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Archibald Stuart (March 19, 1757 - July 11, 1832), lawyer and judge, read law under Thomas Jefferson. The relations between Stuart and Jefferson were friendly, although Stuart was fourteen years younger.

Stuart attended the College of William and Mary from ca. 1777 to 1780. In March 1781, he served in the Augusta and Rockbridge militia at the Battle of Guildford Courthouse in North Carolina. Family tradition that Stuart read law at Monticello is based on this brief notation from a biographical sketch of Archibald Stuart by his son, Alexander Hugh Holmes Stuart: "Archibald Stuart spent the greater part of next two years in the study of law with Mr. Jefferson."[1] Since Stuart was a student and soldier up until about 1781, it can be assumed that he was at Monticello after this date. This period was well beyond August 1774 when Jefferson ceased to practice law; however, it must be noted that Jefferson's interest in the law and in mentoring young students never wavered.

After Stuart become a lawyer, he looked after Jefferson's interests on "the other side of the mountain," which included collecting debts owed for the sale of Monticello nails and paying taxes on the Natural Bridge.[2] Stuart and Jefferson exchanged nearly a hundred letters between the early 1780s and Jefferson's death in 1826.[3] Stuart was active in the Virginia legislature throughout his life, and was a political ally of Jefferson and James Madison. Stuart served as a member of the Rockfish Gap Commission in 1818, which was instrumental in the establishment of the University of Virginia. He died in Staunton, Virginia in 1832.

- Adapted from James Bear, report on "Card Tables," 10/6/1962

Further Sources


  1. ^ Alexander Hugh Holmes Stuart, "Archibald Stuart," in Hugh Blair Grigsby, History of the Federal Convention of 1788 ... (Richmond, Va.: Virginia Historical Society, 1891), 387.
  2. ^ See, e.g., July 31, 1782, MB, 1:520 (transcription available at Founders Online); November 22, 1793, MB, 2:905 (transcription available at Founders Online); various dates in 1795, MB, 2:930, 2:931 (transcription available at Founders Online); April 18, 1796, MB, 2:938 (transcription available at Founders Online).
  3. ^ Jefferson-Stuart Correspondence. See PTJ and PTJ:RSTranscriptions available at Founders Online.