Thomas Jefferson Papers

Certificate of Henry Cassidy, 4 August 1811

Certificate of Henry Cassidy

I do Certify that I can make oath if required that in the year 1805 when I came to st Louis to enter the Titles Papers of Elisha Winters & Gabriel Winters Lands at the Arkansas that I advised with General Wilkinson on the subject and that he advised me to Employ Rufus Easton Esqr as agent for the claim Saying at the time that he was a man of honor & abilities and would do me Justice in attending to the Interest of the Claimants Given under my hand at St Louis the 4th Augt 1811

Henry Cassidy

The above named Gentleman has been and is appointed a judge of the Courts of Arkansas District by Governor Howard—

MS (MHi); certificate and signature in Cassidy’s hand, with postscript and address in an unidentified hand; addressed: “The Honorable Thomas Jefferson Monticello Virginia”; franked; postmarked Saint Louis, 8 Aug.; endorsed by TJ as a letter from Cassidy received 5 Sept. 1811 and so recorded in SJL.

Henry Cassidy, attorney and real-estate investor, was appointed a justice of the peace in the Cape Girardeau district of the Louisiana Territory in 1806, a deputy surveyor in 1807, a judge of the Arkansas District courts in 1811, and a township justice in the newly created Missouri Territory in 1813. He was given a full four-year term as township justice in 1814, and he briefly represented Arkansas County in the Missouri legislature. In addition, Cassidy was named attorney of the second judicial circuit of the new Arkansas Territory in August 1819, lost a bid to become Arkansas’s first delegate to Congress that November, and was clerk of the Arkansas House of Representatives in the autumn of 1820. Thirteen members of the territorial legislature unsuccessfully recommended him for a seat on the superior court the same year. According to Arkansas’s executive register, Cassidy “decamped in the dark” from his position as public attorney during the spring of 1821 (Terr. Papers description begins Clarence E. Carter and John Porter Bloom, eds., The Territorial Papers of the United States, 1934–75, 28 vols. description ends , 13:546, 14:150–1, 650, 795, 19:118–9, 170–1, 789; Lynn Foster, “Courts and Lawyers on the Arkansas Frontier: The First Years of American Justice,” Arkansas Historical Quarterly 62 [2003]: 307, 311–7; Arkansas Gazette, 1 Jan., 7 Oct. 1820).

On 6 Aug. 1811 Cassidy swore before Justice of the Peace Thomas F. Riddick to an affidavit of which the opening paragraph was substantially the same as the above certificate, with an added assertion that James wilkinson had indicated that Rufus Easton’s work for Cassidy “would not be in any manner inconsistent with the station of the said Easton as a judge of the Territory.” The concluding paragraph affirmed that Wilkinson had recommended his namesake son to transact Cassidy’s legal business even though he was “attached to the army.” Cassidy sent the affidavit to Postmaster General Gideon Granger late in December 1811 (Terr. Papers description begins Clarence E. Carter and John Porter Bloom, eds., The Territorial Papers of the United States, 1934–75, 28 vols. description ends , 14:463–4). He seems to have been accusing General Wilkinson of encouraging Easton and the younger Wilkinson to engage in conflicts of interest.

Index Entries

  • Arkansas District (Louisiana Territory); judges in search
  • Arkansas District (Louisiana Territory); land claims in search
  • Cassidy, Henry; and Arkansas judgeship search
  • Cassidy, Henry; certificate of search
  • Cassidy, Henry; identified search
  • Easton, Rufus; and land claims search
  • Granger, Gideon; as postmaster general search
  • Howard, Benjamin; governor of La. Territory search
  • Riddick, Thomas F.; as justice of the peace search
  • Wilkinson, James; H. Cassidy’s accusation of corruption search
  • Wilkinson, James Biddle; and conflicts of interest search
  • Winters, Elisha; Ark. landholder search
  • Winters, Gabriel; Ark. landholder search