The Carrs, a prominent family in Albemarle County, had close associations with the Jeffersons. Dabney Carr (1743-1773) was a close friend of Thomas Jefferson, and married Jefferson's sister Martha on July 20, 1765. After Dabney's early death in 1773, Jefferson oversaw much of his sons' education, and Martha and her six children spent a great deal of time at Monticello.

The six children of Dabney Carr and Martha Jefferson Carr were as follows:

  1. Jean Barbara Carr (1766-1840) (also referred to as Jane or Jenny) m. Wilson Cary (1760-1793)
  2. Lucy Carr (March 7, 1768[1]-1803) m. Richard Terrell (176?-1802) on October 5, 1792[2]
  3. Mary (Polly) Carr (March 7, 1768[3]-?), twin sister of Lucy, never married
  4. Peter Carr (1770-1815) m. Hetty Smith (1767-1834)
  5. Samuel Carr (October 9, 1771[4]-1855) m1. Eleanor B. Carr (?-1815); m2. Maria Dabney
  6. Dabney Carr (1773-1837) m. Elizabeth Carr (1780-1835)[5]


Carrs in Jefferson Family Correspondence

1783 November 28. (Jefferson to Martha Jefferson Randolph). "Write also one letter every week either to your aunt Eppes, your aunt Skipwith, your aunt Carr, or [Mary Jefferson].... "[6]

1784 April 17. (Jefferson to Martha Jefferson Randolph). "I received yesterday letters from Eppington by which I learn that ... your cousin Cary has a son."[7]

[ca. 1786 May 22?]. (Mary Jefferson to Jefferson). "Aunt Carr, Aunt Nancy and Cousin Polly Carr are here."[8]

1790 April 25. (Martha Jefferson Randolph to Jefferson). "We are just returned from a visit up the country to aunt Carr and Mrs. Flemming's."[9]

1793 January 16. (Martha Jefferson Randolph to Jefferson). "Peter desires to be remembered to you."[10]

1793 February 27. (Martha Jefferson Randolph to Jefferson). "Poor Jenny Cary has Lost her husband and her sister Lucy is married to a Mr. Teril with whom she goes to Kentucke this spring so that Aunt Carr will have only one of her children with her it being the intention of Sam to settle imediately upon his own Land in this neighbourhood."[11]

1795 July 31. (Jefferson to Martha Jefferson Randolph). "J. Eppes has been for some time gone to Champe Carter's and that neighborhood with P. Carr."[12]

1796 January 25. (Jefferson to Martha Jefferson Randolph). "I hear that P. Carr is at Philadelphia."[13]

1798 March 20. (Mary Jefferson Eppes to Jefferson). "Aunt Carr is return'd from Celies in good health & is at present with Aunt Bolling, who is in tolerable health, the former will be here soon, where she will stay I expect & go up with us."[14]

1799 February 8. (Martha Jefferson Randolph to Jefferson). "... after your departure we spent ten days with Mrs Divers, Carr, Trist, &c &c &c."[15]

1799 April 13. (Jefferson to Mary Jefferson Eppes). "I suppose you have heard before that Peter Carr had a son & Sam a daughter. Sam & his wife are daily expected from Maryland."[16]

1801 June 19. (Martha Jefferson Randolph to Jefferson). "[Y]our stockings are at last disposed of, but not to my satisfaction because I am sure they will not be so to yours—Aunt Carr after many ineffectual efforts to put them out acceded at Last to the united and importunate entreaties of Mrs Randolph & Mrs Lilburn Lewis to Let them knit them for you ...."[17]

1802 March. 3. (Jefferson to Mary Jefferson Eppes). "... your best way would be to come direct ... and crossing Patowmac at Boyd's hole you would come up by Sam Carr's to [Washington]."[18]

1802 July 1. (Jefferson to Mary Jefferson Eppes). "Dabney Carr was married on Monday (28th.) and set out yesterday (30th.) with his new wife for Albemarle where he will join his mother now keeping house at Dunlora, till he can fix himself in Charlottesville which will be soon. Sam Carr returns decidedly to live at Dunlora. the marriage of the other sister to Dabney seems to have effected this. Peter and his wife are expected here daily on their way to Baltimore."[19]

1803 April 25. (Jefferson to Mary Jefferson Eppes). "—mr and mrs P. Carr staid with me 5. or 6. days on their way to Baltimore. I think they propose to return in June. Nelly Carr continues in ill health. I believe they expect about the same time to get back to Dunlora."[20]

1805 July 11. (Martha Jefferson Randolph to Jefferson). "The marriage [between Virginia Randolph and Wilson J. Cary] will take place at Monticello early in August entirely private except the old Gentleman and Lady & Aunt Carr. There is however a possibility of it’s being delayed by the illness of Mrs. Cary’s youngest daughter whose situation is extremely critical and will be lingering; which ever way it terminates. I am afraid however the phisicians will expedite the business; a feeble constitution reduced as low as she is, is not apt to linger in their hands. ... we have this moment heard of the death of T. Carr’s eldest daughter, the little girl my Aunt had with her at Monticello."[21]

1806 July 4. (Ann Cary Randolph Bankhead to Jefferson). "Aunt Carr has been to see us she is a good deal better but still complains of a pain in her neck."[22]

1807 March 20. (Martha Jefferson Randolph to Jefferson). "[T]o give you a Still better idea of the labours which await you, Mr Carr told me of their putting 9 horses to one waggon ...."[23]

1808 February 26. (Ellen Wayles Randolph Coolidge to Jefferson). "Cousin Polly Carr is here at present Cousin Dabneys little daughter had a narrow escape the other day. she was in the yard and she fell down she cried as she had hurt herself a mule was tied near her he broke loose and going to the place where she was stamped on her untill he had broken a silver hook and eye—off of her frock when she was carried in the house she was horridly bruised but none of her bones broken."[24]

1808 March 4. (Ann Cary Randolph Bankhead to Jefferson). "Cousin Polly Carr left us to day she spent a week with Aunt Jane & Mama."[25]

1808 March 11. (Ellen Wayles Randolph Coolidge to Jefferson). "Aunt Jane's health is still delicate although much better than it has been .... Cousin Polly Carr has quitted us .... "[26]

1809 January 10. (Jefferson to Martha Jefferson Randolph). "... I sincerely wish it success [a proposal to sell Varina to John Patterson], but I am afraid mr Carr has been misinformed of mr Patterson’s views, or, which is as likely, that mr Patterson has changed them."[27]

1826 February 3. (Thomas Jefferson Randolph to Jefferson). "But upon availing myself of the councils of Judges Brook, Cabell, Green & Carr and their weight of character and soundness of views to act upon gentlemen of less experience & decision ...."[28]



Further Sources


  1. ^ "Register of St. James Northan [sic] Parish, Goochland County," William and Mary Quarterly vol. 15, no. 2 (1906): 119.
  2. ^ Ibid., vol. 15, no. 4 (1907): 251.
  3. ^ Ibid., vol. 15, no. 2 (1906): 116.
  4. ^ Ibid., vol. 15, no. 2 (1906): 118.
  5. ^ This information comes from a detailed genealogical chart in a letter from Martha Jefferson Minor to Virginia R. Cary at the University of Virginia Library.
  6. ^ PTJ, 6:359-61. Transcription available at Founders Online.
  7. ^ PTJ, 7:110. Transcription available at Founders Online.
  8. ^ PTJ, 9:560-61. Transcription available at Founders Online.
  9. ^ PTJ, 16:384. Transcription available at Founders Online.
  10. ^ PTJ, 25:64. Transcription available at Founders Online.
  11. ^ PTJ, 25:297. Transcription available at Founders Online. Mary (Polly) Carr was the "only one" of the Carr children left.
  12. ^ PTJ, 28:429. Transcription available at Founders Online.
  13. ^ PTJ, 28:599. Transcription available at Founders Online.
  14. ^ PTJ, 30:187-88. Transcription available at Founders Online. Ceelys was a Cary plantation in Elizabeth City County.
  15. ^ PTJ, 31:20-21. Transcription available at Founders Online.
  16. ^ PTJ, 31:91-92. Transcription available at Founders Online.
  17. ^ PTJ, 34:389-91. Transcription available at Founders Online.
  18. ^ PTJ, 36:676-77. Transcription available at Founders Online.
  19. ^ PTJ, 38:4-5. Transcription available at Founders Online.
  20. ^ PTJ, 40:270-71. Transcription available at Founders Online.
  21. ^ Coolidge Collection of Thomas Jefferson Manuscripts, Massachusetts Historical Society. Transcription available at Founders Online. Jane Blair Cary's death was reported in the Virginia Gazette for July 24. Carr genealogy makes no mention of a daughter by Sam Carr's first marriage, nor was a gravestone found at Dunlora. See Family Letters, 277-78n.
  22. ^ Family Letters, 287. Transcription available at Founders Online.
  23. ^ Family Letters, 303. Transcription available at Founders Online.
  24. ^ Family Letters, 330. Transcription available at Founders Online.
  25. ^ Family Letters, 331. Transcription available at Founders Online.
  26. ^ Family Letters, 332. Transcription available at Founders Online.
  27. ^ Family Letters, 377. Transcription available at Founders Online. The "mr Carr" referenced was Peter Carr. See Thomas Mann Randolph to Jefferson, January 6, 1809, Special Collections, University of Virginia Library. Transcription available at Founders Online.
  28. ^ Family Letters, 467. Transcription available at Founders Online.