You can read about how I came to know about Dr. Boyd McNairy and his connection to my Sims family here. I updated this page in June 2013 with a chart showing the maternal links among the McNairy, Shelby, Minnick, Hodgekinson and Sims families.
JUDGE McNAIRY TO THE SECRETARY OF STATE [SD:S.W.Terr.Papers:ALS]
Territory of the United States So. of the River Ohio. the 7th of March 1791 Sir. I had the honor, with your letter to receive a commission to me directed, as one of the Judges of the Territory of the united states south of the River Ohio, which I have accepted, and proceeded to discharge the duties of the Office, Mr. Peery, whom we understand is appointed on of the Judges is not come forward, nor have we any information of him
I am, Sir, your most HumbLe and most Obedient Sert John McNairy THOMAS JEFFERSON Esquire
Reference: United States Department of State, The Territorial Papers of the United States, Vol. IV The Territory South of the Ohio River, compiled by Clarence Edwin Carter, 1936, p. 49, copy in Fort Worth Public Library, Fort Worth, TX
I hope you will not consider me giving you too much trouble. I have no person but you, in Congress that I can tell my real feelings—I want you to understand me. I am not opposed to Genl. Taylor, if the Whig convention nominates him & he accepts: I am for him. My country: I want the country sound. If you believe Taylor will save it, I am for him—otherwise I am not. You know that Clay can do all that we want: In my county Clay can best Taylor 4 to one. I intend to have a call meeting for Clay in a short time, & I will show you what Davidson County will do. our polititions I have no confidence in, they are generals for themselves & not for our country.
We are tyred of the war & I believe the people are so also. But Sir I begin to believe that men of worth cannot be trusted, & the trust is gonover us. God forbid — How is Mr Clay’s heath. if you see him give my warmest respects. God bless you.
Reference: The Papers of John Jordan Crittenden, Box 11, reel #6, 35mm microfilm, in U.S. Library of Congress, copy in Purdy-Kresge Library, Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan, accessed October 17, 2015, transcription of hand written letter by Jim Sims, the blog editor
I purposely delayed my answer until the State Elections were over. Our defeat, for the democracy have elected a Governor and Congressman from this District. I suppose the Bargain Intrigue and Corruption Clan will trace to the absence of themselves, the imagined Key stones of the Arch. Mr. Bell is following the bent of his own inclinations at a neighboring Springs, and Mr. Hall is to be found at his accustomed post, reaping the golden harvest of the Administration. Faction was our powerful enemy, and if I may be allowed to conjecture, neither Senator Bell nor his echo Mr. Hall could have restored organization, or a reunion of the discordant elements.
For the recommendation to Mr. Clayton, and your own Kind wishes, conveyed as they are with so much of the sincerity of an honest and upright heart, I sincerely thank you Yourself, Mr. Clay and a few others excepted. I would apply to, confident that so long as there was a hook to hand a hope on, your vigilance would be on tip-toe, and I am old enough in the wisdom of this world, to Know how to esteem a friendship unalloyed by the base mixture of selfishness.
But when the President reflected I am an Old Clay Whig, I apprehend I lean upon a broken reed. Time was, when to be a simple Roman was to be nobler than a northern King, and whatever the consequences which have resulted or may still result to me individually, they are of very small import when contrasted with an unswerving devotion to principles, which I have ever conceived to be the chief corner stone of our true national glory and success.
As to the reward of Mr Donelson, which you mentioned as doubtful, if he be not displaced, the very head and front of the opposite party from the days of Andrew Jackson to the present time, it will be a strange Unity which they have never adopted towards us. With the administration, which is but an embryo, I am well pleased, as far as it has advanced.
Mrs. McNairys and my Kindest regards to Mrs Crittenden, self and family.
With high respect
Reference: The Papers of John Jordan Crittenden, Box 13, reel #7, 35mm microfilm, in U.S. Library of Congress, copy in Purdy-Kresge Library, Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan, accessed October 17, 2015, transcription of hand written letter by Jim Sims, the blog editor. This letter has writing on the front and the back, and I have combined both images here.
Like Lt Pierce I do not sit me on the palace steps to beg an alms of the Grand Duke as—I doubt not they are already well lined—but simply ask an audience of you. To you I would speak without concealment, with freedom and I hope without ostentation.
Although I could not reconcile to myself the movement of the Whig Party in their selection of a candidate in the recent election, may I not say, without being accused of any undue self-eulogy or notice, that I have been no unfaithful adherent, from the very infancy of that party until now? Not wishing, however, to be understood as building any air-castles—if they must prove so— upon this much cherished thought, for “Virtue is its own reward.” But since I have never flagged in my duty, however unimportant, even to the neglect of my private and individual affairs—which I hope you will pardon me in noticing and since every day brings to light some appointment, between which, and the recipient, there seems to be as wide a chasm as that, between myself and the one I would propose, namely, the ministerial charge to Frankfort on the Main, is it unreasonable that I should apply for that post? And without intending on the one hand, to lay claim to the necessary qualifications myself, on the other, wishing to disparage those of the presiding minister at that place, in all humility of spirit let me say, I think I can fulfill the duties of the station as well as he—Mr. Donelson—Nor do I see that I resemble in this, “the frog that swells in order to equal the ox”, or like the Egyptian King, will find my legs too short for the colossal staircase. Briefly then, should General Taylor upon your recommendation which this letter is designed to solicit, and which I would not ask did I not think, if given at all, it would be freely given— should he I repeat, think me worthy of the office in question, I would be proud of the confidence, if, however, his choice should alight upon some towering head, be it so, it would ill-become me to be dissatisfied. I have one other remark to make, that thought minimal be that
Vaulting ambition, which overleaps itself, at least, my fidelity will remain unimpeached, for no one will lay to my door that absurd charge, that any desire of glory has prompted an humble individual like myself, in his devotion to the Whig Party. I mentioned my wish to supersede Mr. Donelson, should there be already some one in view for that office, is there no other to which you can direct the attention of the Chief Executive?
Presently me kindly to Mrs Crittenden.
Reference: The Papers of John Jordan Crittenden, Box 13, reel #7, 35mm microfilm, in U.S. Library of Congress, copy in Purdy-Kresge Library, Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan, accessed October 17, 2015; transcription of hand written letter by Jim Sims, the blog editor; this is a two-sided document, and I have combined front and back into one image here.
Last night the Old Lady handed me your letter of the 8th. I was perfectly ignorant of the fact, that she had written to you about me. But the sentiments expressed in your reply are highly appreciated by me, and will be recollected as long as an artery pulsates. I suppose I am classed as an Ultra Whig. So be it. I am content. I could never relinquish my first love. Ingratitude is the worst of Crimes. A book might be written on it. I did not vote. I could not vote for Cass. As to myself, it becomes me not to speak. If honesty of intention be allowed me, it is all I ask, but could I less require? In all truth, however, let me say, I did not admire such leaders as John Bell and A. A. Hall. The former, a cold-heartless man, the latter, a drunken Gad-fly, whose every movement is but a stepping stone to office. Both original Jackson men, and abusing every one that differed with them in opinion about him. The one, Bell, Jackson found out long before his death, and expressed himself freely about him. He often said he was a great hypocrite, and would basely abandon his very “right of thought” for office, and if he had given him office, he would still have been a democrat. I believe he spoke the truth. My prayer is, that neither will be made great men of by General Taylor.
“Mark you now what follows.”
Govr Jones a warm hearted clever fellow, with more influence than any Whig in Tennessee. If hard work and doing faithful duty entitles a man reward, he is the man. No man who voted for General Taylor will be more gratified than I, should he prove a Whig in practice; none will sustain him with more devotion than myself. Remember me to Gen. Letcher. For your yourself and lady accept the warmest assurances of myself and wife.
With high respect
Your sincere friend
Reference: The Papers of John Jordan Crittenden, Box 11, reel #6, 35mm microfilm, in U.S. Library of Congress, copy in Purdy-Kresge Library, Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan, accessed October 17, 2015; transcription of hand written letter by Jim Sims, the blog editor. The letter is two-sided. I have combined back and front images for ease of reading in the image above.
Last night I saw a Kentucky paper announcing you as a candidate for the legislature which much pleased me. I have not seen any opposition announcement. I hope they will let you walk of the track—What do your people say about the slow up at Washington, they say here its all right, endure nothing that Jackson could do with a majority of our people, but what would be right, but thank God the day has passed by when a man is persecuted and hunted down for being Anti Jackson —If you have time I should be glad to know what the prospects are in your state, as to your state elections. The battle ground is in your state, if you succeed in electing a majority to Congress and the legislature, and your Senator of course,what is to prevent Mr. Clay’s success if things progress as they have done for some time—I had the pleasure of seeing your sister Horton in our place a few minutes, and promised to call & see her the same morning, but was called away into [smudged] the country upon professional duties and was prevented. called next morning, but she left us that night in the stage. You will apologize and say Mr. McNairy is now well and as she passes upon her return I shall be mortified if she does not drive up to my house and rest herself a few days.
After presenting me to your good family and brother yours with constant & cordial regard.
P.S. Remember me affectionately to John J. Marshall & family.
Reference: The Papers of John Jordan Crittenden, Box 4, reel #2, 35mm microfilm, in U.S. Library of Congress, copy in Purdy-Kresge Library, Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan, accessed October 17, 2015, transcription of hand written letter by Jim Sims, the blog editor. The letter has writing on both sides. I have combined the images from both sides as if it was a single-sided document.
Your letter dated 17th Feby and its enclosure come to hand, and you cant conceive what pleasure it give me, to be recollected by old friends. I wrote a letter to Mr. Clay in answer to one of his, which I fear he did not like but if so I cannot help it, it was my honest feelings, he talked to me about forbearance, and hoped that I would excuse him. I did so, but I told him, my habit about him was to say, when his country or friend was interested, he had no forbearance. I do not know certainly, what I asked for will suit me, but I do not want to leave home. I have a large family and a very expensive one. I will promise, it shall be done honestly and well. At one time I thought it was wrong to send on signatures to recommend me, but some of my friends say I must do it. Therefore you may expect before long a list. The Presidents message arrived last night, hands could not better it. We are in high spirits. Jones is our Whig candidate for governor and he will certainly demolish Jimmy Polk. We shall have more difficulty about members of the Legislature than any thing else. Unfortunately we have too many great men.
With high regard
P.S. The present Post master has been
drunk ever since the 4th of March.
The Papers of John Jordan Crittenden, Box 7, reel #4, 35mm microfilm, in U.S. Library of Congress, copy in Purdy-Kresge Library, Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan, accessed October 17, 2015, transcription of hand written letter by Jim Sims, the blog editor
The mail of night before last, placed me in possession of your favor of 11th current, which has been perceived with emotions of no ordinary satisfaction.—And first, permit me to return you my unfeigned and hearty thanks for your kind and prompt attention in writing to Mr. Clayton in relation to my son’s appointment to the Russian Legation. Be the event of my son’s application what it may, I shall ever cherish sentiments of lively gratitude toward you in view of your active intervention in his favor. I have conferred with Gov. Brown on the subject. He is favorable, though powerless to act, having received no official information from Washington confirmatory of his appointment.
I apprised Foster of your message: He expressed the warmest personal attachment toward you. He said, in fact, that you were one of the few public men in whose head and heart he had the most unqualified confidence — that he had written you lengthily in Dec. 1848. And again in February 1849 from Louisville; and that, knowing how much you must be harassed by the officious kindness of your friends he had purposely avoided any intrusions. Foster is not a man after his old manner of life. He attends exclusively to his profession and his private affairs, goes but little into company and refuses to talk or act in politics.— As to those hearty laughs of which I myself have heard so many, they seldom escape him, but this I attribute to his great domestic affliction. Another thing — he abhors the head leaders of the whig party in Tennessee, and such is the resolution of his mind, that I believe he would suffer death before he would associate with them.
You enquire of the Southern Convention —Will it meet? I am in no wise interested in the contemplated meetings; nay, I disapprobate it entirely. And yet, I think, in event of a failure of Congress to adjust this California question in a manner satisfactory to the South, that it will meet.— Should it meet, much of evil will unquestionably grow out of it, and shame and disgrace be reflected upon the participants in its deliberations. Foster differs from me in opinion as to its meeting. He thinks the movement of a convention will resolve itself an abortion. That I think otherwise, is the result of careful observation, and a knowledge of the men engaged in it. — If you will oblige me at your leisure with occasional letters, the act will be extremely grateful to me; for next to the pleasure of seeing my friend, is that I take in hearing from them.
Assure Mrs. Crittenden & other members of your family of my cordial regards.
Sincerely your friend
Gov. J. J. Crittenden
Reference: The Papers of John Jordan Crittenden, Box 13, reel #7, 35mm microfilm, in U.S. Library of Congress, copy in Purdy-Kresge Library, Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan, accessed October 17, 2015; transcription of handwritten letter by Jim Sims, the blog editor; the letter has writing on two sides of the paper, and I have combined the front and back text into one image as if it was a one-sided document.
Your kind offices in favor of my son are responded to with the warmest and sincerest feelings of my heart. The appointment to which you propose elevating him will confer honor, afford support, and more than all place him in the line of promotion. I am not less grateful for your kind intentions towards myself, but the whigs of Tennessee have, with a miserly abridgment, cut me off from that position to which I had been called by the Legislature of the State, namely, the Superintendentship of the Asylum, which was not received at their hands, the vote standing, whigs 23 and democrats 29.
In the last gubernatorial contest my sons and self did every thing within our ability to ensure the election of the present Chief Executive of our State, who, when installed, having the power in consequence of an act passed to the effect, appointed a Board of Trustees, knowing that they would select one to supersede me, who is a mere boy. Is it strange then that I should lose confidence in the “Head Whigs” of Tennessee? With but two exceptions, H. L. Brown, and Senator Jones, they would lick the very dust for office. Governor Campbell may repose upon his gunpowder laurels, and govern where impulse rules, not intellect.
I recollect, in old times, all the whigs, who are now holding office, in consequence of my firm adherence to Henry Clay, were violently opposed to me, and that we stood with our daggers unsheathed, ready to thrust them in each others bosom, but, in the language of Mark Antony, “they are all honorable men.”
Accept again my heartfelt thanks, and the kindest regards of every member of my family.
Reference: The Papers of John Jordan Crittenden, Box 16, reel #8, 35mm microfilm, in U.S. Library of Congress; copy in Purdy-Kresge Library, Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan, accessed October 17, 2015; transcription here of hand written letter (image above) by Jim Sims, the blog editor: The letter has writing on the front and back. I have combined the images into one image as if it was written single-sided.