Dabney Carr, nephew of Thomas Jefferson

Dabney Carr was born on April 27, 1773, at Spring Forest, a Goochland County, Virginia, plantation just three weeks before the death of his father, also named Dabney Carr, brother-in-law and close friend of Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson took an active role in the support and education of his nephew after his father’s death. He attended Hampden-Sydney College and returned home to study law with William Wirt, who was just one year older. The two men remained friends for the rest of their lives. An extensive collection of their letters can be found in the Manuscripts Department, Library of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.


Letter from Thomas Jefferson to Dabney Carr, 1826. Library of Congress

He married his paternal cousin, Elizabeth Carr in June of 1802.

Carr started practice in Albemarle County and, in 1811, became Chancellor of the Winchester District. Using the pseudonym Obediah Squaretoes, Carr contributed an article to William Wirt’s The Old Bachelor (1814). In 1824, he was elected a judge of the Court of Appeals and held this office until his death on January 8, 1837.


He is interred in Richmond’s Shockoe Hill Cemetery.

His nephew, Dabney Smith Carr, was a newspaper publisher and later was U.S. Minister to Turkey (1843–49).


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One Response to Dabney Carr, nephew of Thomas Jefferson

  1. Carris says:

    Good morning, Sir,

    On your website opposite the post below, I saw a link to G. Washington’s letter of transmittal to Congress. Tom Lingenfelter of Heritage Collector’s has historic copies of that letter AND one of the original anastatic copies of the Declaration of Independence. http://www.heritagecs.com/declaration.htm

    He will be the last speaker in the Friends of Valley Forge Park annual Speaker Series on Tuesday, May 7th, at Valley Forge Park. Several of his historic documents will be on display that afternoon in the Visitor Center at Valley Forge as well as on site for viewing when he speaks that evening in the VF Park Theater. http://www.friendsofvalleyforge.org/documents/2012-2013-speaker-series.pdf

    Wishing you well in your work to bring history to the present,

    Carris Kocher


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