Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Thomas Martin, 16 September 1803

From Thomas Martin

Lexington Kentucky Sept. 16. 1803

My Dear Sir

I have thought proper to make my present situation known to some of the Senators in Congress, and as I have always experienced your friendship, must once more beg your Attention to my Claims, as it might be a means of releiveing me and my little family from poverty. It seems that an Arsenal is to be fixd at the Mouth of Licking I do not know Whether it will be an Object or not: Should it be, and you should think me Adequate for the task, do beg the favor

I am with great Esteem Your Obt. Huml Servt.

Tho. Martin

RC (PHi); at head of text: “To the President of the U. States”; endorsed by TJ as received 21 Dec. and “for emploiment at Arsenel” and so recorded in SJL with notation “W.”

In another letter dated 16 Sep., Martin made his present situation known to Senator John Breckinridge, noting in it that he had also written Senator James Jackson of Georgia and “my good friend Mr. Brown,” probably Senator John Brown of Kentucky. Martin asks Breckinridge to present his letter to the president, as well as a certificate from the senator’s brother, Robert Breckinridge, regarding his rank during the American Revolution. Martin hopes Breckinridge can help him secure an appointment relating to the proposed arsenal in Kentucky. “If my nation forgets me,” he lamented, his family “must infalliably Starve as I have had no other trade but War” (RC in DLC: Breckinridge Family Papers).

once more beg your attention: for Martin’s earlier request for an appointment, see Vol. 37:313.

In April 1803, TJ and Henry Dearborn determined to establish an arsenal, magazine, and barracks near the mouth of the licking River at Newport, Kentucky. The site was located and acquired by Charles Scott, and James Taylor of Newport supervised the erection of the works (John E. Kleber, ed., The Kentucky Encyclopedia [Lexington, Ky., 1992], 680; Madison, Papers, Sec. of State Ser., 5:459; Dearborn to Charles Scott, 12 Apr., 11 June, 23 Sep. 1803, Dearborn to James Taylor, 12 Apr., 15 June, 13 July 1803, all in DNA: RG 107, MLS). Martin was appointed military storekeeper of the post the following year (Vol. 37:313n).

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