James Madison Papers

To James Madison from William C. C. Claiborne, 17 December 1809 (Abstract)

§ From William C. C. Claiborne

17 December 1809, “Near New Orleans.” Informs JM of the death of his second wife from yellow fever.1 Requests permission to be absent from his post between May and November or December of next year in order to attend to his accounts and to preserve his health.2 Believes that the territorial legislature will dispatch “all the public Business” within two months of their meeting in January. Warns against the unhealthy location of the governor’s residence and advises that it be sold.

RC and duplicate (DLC). 4 pp. Duplicate in a clerk’s hand, signed by Claiborne. Printed in Carter, Territorial Papers, Orleans, 9:859–60.

1Claiborne’s first wife, Elizabeth Lewis Claiborne, their daughter, Cornelia Tennessee Claiborne, and Claiborne’s private secretary as well, had all died of yellow fever in September 1804. In 1806 Claiborne married Clarissa Duralde, who died on 29 Nov. 1809 (Joseph T. Hatfield, William Claiborne: Jeffersonian Centurion in the American Southwest [Lafayette, La., 1976], pp. 207–9).

2JM granted Claiborne’s request on 18 Jan. 1810 (Smith to Claiborne, 18 Jan. 1810 [DNA: RG 59, DL]).

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