Thomas Jefferson Papers

William P. DuVal to Thomas Jefferson, 29 August 1813

From William P. DuVal

At my Fathers, augt 29th 1813 Buckingham County

Dear sir

my father presented me your letter of April last, in which you say you have occasion for the services of a friend in the neighbourhood of Shelbyville, Kentucky, The high opinion I have always entertained of you both, as a statesman, and gentleman, would at all times, induce me to serve you, with elacrity and pleasure, and I assure if any circumstance could add to this disposition, the old friend of my father would be the first,1 I shall not return to Kentucky untill next spring, if your business will not admit of this delay, I will after receiving your instructions, write to some friend of mine in Kentucky, on whom I can depend, to do the business for you, I intend to do myself the pleasure of visiting your residince this fall.

I am with respct & Esteem

Wm P. DuVal

RC (MHi); endorsed by TJ as received 4 Nov. 1813 and so recorded in SJL.

William Pope DuVal (ca. 1784–1854), attorney and public official, was the son of TJ’s old friend William DuVal. A native of Henrico County, he moved in his teens to Kentucky, settled in Bardstown, was admitted to the bar in 1804, and commanded a company of mounted rangers during the War of 1812. DuVal represented Kentucky in the United States House of Representatives, 1813–15, supporting the War Hawks and favoring the revival of the Bank of the United States. President James Monroe chose him as federal judge for East Florida in 1821 and, with a recommendation from John C. Calhoun, he became Florida’s first civil governor the following year, serving until Andrew Jackson removed him in 1834. Renowned for his storytelling skills, DuVal was also the model for Washington Irving’s fictional character, Ralph Ringwood. DuVal chaired the committee on the executive department at an 1838–39 state constitutional convention, and he sat in the territorial senate, 1839–42. He lost a bid to return to Congress in 1848, soon moved to Texas, and there defended slavery and states’ rights and opposed the Compromise of 1850. DuVal died on a business trip in Washington, D.C. (ANB description begins John A. Garraty and Mark C. Carnes, eds., American National Biography, 1999, 24 vols. description ends ; DAB description begins Allen Johnson and Dumas Malone, eds., Dictionary of American Biography, 1928–36, 20 vols. description ends ; Robert L. Meriwether and others, eds., The Papers of John C. Calhoun [1959–2003], 5:406–7, 633; 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 , vols. 22–26; JEP description begins Journal of the Executive Proceedings of the Senate of the United States description ends , 3:293, 294, 295, 4:378 [15–17 Apr. 1822, 26 Mar. 1834]; Frank L. Snyder, “William Pope DuVal: An Extraordinary Folklorist,” Florida Historical Quarterly 69 [1990]: 195–212; Washington Daily National Intelligencer, 31 Mar. 1854).

1Manuscript: “frist.”

Index Entries

  • DuVal, William; and Henderson case search
  • DuVal, William Pope; and Henderson case search
  • DuVal, William Pope; identified search
  • DuVal, William Pope; letters from search
  • DuVal, William Pope; plans to visit TJ search
  • Henderson case; claims by minor heirs search