John Carr of England 1600's

Thomas Carr I, England and Virginia
Dabney Carr
The Carr Who Is Buried Next To Thomas Jefferson at Montecello

Joseph J. Carr

   Friday, March 12, 1773 was a turning point in American history.
For the previous several years relations between the American
colonists and Great Britain had steadily deteriorated. The Stamp
Act of 1765 brought "taxation without representation," while the
Townshend Act of 1767 further burdened ostensibly free colonists
with "legislation without representation." In June 1772, an
incident in Rhode Island added fuel to the simmering cauldron. The
British schooner GASPE was burned off Newport. In response, the
British Parliament passed an act that allowed colonists to be
shipped to England for trial. The freedoms which the colonists
cherished so dearly were in terrible jeopardy.

   Sensing a severe threat to colonial liberties, several prominent 
Virginians elected members of the House of Burgesses   secretly met 
together in Raleigh Tavern (Williamsburg) on March 11, and proposed 
formation of a network of Committees of Correspondence that would allow 
the colonies to keep in touch with each other, and to monitor British 
intentions. Several of the burgesses in the meeting   Thomas Jefferson, 
Patrick Henry, Richard Henry Lee, Francis Lightfoot Lee, and DABNEY CARR 
(possibly others also) decided to offer the idea of the Committees of 
Correspondence to the assembled house. The idea seems to have been Richard 
Henry Lee's, with Thomas Jefferson writing the text of the formal resolution 
that would be offerred for vote. But it was 29-year old lawyer Dabney Carr 
who was tasked to rise in the House of Burgesses and introduce the resolution.

   The resolution was passed (although not without debate), and
Carr, along with ten others, were appointed to the colonies' first
Committee of Correspondence. By February 8, 1774 only one of the
remaining twelve colonies had not established their own Committees
of Correspondence; by September 5, 1774 the first Continental
Congress met in Philadelphia ...and as they say, "the rest is

   The road to the American Revolution was surveyed by Dabney Carr, 
but he unfortunately did not live to trod upon it. On May 16, 1773, 
only two months after delivering the speech that resulted in 
formation of the Committees of Correspondence, and ultimately to the 
Continental Congress and the American Revolution, the youthful Dabney 
Carr died of fever in Charlottesville, VA. He is buried at Monticello 
(Photo A) in the Jefferson family cemetery on the southwestern slope 
of Mr. Jefferson's beautiful mountain. 

   When you visit Thomas Jefferson's home, Monticello, the
gravesite is behind, and down the hill from, the west garden. If
you stand on the porch of Monticello, the gravel path down the hill to 
the Jefferson family gravesite is on the left. Follow the path along 
the west lawn, and then down the hill to the gravesite, which is 
guarded by a wrought iron fence. Follow the path around to the right, 
along the edge of the site, to the gate (it's locked). Thomas Jefferson's 
tombstone is right inside the gate. Immediately to the right of Jefferson's 
own tombstone is that of Dabney Carr. The bronze plaque at the site reads 
(in part) as follows:

        This graveyard had its beginning in an agreement
     between two young men, Thomas Jefferson and Dabney Carr,
     who were school-mates and friends. They agreed that they
     would be buried under a great oak that stood here.
     Carr, who married Jefferson's sister, died in 1773. His
     was the first grave on this site, which Jefferson laid
     out as a family burying ground. Jefferson was buried here
     in 1826.
   According to the story, Jefferson and Carr had studied under 
the "great oak" while school-mates. They both loved the location, and 
pledged that whichever died first would bury the other under the tree. Only a dozen or so years later Dabney Carr would be the first buried there, as Thomas Jefferson kept his youthful promise.

   Dabney Carr was born on October 26, 1743 at a thousand-acre
Louisa County, Virginia farm named Bear Castle. He was the son of
John Carr, grandson of Major Thomas Carr, and great-grandson of
"Thomas Carr, Gentlemen," who held extensive land patents in
Virginia from about 1701. Dabney attended the academy of Reverend
James Maury. Other students at the prestigious private school were
Thomas Jefferson and Matthew Maury. At the age of eighteen, Dabney
Carr enrolled in William and Mary College in Williamsburg, and
later studied to be a lawyer. Although his legal education
("reading law" under a practicing attorney) was interrupted in 1763 
by militia service on the frontier with the Louisa County Volunteer 
Rangers, Dabney was licensed to practice law only two years after leaving 
college. In July 1765, Dabney Carr married Martha Jefferson, Thomas' 
sister. The couple made their home at Spring Forest in Goochland 
County, VA.

   Dabney Carr was elected to the House of Burgesses in 1771 and
1772, and served on two House committees, including the influential 
Committee of Privileges and Elections. He helped incorporate the Virginia 
Society for the Promotion of Useful Knowledge, a group "...dedicated to 
a discussion of geography, natural history, natural philosophy, 
agriculture, practical mathematics, commerce, medicine and American history."

   Contemporaries regarded Dabney Carr as a powerful orator who was a 
serious challenge to the acknowledged master orator, Patrick
Henry. Of Carr, Patrick Henry's biographer, William Wirt, said
[Dabney Carr] "...was considered...the most formidible rival in
forensic eloquence that Mr. Henry had ever yet had to encounter."
Of Carr, Thomas Jefferson said he "...was one of the earliest and
most distinquished leaders in the opposition to British tyranny."

   Although Dabney Carr is largely forgotten by the history books,
except for a little microbe ("bilious fever" the doctor called it)
he would surely have been one of the giants of the American
Revolution. As it was, Dabney Carr's contribution to the formation
of the American democracy is subtantial, even though he died young.

Notes on the Family Line of Dabney Carr

     Descendents of Virgnia Carrs from the family of Dabney Carr
often become confused and erroneously append their ancestors to the 
Loudoun County line (the opposite mistake is also made quite
frequently, i.e. descendents of Loudoun Carrs appending their kin
to the line of Dabney. To serve the former, I am including the
material that I have on the "downstate" Carrs related to Dabney

     These families are found largely in Albemarle County, Louisa
County, Caroline County and in the Shenandoah Valley Counties of
Virginia stretching out as far south as North Carolina. A person
with the surname Carr from these counties is not necessarily a
relative of the family described below, but their numbers are
sufficiently large to warrant looking at that connection. Keep in
mind that the lines of John Carr in Loudoun, and relatives of
Dabney Carr downstate, are not the only Carr families existing in
Virginia at the time. So please don't be too quick to append your
own line to another without documentary evidence.
   Thomas Carr. (b.1655, d. >1724). Emigrated from England to
Topping Castle, Caroline County, Virginia in late 17th century. 

   Thomas Carr of Louisa County, VA. This Thomas Carr is styled
"Thomas Carr, gentleman" in a patent granted to him on April 25,
1701 for 546 acres of land in St. John's Parish, Pamunkey Neck,
King William County (VA) "...for the transportation of 11 persons
in the colony...." Positions held by Thomas Carr: Justice (1702),
High Sheriff (1708-09). Genealogies of Virginia Families Vol. I, p. 588ff, 
reprints a letter from Col. Wilson Miles Cary of Baltimore, written 
to The William and Mary College Quarterly Historical Magazine, who 
asserts that Thomas Carr had two sons: Major Thomas Carr of Caroline 
County (VA), born 1678, and William Carr (who is the ancestor of the 
Carrs in Spotsylvania County, VA, and also of Kentucky and Missouri). 

   Major Thomas Carr was appointed Justice for Caroline County at
the time of its formation in 1728; he served in the Caroline court
until his death (May 29, 1737). He has also been Justice in King
William County from 1714, and was High Sheriff in 1722-23. 

   Major Thomas Carr was married to Mary Dabney (b. 1688, d. Sept.
7, 1748) in 1704. The children of this marraige were: Thomas (b.
1705, d. 1743 without children); John (below); Agnes (married in
1730 to Colonel John Waller of Spotsylvania); Sarah (b. Nov. 14,
1714, d. 1772), who married John Minor (1702-43), a wealthy planter of 
Spotsylvania County.

   The son of Major Thomas Carr who left descendents was John Carr, 
Esq. of "Bear Castle," Elk Run, Louisa County, VA.; He was born on 
December 26, 1706 in Caroline County, VA. John Carr, who owned extensive 
estates, was a Member of the County Court (Louisa) from its formation 
in 1742 until his death, and served as High Sheriff in 1753-54.

   John Carr, Esq. was married twice. His first wife, Mary Garland, 
died March 10, 1736. Their son was Thomas Carr (b. Nov. 24, 1735), is 
recognized as the direct ancestor of the Carr line in North Garden, 
Albemarle County. The second wife of John Carr was Barbara Overton 
(b. April 20, 1720, d. Dec. 1794), daughter of Capt. James Overton of 
Hanover. John and Barbara had eleven children, of which six survived: Dabney (discussed below); Samuel (b.1765, d.1777); Elizabeth (b.1747); Overton (b. 1752), married Ann Addison of Oxon Hill, MD.; Garland (b.1754, d.1837), of Albemarle County, married Mary Phillips (nee' Winston) in 1783; Mary (b. 1756).

   William, the other son of the immigrant Thomas Carr and brother
of Major Thomas Carr, died in 1760 sometime between the making of
his will (dated Aug. 2, 1760) and its "proving" in Spotsylvania
county on August 12, 1760. His wife was named Susannah, and their
children were: Sarah Carr (married Mordecai Hord), Thomas Carr,
William Carr, Ann Carr, Elizabeth Carr, Phebe Carr, Walter Chiles
Carr, Charles Brooks Carr, Agnes Brooks Carr (married William
Ellis), Susannah Carr, Mary Carr.

   Walter Chiles Carr (d. 1848) married Elizabeth Chiles. Their
children were: Susan Carr, Charles Carr, Phebe Carr, Thomas Carr,
Nancy Carr, William Chiles Carr, Virginia Carr, Dabney Carr, Walter Carr, Eliza Minor Carr, and Hulda Carr.

   Charles Carr, son of Walter and Elizabeth (Chiles), married
Elizabeth Todd of Fayette County, Kentucky. Elizabeth was the
daughter of Levi Todd, and sister of Robert(?) Todd (who was the
father of Mary Todd, wife of Abraham Lincoln). Of the thirteen
children of Charles and Elizabeth, Robert Elisha Carr married Sarah Block 
(who was Jewish).  

   Dabney Carr, grandson of Thomas Carr and son of John Carr,
married Martha Jefferson, sister of Thomas Jefferson, on July 20,
1765. Dabney Carr served in the Virginia House of Burgesses and was a 
leader in pre-revolutionary Virginia. He died on May 16, 1773 of fever, 
and is buried in the Jefferson family cemetery at Montecello 
(Charlottesville, VA).

William Carr and Susannah Brook Carr Family Line

1. William Carr Capt. (1707-1760) & Susannah Brook (1711-)
|    1.1 Mary Carr (1730-) & Nicholas Crenshaw (1730-)
|    |    1.1.1 William Crenshaw (1755-)
|    |    1.1.2 Elizabeth Crenshaw (1757-) & Thomas Whitelow 
|    |    1.1.3 John Crenshaw (1759-1818) & Mildred Thompson (-1834)
|    |    1.1.4 Ann Crenshaw 
|    |    1.1.5 Susannah Crenshaw 
|    |    1.1.6 David Crenshaw (1771-1831)
|    |    1.1.7 Sarah Crenshaw 
|    1.2 Sarah Carr (1732-) & Mordecoi Hord 
|    1.3 Susannah Brook Carr (1707-1800) & William A. Crenshaw (1725-1799)
|    |    1.3.1 Cornelius Crenshaw 
|    |    1.3.2 Charles Brook Crenshaw (1749-1814) & Eunice White 
|    |    1.3.3 David Crenshaw (1751-) & Jane Waddy 
|    |    1.3.4 Nancy "Ann" Crenshaw (1756-1800) & Thomas Crenshaw 
|    |    1.3.5 Mary Crenshaw (1762-) & John Crenshaw 
|    |    1.3.6 Susannah Crenshaw (1767-) & John Burnly 
|    |    1.3.7 Agnes "Aggy" Crenshaw (1769-) & Thomas Fretwell 
|    |    1.3.8 Jamima Crenshaw  & William Fretwell Jr. (1736-1807)
|    |    1.3.9 Joel Crenshaw (1776-) & Jane (Jean) Swift 
|    |    1.3.10 Sarah Crenshaw (1778-) & William Dickinson 
|    |    1.3.11 Patsy Crenshaw (1780-) & Hardin Turner 
|    1.4 Thomas Carr 
|    1.5 William Carr 
|    1.6 Ann Carr 
|    1.7 Elizabeth Carr 
|    1.8 Phebe Carr 
|    1.9 Walter Carr 
|    1.10 Charles Brook Carr 
|    1.11 Agnes Brook Carr 

Carr Mail List and Websites

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Joseph Carr, 1790, PA

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