Nov. 1801). See also Pierpont Edwards and Ephraim Kirby to TJ, 22 Oct.

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