Dabney Carr (1743–1773)

From Thomas Jefferson Encyclopedia

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Dabney Carr (1743-1773) 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 went to the College of William & Mary and studied law. Carr married Martha Jefferson, Jefferson's sister, on July 20, 1765.

The Carrs moved to Goochland County and Dabney focused on 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. The Stamp Act, the Townshend Act, the burning of the British revenue schooner Gaspee in Rhode Island, and the creation of a special court that could sent colonists to England for trial all contributed to the feelings of ill-will. Virginia Governor Lord Dunmore held a special session of the House of Burgesses and prominent Virginians such as Patrick Henry, Richard Henry Lee, and Jefferson took the opportunity the session afforded to develop a resolution, introduced to the House by Carr on March 12, 1773, to create inter-colony committees of correspondence. After 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 create the Continental Congress in 1774. However, Carr did not live to see the consequences of his actions as his health failed and he died on May 16, 1773. Jefferson buried his friend in the Monticello Graveyard.

See Also

Further Sources

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