Thomas Jefferson Papers

Thomas Jefferson to Benjamin W. Crowninshield, 9 October 1816

To Benjamin W. Crowninshield

Monticello Oct. 9. 16.

Dear Sir

The inclosed sollicitations for a midshipman’s place for William Henry Kennon of this state, are from his mother and uncle, both well known to me as persons of merit. the latter is Clerk of our House of delegates. the father Genl Kennon was a valuable character, of whose services I wished much to have availed the public in instituting the new government at St Louis. of the grounds which would befriend mr W. H. Kennon’s wish, I have no information but from the letters I inclose, in the truth of which I have entire confidence. a favorable presumption however always arises that a person so peculiarly anxious for a particular career has some natural instincts suited to it’s duties. with the request that you will pardon my having consented to become the channel of this sollicitation I pray you to accept the assurance of my perfect esteem & high consideration.

Th: Jefferson

RC (NjP: Andre deCoppet Collection). PoC (DLC); on verso of a reused address cover from Louis H. Girardin to TJ; at foot of text: “<Wm Munford esq.> B. W. Crownenshield”; endorsed by TJ. Enclosures: (1) Elizabeth B. Kennon to TJ, 18 Sept. 1816, not found, but recorded in SJL as received 7 Oct. 1816 from Norfolk. (2) William Munford to TJ, 29 Sept. 1816, not found, but recorded in SJL as received 7 Oct. 1816 (RC in DLC; address cover only; with PoC of TJ to James Monroe, 10 Jan. 1817, on verso; addressed: “Thomas Jefferson Esqr Monticello, Albemarle County”; franked; postmarked [faint] Richmond, 2[9] Sept.).

William Henry Kennon (1800–43), naval officer, was the son of Richard Kennon and Elizabeth Beverley Munford Kennon. Having attended the College of William and Mary in 1814, he was appointed a midshipman in the United States Navy on 1 Jan. 1817. Kennon was promoted in 1828 to lieutenant, to date from 28 Apr. 1826, and he resigned his commission on 16 Dec. 1840. He then retired to his Norwood estate in Powhatan County, where he died (John McGill, comp., The Beverley Family of Virginia [1956], 616–7, 639; William and Mary Provisional List description begins A Provisional List of Alumni, Grammar School Students, Members of the Faculty, and Members of the Board of Visitors of the College of William and Mary in Virginia. From 1693 to 1888, 1941 description ends , 24; Callahan, U.S. Navy description begins Edward W. Callahan, List of Officers of the Navy of the United States and of the Marine Corps from 1775 to 1900, 1901, repr. 1969 description ends , 311; JEP description begins Journal of the Executive Proceedings of the Senate of the United States description ends , 3:595, 599, 5:334 [1, 19 Feb. 1828, 3 Feb. 1841]; Richmond Enquirer, 23 Dec. 1843; Powhatan Co. Will Book, 12:236–7).

In 1804 TJ appointed Richard Kennon a commandant with the rank of colonel in the new government of the Louisiana Territory, but he declined the position due to poor health (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 , 13:46–7, 74).

Index Entries

  • Crowninshield, Benjamin Williams; as secretary of the navy search
  • Crowninshield, Benjamin Williams; letters to search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Correspondence; letters of application and recommendation from search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Correspondence; letters of application and recommendation to search
  • Kennon, Elizabeth Beverley Munford; and W. H. Kennon’s military appointment search
  • Kennon, Elizabeth Beverley Munford; letter from accounted for search
  • Kennon, Richard; and government of Louisiana Territory search
  • Kennon, William Henry; identified search
  • Kennon, William Henry; seeks military appointment search
  • Louisiana Territory; R. Kennon appointed commandant of search
  • Munford, William; and W. H. Kennon’s military appointment search
  • Munford, William; clerk of Va. House of Delegates search
  • Munford, William; letter from accounted for search
  • Navy Department, U.S.; applications to search
  • patronage; letters of application and recommendation from TJ search
  • patronage; letters of application and recommendation to TJ search
  • Virginia; House of Delegates search