Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from David Stone, Willis Alston, and Thomas Wynns, 19 October 1803

From David Stone, Willis Alston, and Thomas Wynns

City of Washington
19th. Octr. 1803.

To his Excellency the President
of the
United States.

A case of Bankruptcy having occurred in the North Eastern part of the State of North Carolina where no Commissioners of Bankruptcy have hitherto been appointed—We take the liberty to name as persons proper to discharge the duties of that office—Nathaniel Allen of Edenton, Goodorcen Davis and John Eaton of Halifax and William Cherry the younger of Bertie County.

We have the honor to be with the highest Respect Your Excellency’s Humble Servants

David Stone

Willis Alston Jur

Thos. Wynns

RC (DNA: RG 59, LAR); in Stone’s hand, signed by all; endorsed by TJ as received 20 Oct. and

“Allen, Nathanl. of Edenton } to be Commrs. bkrptcy N.C.”
 Davis, Goodorcen } of Halifax
 Eaton John
 Cherry Wm. junr. of Bertie

and so recorded in SJL.

Born at the family plantation on Fishing Creek in Halifax County, North Carolina, Willis Alston (1769-1837), nephew of Nathaniel Macon, entered state politics in 1790, serving first in the house of commons and then one term in the state senate. In 1798, he was elected to Congress, defeating Republican congressman Thomas Blount. He served in the House from 1799 to 1815. Perhaps under the influence of Macon, Alston soon became a Jeffersonian Republican. Federalist William R. Davie unsuccessfully ran against him in 1803. Alston continued to support TJ after Macon and John Randolph broke with the administration. He was noted for his altercations with Randolph. He supported the War of 1812 and did not stand for reelection in 1815. Alston returned to state politics, serving in the house of commons from 1820 to 1824. He was again elected to Congress, this time as a Jacksonian Democrat, and served three more terms, from 1825 to 1831, after which he retired to his plantation (Biog. Dir. Cong. description begins Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, 1774-1989, Washington, D.C., 1989 description ends ; William S. Powell, ed., Dictionary of North Carolina Biography, 6 vols. [Chapel Hill, 1979-96], 1:30; ANB description begins John A. Garraty and Mark C. Carnes, eds., American National Biography, New York and Oxford, 1999, 24 vols. description ends , s.v. “Davie, William Richardson”; Manning J. Dauer, The Adams Federalists [Baltimore, 1953], 313, 319, 324; RS description begins J. Jefferson Looney and others, eds., The Papers of Thomas Jefferson: Retirement Series, Princeton, 2004- , 10 vols. description ends , 3:330).

Born at Barfields, the family plantation on the Chowan River, Thomas Wynns (1760-1825) represented Hertford County briefly in the house of commons and in the state senate in 1786 and from 1790 to 1800. He advocated the founding of the state university at Chapel Hill and became one of its first trustees. As a presidential elector, Wynns voted for TJ in 1800. He served as a Republican congressman from 1802 to 1807. After he returned to North Carolina, he again represented Hertford County in the state senate and received a commission as major general in the state militia (Biog. Dir. Cong. description begins Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, 1774-1989, Washington, D.C., 1989 description ends ; Powell, Dictionary of North Carolina Biography, 6:285; Raleigh Star, 23 Aug. 1810). For the election of Wynns to Congress, see Vol. 39:410n.

take the liberty to name: TJ appointed all four nominees with commissions dated 14 Nov. 1803 (list of commissions in Lb in DNA: RG 59, MPTPC; Vol. 37:710).

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