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John Overton Letter

 Collection
Identifier: MS-1966

In this letter to Colonel Return J. Meigs, John Overton requests that Meigs allow David Barclay, who he describes as a worthy honest man, to operate a ferry on the Nickajack River in Middle Tennessee. Overton points out that a previous serious injury has put it entirely out of [Barclay's] power to follow any laborious, active calling and hopes that Meigs will see fit to allow Barclay to do what he can to earn a living.

Dates

  • 1808 February 19

Conditions Governing Access

Collections are stored offsite, and a minimum of 2 business days are needed to retrieve these items for use. Researchers interested in consulting any of the collections are advised to contact Special Collections.

Conditions Governing Use

The copyright interests in this collection remain with the creator. For more information, contact the Special Collections Library.

Extent

0.1 Linear Feet

Abstract

In this letter to Colonel Return J. Meigs, John Overton requests that Meigs allow David Barclay, who he describes as a worthy honest man, to operate a ferry on the Nickajack River in Middle Tennessee. Overton points out that a previous serious injury has put it entirely out of [Barclay's] power to follow any laborious, active calling and hopes that Meigs will see fit to allow Barclay to do what he can to earn a living.

Biographical/Historical Note

John Overton was born in Louisa County, Virginia to James and Mary (Waller) Overton on April 9, 1766. He arrived in Nashville in March of 1789 and began practicing law in the Davidson County Court even though he was not formally admitted to the Bar until April of 1790. He roomed with Andrew Jackson, and the two became lifelong friends. Overton later handled many of Jackson's legal affairs and was one of his most intimate advisors during his first term as President.

Overton succeeded Jackson as a member of the Superior Court of Tennessee in 1804. He remained in this position until January of 1810 and served on Court's successor, the Supreme Court of Errors and Appeals, from November of 1811 until his resignation in 1816. After leaving the court, Overton returned to private practice and involved himself in the slave trade and banking. He was also one of the founders of Memphis, Tennessee, and devoted a large portion of his later life to promoting the town's growth and interests. He died in Nashville, Tennessee on April 12, 1833 and is buried in Mount Olivet Cemetery.

Overton married Mary McConnell (White) May (James White's daughter) on July 28, 1820 in Knox County. She had previously been married to Dr. Francis May, and had five children from her first marriage. She and Overton had three additional children, John Overton (May 26, 1821-1898), Anne Overton (August 5, 1823-?), and Elizabeth Overton (January 2, 1826-September 13, 1890).

Arrangement

Collection consists of a single folder.

Acquisition Note

The University of Tennessee Libraries, Knoxville, Special Collections purchased this letter in June of 1999.

Repository Details

Part of the Betsey B. Creekmore Special Collections and University Archives, The University of Tennessee, Knoxville Repository

Contact:
The University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Knoxville TN 37996 USA
865-974-4480