Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Joshua Wingate, Jr., 26 August 1802

From Joshua Wingate, Jr.

War Department August 26. 1802


The Secretary of War being absent, I have the Honor to request that if the enclosed nominations for Officers of the Militia of the District of Columbia, should meet with your approbation, that you would sign the Blank Commissions herewith enclosed, and forward them to Mr. Madison, to be by him countersigned and transmitted to this Office—

I have the honor to be very respectfully your Obedt. Servt.—

Joshua Wingate Junr.

RC (DLC); at foot of text: “The President of the United States”; endorsed by TJ as received from Wingate at the War Department on 29 Aug. and “Militia Commissions” and so recorded in SJL. FC (Lb in DNA: RG 107, LSP). Enclosures not found, but see below.

Joshua Wingate (1773–1843) grew up in Essex County, Massachusetts, and graduated from Harvard in 1795. He married Henry Dearborn’s daughter Julia and lived in Maine, where his father had become a successful merchant. After serving as chief clerk for his father-in-law at the War Department, he was named the postmaster at Portland in 1804. Two years later TJ appointed him the collector for Bath, Maine. In addition to his duties as collector, Wingate served as a brigadier general in Maine’s militia and represented Bath at Maine’s constitutional convention in 1819. After resigning as collector in favor of a brother in 1820, he lived in Portland, engaged in politics, including an unsuccessful run for governor, and served as president of the board of directors of the Portland branch of the Bank of the United States (National Intelligencer, 15 Nov. 1843; “Letter from General Henry Dearborn to his Son, Henry A. S. Dearborn,” Magazine of History, 8 [1908], 55; Emma Huntington Nason, Old Hallowell on the Kennebec [Augusta, Me., 1909], 130–1; Stets, Postmasters description begins Robert J. Stets, Postmasters & Postoffices of the United States 1782–1811, Lake Oswego, Ore., 1994 description ends , 131; 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 , 2:20–1; Vol. 36:200).

The NOMINATIONS likely consisted of replacements for several officers who resigned in July (TJ to Henry Dearborn, 1 Aug. 1802). On 17 Aug., Francis Peyton sent a list of nominees for the militia’s second legion to Henry Dearborn. Peyton assured Dearborn that he was recommending “no person who is unwilling to accept the appointment” (RC in DNA: RG 59, LAR, torn, endorsed by TJ: “Peyton Francis to [Genl.] Dearborne. Militia Commissions”). Wingate had previously been appointed brigade major and inspector of the militia (Alexandria Times; and District of Columbia Daily Advertiser, 23 July 1802).

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