Dabney Carr (1743-1773)

Dabney Carr (October 26, 1743 - May 16, 1773) was one of Thomas Jefferson's closest friends. Carr was born at Bear Castle, a thousand-acre farm in Louisa County, Virginia, though other details of his childhood are largely unknown. He met Thomas Jefferson at the Maury school in Albemarle County. Both men studied law at the College of William and Mary. On July 20, 1765, Carr married Martha Jefferson, Jefferson's sister.

After their marriage, the Carrs moved to Goochland County, and Dabney devoted his time to politics. He won a seat to the House of Burgesses in 1771 and again in 1772. By 1773, relations with the colonists and royal authority were becoming strained, and Virginia Governor Lord Dunmore held a special session of the House of Burgesses. Dabney Carr introduced a resolution to the House of Burgesses on March 12, 1773, to create inter-colony committees of correspondence. After its passage, Lord Dunmore dissolved the House, but a standing committee nevertheless formed the next day to maintain correspondence with other colonies and obtain intelligence on Parliament's actions regarding the colonies.

This resolution, and the committees of correspondence it encouraged, helped to create the Continental Congress in 1774. However, Carr did not live to see the result of his efforts; his health failed and he died on May 16, 1773. Jefferson buried his friend in the Monticello Graveyard. He was survived by his wife and six children, who spent much of their childhoods at Monticello.

See Also

Further Sources

  • Simpson, Jr. William S. "Dabney Carr: Portrait of a Colonial Patriot," Virginia Cavalcade. 23 (Winter 1974): 5-13.

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