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Dabney Carr's Geni Profile

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Dabney Carr

Birthdate: (29)
Birthplace: Louisa County, Colony of Virginia, British Colonial America
Death: May 16, 1773 (29)
Charlottesville, Virginia, United States (Fever)
Place of Burial: Albemarle, Virginia
Immediate Family:

Son of John Carr, Esq. of Bear Castle and Barbara Ann Carr
Husband of Martha Washington Randolph Carr
Father of Jane Barbara Cary; Lucy Maria Terrell; Peter Carr; Samuel Jefferson Carr; Dabney Carr and 3 others
Brother of Elizabeth Anderson; Overton Carr; Maj. Garland Carr; Mary Minor; Samuel Carr and 5 others
Half brother of Thomas Carr

Occupation: Lawyer, Statesman - cofounder of the Continental Congress in 1774
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Dabney Carr

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.

Patriot, born in Virginia in 1744: died in Charlottesville, Virginia, 16 May, 1773. He moved and eloquently advocated a resolution to appoint inter-colonial committees of correspondence in resistance to British encroachments, which was adopted on 3 March, 1773. He married a sister of Thomas Jefferson.--His son, Dabney, born in April, 1773; died in Richmond, Virginia, 8 January, 1837, practiced law, was chancellor of Winchester district from 1811 till 1824, and judge of the court of appeals from 1824 till 1837.--Another son, Samuel, commanded the United States cavalry at Norfolk in 1812-'5.--His grandson, Dabney S., born in Baltimore, Maryland, in 1803; died in Charlottesville, Virginia, 24 March, 1854, was for several years naval officer at Baltimore, and United States minister to Turkey from 1843 till 1849. (


  • Twelve Virginia Counties: Where the Western Migration Began By John Hastings Gwathmey
  • Pg.210
  • Topping Castle, on the North Anna in Caroline, has sent forth at least three sons who deserve mar than passing mention. John Minor married Sarah, the daughter of Thomas Carr and Mary Dabney Carr, and from his father-in-law re received Topping Castle as a gift. He was one of the justice and prominent in his county.
  • His son, Major John Minor, was one of the most successful men of affairs of his day. .... etc.
  • Pg.251
  • Unfortunately, within two months after Mr. Carr took so notable a stand in the House of Burgesses he was stricken, He was the husband of Jefferson's sister Martha. In the clerk's office at Louisa is a record dated September 13, 1773, showing that on that day appeared Thomas Jefferson, as the executor of Dabney Carr. Carr's Bridge over Elk Creek was name for him.
  • Dabney Carr's father was John Carr, who lived at Bear Castle, on the North Anna river about 18 miles northeast of Louisa, and he owned land on both sides of the river. Dabney Carr's remains are in the burying ground at Monticello.
  • .... etc.
  • Pg.330
  • .... he died in Charlottesville while there on a visit. .... He married Martha, sister of Thomas Jefferson, and his remains are interred at Monticello. Dabney Carr's son, Peter Carr, was secretary to Jefferson while President and lived at Carrsbrook. His son, Dabney Carr, was minister to Turkey in 1843, serving six years. Samuel Carr, second son of Dabney Carr, the Louisa Burgess, and Martha Jefferson Carr, was a magistrate, .... Judge Dabney Carr, third son of the Louisa Burgess, practiced law in Charlottesville .... He died in Richmond in 1837. .... etc.


  • A History of Caroline County, Virginia By Marshall Wingfield
  • Pg.447
  • Doodes Minor, m. Elizabeth Cocke, issue: Garret Minor, b. 1679, d. February 20, 1720, m. Diana Vivian (October 17, 1706). She d. April 16, 1718.
  • Issue: John Minor, b. June 22, 1707, d. August 2, 1755, m. Sarah Carr (November 14, 1732); she was the dau. of Major Thomas Carr, of Caroline county, and Mary Dabney.
  • Issue: (1) Major John Minor, of "Topping Castle" Caroline county, Va., b. November 18, 1735, d. March 21, 1800, m. Elizabeth Cosby (dau. of David Cosby and mary Garland Overton). (2) William Minow (nothing known of him); (3) Thomas Minor, b. August 5, 1740, d. February 16, 1816, m. Mary Dabney, March 10, 1763; (4) Mary Ann Minor, b. March 7, 1742, d. 1818, m. Joseph Herndon, August 15, 1765. They were ancestors of Mrs. Mathew Maury, of Fredericksbury, Va., and Mrs. Carter Blasingame, of Ashland, Va.; (5) Col. Garret Minor, b. March 14, 1744, d. June 25, 1799; m. Mary Overton Terrell, dau. of Richmond Terrell and Nancy Overton, ancestors of Mrs. C. P. Cardwell nee Bessie Lee, of Hanover county, and Mrs. Laurie Smith, nee Mary H. Tyler, of Gwathmey, Va.
  • .... etc.
  • Pg.450
  • John Minor, I, was born in 1707 and on November 14, 1732 was m. to Sarah Carr, dau. of Thomas Carr and Mary Dabney of Caroline county. he received as a gift from his father-in=law the estate known as "Topping Castle," which was situated on the north bank of the North Anna River in Caroline. .... etc.
  • Pg.482
  • Col. John Waller, 3d son, founder of "Cedar Point," on the Pamunkey, now called North Anna river, in Spotsylvania county, 4th clerk of Spotsylvania, 1760-1774, m. Agnes Carr, dau. of Thomas Carr, of "Bears Castle," Louisa county, brother of Hon. Dabney Carr, who m. sister of Thomas Jefferson. John Waller, 3d, died in 1774, buried at "Cedar Point."
  • .... etc.


Dabney Carr was a member of the Virginia House of Burgesses and brother-in-law of Thomas Jefferson. One of his sons, Peter Carr, was a member of the House of Delegates and was, for a period of time, suspected of fathering children with Sally Hemings.

Carr was born on October 26, 1743 to John and Barbara Carr (née Overton) at Bear Castle, a large farm in Louisa County, Virginia. He studied law at The College of William & Mary at the same time as his friend, Thomas Jefferson. Carr married Jefferson's younger sister, Martha, in 1765.

In 1771, Carr was elected to the Virginia House of Burgesses and again in 1772. In March 1773, he proposed the creation of a Committee of correspondence to help coordinate communication between Virginia and other colonies. He died of ill health soon after, on May 16, 1773, a few weeks after the birth of his son, Dabney Carr, and was buried on the grounds of Monticello, by his best friend Jefferson "who of all men, loved him most" as the grave marker reads.

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Dabney Carr's Timeline

October 26, 1743
Louisa County, Colony of Virginia, British Colonial America
Age 22
Virginia, Albemarle, Virginia
March 7, 1768
Age 24
Louisa County, Colony of Virginia, British Colonial America
March 7, 1768
Age 24
Colony of Virginia, British Colonial America
January 2, 1770
Age 26
Albemarle County, Goochland, Virginia
October 9, 1771
Age 27
Goochland, Goochland County, Colony of Virginia, British Colonial America
April 27, 1773
Age 29
Richmond, Henrico, Virginia
May 16, 1773
Age 29
Charlottesville, Virginia, United States
Age 29