Thomas Jefferson Papers

Patrick Gibson to Thomas Jefferson, 15 August 1821

From Patrick Gibson

Richmond 15th Augt 1821—

Dear Sir

If in the request I am about to make, there is the smallest impropriety, I trust in your goodness to excuse it—I am extremely desirous of procuring for one of my boys a midshipman’s warrant, and should feel myself much indebted to you if you would afford me your influence in obtaining it—the lad is in his fourteenth year, very active and robust, and anxious to go to sea—and altho in time of peace it holds out nothing very promising, the prospect of promotion being distant—yet as I find it now very difficult to maintain a family of eight children, or to procure employment for those capable of it, I know nothing better that I can do, than to obtain for him a situation in which he may have an opportunity of serving his Country with honor

With much respect I am Your obt Servt

Patrick Gibson

RC (DLC); endorsed by TJ as received 18 Aug. 1821 and so recorded in SJL. RC (DLC); address cover only; with PoC of TJ to John Quincy Adams, 3 Nov. [1822], on verso; addressed: “Thomas Jefferson Esqre Monticello”; franked; postmarked Richmond, 16 Aug.

Alexander Gibson (1808–1872), naval officer, was a son of Patrick Gibson, TJ’s business agent in Richmond and frequent correspondent. He had a long career in the United States Navy, beginning as a midshipman in July 1822. Court-martialed for drunkenness and misconduct in 1829, Gibson returned to naval service by 1838, when he was made a lieutenant. Twenty years later he was made a commander, and he was promoted to captain at his retirement in 1867. Gibson was living in Pensacola by 1870, when he owned personal property and real estate valued at a total of $4,000 (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 , 216; Jackson, Papers description begins Sam B. Smith, Harold D. Moser, Daniel Feller, and others, eds., The Papers of Andrew Jackson, 1980– , 10 vols. description ends , 8:759, 9:895; DNA: RG 125, GCMPND, case no. 497; JEP description begins Journal of the Executive Proceedings of the Senate of the United States description ends , 5:82, 88, 10:25, 11:26, 29, 16:368 [1, 7 Mar. 1838, 16 Jan. 1856, 21, 22 Dec. 1858, 8 Mar. 1867]; Herbert Weaver and others, eds., Correspondence of James K. Polk [1969– ], 9:510, 544; DNA: RG 29, CS, N.Y., Brooklyn, 1850, 1860, Fla., Pensacola, 1870; U.S. Congress, House Committee on Invalid Pensions, 46th Cong. 2d sess., 21 May 1880, H. Rep. 1553; New York Herald, 16 Aug. 1872; gravestone inscription in Barrancas National Cemetery, Pensacola).

Index Entries

  • Gibson, Alexander; identified search
  • Gibson, Alexander; seeks appointment search
  • Gibson, Patrick; letters from search
  • Gibson, Patrick; seeks appointment for son search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Correspondence; letters of application and recommendation to search
  • Navy Department, U.S.; applications to search
  • patronage; letters of application and recommendation to TJ search