Aaron Burr In the News in 2008
I am a high school student named Andrea Rodgers at Poly High School in Southern California. I'm writing a paper about Aaron Burr for a national history project known as History Day. I found this email address on the ABA Website. I had difficulty finding information about Burr that is not negatively biased, I was hoping you might be able to answer some questions that I would very muclike to hear the other side of. I was also wondering if ordering "The Chronicle" or joining ABA would be useful to me in my research. Also, I was wondering if you had any recommendations for me in obtaining information or other interviews. Any time you can spare me I would greatly appreciate. My ten questions are below.
Some argue Burr's actions in ending Jefferson's attempt to control the judicial branch had a permanent effect, while others note if Burr had not done this, fear of tyrants would have caused others to stop the blending of the branches later on. How do you respond to this?
It was permanent, lasting to this day. Fear of tyrants or dictators does not allow the masses to overturn them. Look at Africa or the Mideast today, run by religious zealots. Iraqis could not dispose of Saddam Hussein until we helped. Jefferson sought more presidential power as soon as he stole the Presidency from Burr by having his agent make a deal with the Delaware representative to change his vote in exchange for certain Port Appointments, etc. (This is similar to Gov. Rod Blagojevich's secret dealings to decide an important political seat.) Jefferson feared Burr, and was only cordial to him when he needed Burr's help to control the Judiciary. Burr of course did the right thing, and thwarted TJ's coup.
It is widely admitted that Burr was among one of the first feminists in the United States. Is it possible that this being not commonly accepted had an effect on Burr being disliked by the society at large?
Yes. Young women were denied education, and treated as inferior. Burr married a woman 10 yrs older for her intellect, and they encouraged their daughter to exceed. Hamilton had an affair with a 23 year old girl, while telling his wife with his 5 children not to travel to Philadelphia without first telling him. Hamilton used the newspapers to attack Burr. Burr was loved by society at large until his political problems with TJ and AH.
Looking objectively at Burr's actions it seems that he spoke openly of his opinions, and persons of the era seemed to have adverse reactions to his personality as a result. Would you agree?
All politicians are supported by some and opposed by others. Reagan and Clinton are good examples. In the early newspaper days, slander was in its written infancy. Burr's legal suit to correct lies was infeasible. Burr's opponents were the plantation owners who propped up Jefferson and then Madison and Monroe. Burr's advocacy for the common man and woman met resistance from slave owners and Hamilton's controlling aristocrats.
What is your opinion of the fact that Burr shot Hamilton while Hamilton claimed to have made previously the decision to waste his round?
Please read on this web site about Hamilton's brother John Church who owned the trick pistols. Hamilton knew that if he survived, he would burn his intent letters. If he died, he knew they would be published. That wasted round a few feet over Burr's head before Burr could fire was a miss, not a gallant gesture from such a despicable figure.
(If I seem to be harsh on AH, please recall that it is his economic system copied from England that has allowed today's fiscal mess by the too powerful Federalists.)
Some argue that it was widely known that Jefferson had truly "won" the election by popular opinion even when he was still technically tied with Burr in the election and that not stepping down makes Burr "conceited" or "selfish." How would you refute this argument?
Please read Yale Professor Joanne Freeman's Affairs of Honor to see how Jefferson bribed James Bayard. Popular opinion backed war hero Burr over TJ who never fought. And Burr's father from Princeton, and grandfather Jonathan Edwards made him wildly popular.
6. George Morgan claimed to be friends with Burr, and they were clearly friendly enough that Burr felt comfortable talking about his plans (even vaguely) that had caused him to be in the west while having dinner there. What, under these circumstances could have caused Morgan to testify against Burr in the case of The U.S. v. Burr if Burr was not guilty in this respect?
At that dinner, it was clear Morgan's own sons wanted to leave Pittsburgh and join Burr out west. Some parents are jealous, and like their offspring to not move away.
Some argue that Jefferson caused the majority of Burr's unpopularity in the U.S., while others argue that Jefferson was receiving copious complaints against Burr even before Jefferson announced that he was a traitor. How would you respond?
Jefferson was for slavery, and slave owners needed to sell slave babies for big profit. The new market was out west. Burr purchased the Bastrop land in Louisiana, and it was known that slaves could live free there because it was set for small farms, not cotton. Plantation owners "freaked out." Instead of an underground railroad having to stretch all the way north, runaway slaves could simply go to Bastrop for freedom. The head of the army Wilkinson betrayed Burr by trying to turn him over to the more powerful TJ. Burr escaped Wilkinson, but was trapped in Alabama. Sensational stories meant to sell newspapers are also to blame. TJ made a fool of himself at the trial where Burr won.
During his time traveling Europe after his major controversies, Burr is known to have remarked: "In the past even I was afraid of my own greatness, therefore I could not stand in front of mirrors." How do you interpret this quote?
I'm not familiar with this quote. Its sounds like something out of the romance novels that portray Burr as David Niven did in Magnificent Doll. In the 1790's he was great, and was reduced to poverty while in Europe. We cannot imagine such contrast today, when even the poorest Americans do not go hungry. Remember that several wealthy Revolutionary War financiers ended up in debtor's prison for failing to pay bills. (Not Burr) Compare this to Mr. Madoff residing in his 7 million dollar apartment this morning.
John Adams was known to have spoken ardently of Burr, especially in terms of his service in the Revolutionary War. However, John Quincy Adams went as far as to say of him: "Burr's life, take it all together, was such as in any country of sound morals his friends would be desirous of burying in quiet oblivion." What do you think of this?
Adams Sr. knew Burr in his prime. Quincy played to the politics after Burr lost popularity. As a widower, Burr did date in the 1820's etc. and was a target for "moral indignation." By Theodosia loosing his letters on the Patriot, Burr legacy was left to Matthew Davis who over edited with the fireplace and his opinions.
Burr's reputation was ruined after the Duel, because no one knew about the hair trigger advantage Hamilton had until 1976.
Some argue that Burr returning from Europe and not attempting to resume his political career was out of guilt and shame, while others argue that was merely out of acceptence that he had become unpopular in the public eye and there was nothing he could do about this. What would you argue?
When Burr lost Theodosia at sea, he was wiped out and severely depressed. While Burr was VP, Jefferson purposely made no Federal appointments for Burrs supporters who felt betrayed for their campaign loyalty. (It was a miracle he even competed for the governorship against Morgan Lewis in 1804.) Being in Europe, and unable to return until Dolly Madison pulled strings caused Burr to be out of touch. He did not want to compete against the ruthless DeWitt Clinton. He needed money and reestablished his good law practice instead.
Happy Holidays, Sincerely, Andy Rodgers
P.S. If you're reading this, I take it you've answered my questions. So, thank you!
Thank you Andy. Please try to read Nancy Isenberg's book for more information, and call Stuart Johnson for more info on the ABA. Pete
Following is a bit of trivia concerning the Burr-Hamilton duel. It comes from Wikipedia’s description of the history of the Got Milk? advertising campaign
The first Got Milk? advertisement, in October 1993, featured a hapless history buff (played by Sean Whalen) who receives a call to answer a radio station's $10,000 trivia question (voiced by Rob Paulsen), "Who shot Alexander Hamilton in that famous duel?" The man's apartment is shown to be a private museum to the duel, packed with artifacts. He answers the question correctly, but because his mouth is full of peanut butter and he has no milk to wash it down, his answer is unintelligible. The ad, directed by Hollywood director Michael Bay, was at the top of the advertising industry's award circuit in 1994. In 2002, the ad was named one of the ten best commercials of all time by a USA Today poll, and was run again nationwide that same year. It has since been featured in numerous books on advertising and is being used in case studies at top-flight programs around the country.
History News Network 10/20/08
Why Burr's Treason Trial Is Relevant Today
By Peter Charles Hoffer
Mr. Hoffer is Distinguished Research Professor, Department of History, University of Georgia. He is the author of The Treason Trials of Aaron Burr (paperback, 2008).
In the next year, the public opinion will have occasion to revisit President George W. Bush’s attempts to ferret out and punish suspected terrorists. The president made it clear, before any trials at law occurred, that he thought the detainees were guilty. Some of the initiatives taken by his appointees, for example Department of Justice in-house rulings on the use of torture, have already been exposed to the public criticism. The prison camp at Guantanamo may or may not be disbanded, depending on who wins the presidential election this November. While much of the present controversy stems from 9/11, the basic questions of the relationship between the presidency and the High Court, and presidential pre-judgment of suspected threats to national security, has a precedent in the first years of our Republic. Before and during the treason trials of Aaron Burr, President Thomas Jefferson adopted a stance strikingly similar to that of President Bush.....
See entire article here:
Hi, Peter. Can you put a link to The Jonathan Edwards Center at Yale on our ABA website. It is http://edwards.yale.edu. The photos from the meeting were great. Thanks & best regards..
The Senate and the VP [Amy Holmes] Friday, October 03, 2008
Is the VP of the Senate? Well, he has offices right off the Senate floor. Golly, even I got to check out Cheney's not-so-secret lair in the Capitol Building when I worked there for the Senate Majority Leader — and I was a just a lowly staffer. Surely Biden, in his three decades in the Senate, has ducked in once or twice. It's really nice and spacious. The vice president has a staff and offices in the Everett M. Dirksen Senate Office Building, near the Capitol, to assist with legislative matters, as well as a personal office near the Senate lobby. The cornerstone of the first Senate Office Building was laid without fanfare on July 31, 1906, and the building admitted its first occupants on March 5, 1909... The vice president also occupied a small suite of rooms. While tradition dictates that the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court administers the oath of office to the President-elect, a variety of officials have administered the oath to Vice Presidents. The president pro tempore of the Senate administered the oath to the first three Vice Presidents—John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and Aaron Burr—and to many Vice Presidents from the mid-nineteenth century to the early twentieth century. Until 1937, most Vice Presidents took the oath of office in the Senate chamber, prior to the President's swearing-in ceremony. This made the Vice President's swearing-in ceremony distinct and separate from the President's.
Not much news fit to upload in September.
We are often asked about Aaron Burr's farewell speech to the Senate.
The best account of it was John Quincy Adams's account as follows:
Reviving New Jersey’s Oldest English-Speaking Church
By KEVIN COYNE
Published: August 14, 2008
Elizabeth PART of the new steeple for the old church dangled from a tall crane, 21 tons rising slowly above the shady green oasis at the heart of the city, halfway between where it had been and where it was going — a position familiar to the minister who did so much to get it here.
Let’s hope it fits,” said the Rev. Charles Brackbill as he watched the white clock section of the steeple lifted toward the brick bell tower. Old First Presbyterian Church was about to look again the way it did when Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr — who both spent time here — were still around....
When you click on Aaron Burr above, here's how the NYTimes describes him. This should be corrected.
We are pleased to announce that our third grandchild (and third grandson) Sean Campbell Burr was born on Thursday, July 31, coming in at 8 lbs., 13 oz., and 22" in length. Mom Vincie and dad Andy are doing fine. Wife Dale and I are worn out from watching Tyler (4) and Noah (2) for a couple of days.
Frank and Dale Burr
Senior-housing application rejected
Board feels plan threatens character of Princeton neighborhood
....While supporters cited a growing need for senior housing in the Princeton area, opponents felt the large building would ruin the character and charm of the small residential neighborhood, where many of the houses were built during the early 20th, and even 19th, centuries. The proposed structure would also sit across the street from the historic Princeton Cemetery, home to the graves of historical figures such as Aaron Burr and Grover Cleveland. ....
Filming Rediscovering Alexander Hamilton
Sheila Hennessey, Michael Pack (who we met in Richmond) and cameraman Tony in Weehawken on site.
Doug Hamilton and Antonio Burr fire pistols loaded by Vern Crofoot who also worked on Glory, Alamo and John Adams.
Richard Brookhiser (center) narrates.
Doug with members of the Society of the Cincinnati at a round table. Defending Burr on film were Frank Price, another Society member, Antonio and Pete Tavino.
Here is the medal George Washington gave Alexander Hamilton.
Doug said it may be the first time since the 4th of July,1804 that the medal heard the rendition of the Hamilton song, sung in Doug's great singing voice.
It was also cut with scissors. Possibly by Dr. Hosack?
It was interesting to note that the Society of the Cincinnati membership is limited to the first son of the first son of the first son... of Revolutionary War Officers.
Watch PBS for the show in a few months. Posted 7/26.
Anniversary of Burr in New Orleans with someone's version of the expedition west:
July 17, 2008 - A beautiful summer evening.
The stone to the far right marks the grave of Aaron Burr's sister Sally Burr Reeve.
The white stone is for her husband Tapping Reeve, who tutored Aaron and Sally at Princeton.
The horizontal tomb to the left contains the remains of Oliver Wolcott Jr. who replaced Hamilton as Washington's Treasury Secretary.
Oliver Jr. was at William Bayard's house July 11/12, 1804 as Hamilton lay mortally wounded.
Next to Oliver Jr's. resting place is the tomb of his father who signed the Declaration of Independence.
A new item of interest concerning Aaron and Sally and Tapping's time in Litchfield is that the Congregational Church's minister was Robert Edwards, grandson of Jonathan Edwards and thus their cousin. Time of his tenure and any family connection is to be reported.
Two Really Special People and a Host of Others Greene County Daily World - Linton,In,USA Oddly, one of these children, William Van Ness, was a close friend of Aaron Burr, and it was William (at a much later date) who carried Burr's challenge of ...
The deliciously sordid history of divorce in N.Y.
Sunday, July 6th 2008, 2:23 AM
The economy is tanking, investment banks are teetering and the cost of everything from gasoline to milk is going up as expectations for the future dim.
At least we have a good divorce trial to distract us. Rather than fret about the state of the nation and the world we can read about Christie Brinkley and her perv husband.
And the Fourth of July weekend is a propitious time to give thanks for such distractions, for Colonial authorities had refused to grant divorces in New York for nearly a century before the Revolution.
In 1787, a socially prominent gentleman named Isaac Governeur petitioned the fledgling New York State Legislature for a divorce from his wife, who had committed numerous adulteries, which she ascribed to reading too many romance novels.
The matter was referred to a committee headed by Alexander Hamilton, who happened to have been born out of wedlock in the West Indies. His mother had been married to another man before meeting his father and had at one point been jailed for "adulterous whoring with everyone." The law had barred her from remarrying, even if his father had so desired.
Hamilton's committee decreed that divorces would be granted by the newly established courts, but solely on the grounds of adultery. Hamilton then arranged to represent Governeur, making himself not only the author of New York's first divorce law but its first divorce lawyer as well.
As is taught in every school, Hamilton was subsequently killed in a duel with Aaron Burr. What is not taught is that Hamilton achieved a posthumous revenge when Burr was sued for divorce at the age of 79 for "committing adultery at divers [diverse] times with divers females."
The chief witness was a servant, Maria Johnson, who had came upon Burr in the throes of passion with a woman decidedly not his wife. Johnson was particularly repulsed because, in her words, "He was a very old man." The divorce was granted on the very day Burr died at his Staten Island home. ....
No mention of the 23 year old Maria Reynolds?
7/3/08 Treason Trial for those who wish to learn English.
Did you know Jefferson told Burr there would be no war with Spain, but Burr proceeded anyway? So says this author, who needs to do better research, before teaching immigrants about Burr.
US History Series: A Supreme Court Justice Is Put on Trial in 1805Samuel Chase used the courtroom as a place to attack President Jefferson's policies.
Vice President Aaron Burr led the trial as chief officer of the Senate. Transcript of radio broadcast: 25 June 2008
Hoffer, Peter Charles. The Treason Trials of Aaron Burr. Univ. Pr. of Kansas. (Landmark Law Cases & American Society). Aug. 2008. c.224p. index. ISBN 978-0-7006-1591-9. $35; pap. ISBN 978-0-7006-1592-6. $16.95. HIST Verdict: Largely favorable to Burr, Hoffer’s book is well researched and an accessibly written account. Recommended for early American and legal history collections in large public and all academic libraries. Background: Most people know Aaron Burr as the scoundrel who killed Alexander Hamilton in a duel. Hoffer (history, Univ. of Georgia; coauthor, The Supreme Court: An Essential History) examines another notorious—and historically significant—portion of this man’s long and complex life, his 1807 trial for treason. Hoffer devotes most of his efficiently written book to setting the stage for his titular focus, summarizing the work of other scholars as he does so. He provides a brief biography of Burr, a history of the law of treason and its enforcement in the Anglo-American tradition, and a perhaps unavoidably fuzzy history of Burr’s exploits in the West. No one to this day is 100 percent clear on Burr’s actual intentions in his adventures that provoked his trial and that of his compatriots Erick Bollman and Samuel Swartwout. The last quarter of the book hones in on the landmark case of U.S. v. Burr, considered one of the most important in U.S. history as it tested (and confirmed) the neutrality of the judicial branch in a highly politicized circumstance. The book ends with the author’s own best guess as to what Burr’s intentions were in his ventures to the West.—Robert Flatley, Kutztown Univ., PA
Political leaders pay tribute to TV's Russert The Associated Press - "Maybe Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr will be on for the full hour debating," he said. Luke Russert repeated much of the eulogy at the memorial service, ... See all stories on this topic
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Release Date: June 24, 2008
In the early morning hours of July 11, 1804, two men stood facing each other on a New Jersey cliff side. One was the U.S. vice president, Aaron Burr, and the other was Alexander Hamilton, the secretary of the treasury. They were ready to fight to the death for honor. These Founding Fathers, once friends and colleagues, had become the bitterest of enemies. After years of escalating tension, Burr had finally challenged Hamilton to a duel. In the end, only one man survived, but their infamous rivalry lives on.
From the Gothamist,
June 8, 2008
Moving This Old House (Hamilton Grange) Every New Yorker realizes that 'moving day' can be a pain in the butt, so you'd think only two moves in over two centuries might not be that big of a deal. It is when one is moving the entire house for the second time. Hamilton Grange was the country home of Alexander Hamilton, who only got to live there a short time before that scurrilous character Aaron Burr shot him in a duel.The country manse was originally situated just south of what is now 143rd St. in Manhattan, before it was moved a block south in 1899, into what is now a cramped lot, crowded by a church and another building. That was supposed to be a temporary relocation. This weekend, preservationists and a group of very skilled engineers transported the home another block south and a block east to St. Nicholas Park. The building was also re-oriented, because it's original southwestern orientation would have left the front of the building facing into a cliff in the park.
scurrilous adj. 1. grossly or obscenely abusive. 2. coarsely jocular or derisive. (I don't think so.)
Peter, I'm just alerting you to the fact that there's a very interesting article in the April 2008 issue of THE WILLIAM & MARY QUARTERLY, "'A Very Convenient Instrument': The Manhattan Company, Aaron Burr, and the Election of 1800" by Brian Phillips Murphy, a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Virginia. The article is favorable to Burr & I recommend it to our members. It's not available on-line unless you are a subscriber, but most good libraries should have it, or it could always be ordered through inter-library loan. Best regards, Sue Suzanne G. Bowles, Ph.D. Associate Professor of History William Paterson University Wayne, NJ 07470 phone: 973-720-2719 fax: 973-720-3079 email: BowlesS@wpunj.edu 5/20/08
CNN updated 9:07 a.m. EDT, Fri May 9, 2008 A celebration of almost-great men
Chester Arthur maintained lucrative employment as the collector for port of NY
Andrew Johnson took his 1865 vice-presidential oath drunk and belligerent as hell
Aaron Burr tried to conspire with Napoleon to conquer Florida, but failed
Both Aaron Burr and John Breckenridge were charged with treason
5. Aaron Burr: Thomas Jefferson's V.P.
No story on vice presidents would be complete without Aaron Burr -- best known for shooting and killing Alexander Hamilton in a duel in 1804. After the incident, Burr went back to presiding over the Senate. From there, he plotted a treasonous conspiracy to become emperor of the western United States and Mexico.
The plan could have worked, but one of Burr's co-conspirators ratted him out. He was tried in 1807 before the Supreme Court, which found him not guilty, mainly because he hadn't actually committed the treason yet. A free man, Burr turned his sights on Florida. He went to France and tried to convince Napoleon Bonaparte to help him conquer the swampland, but that plan foundered, too.
Although his political high jinks often failed, Burr consistently found success with the ladies. After his wife died in 1794, Burr remained a bachelor for 40 years, making the acquaintance of several eligible socialites. He enjoyed flirtations with Philadelphia debutantes, as well as a widow named Dolley Payne Todd -- later known as Dolley Madison, wife of James Madison.
At age 76, Burr married a wealthy widow of ill-repute and plundered her fortune. Citing numerous infidelities on his part, she filed for divorce and was actually granted it. Unfortunately for her, it came through on the day Burr died.
The 3/18 reenactment of the arrest of Aaron Burr in Alabama did occur.
Several ABA members attended. Here are some photos posted 4/12:
John Jackson and Nick Warren from Baldwin County Historical Society
ABA Member Judge Brian Hardison; Henry Skinner, dressed as a soldier pursuing Burr, shaking hands with ABA President General Stuart Johnson.
(Henry Skinner is a descendent of General James Wilkinson)
ABA Member Alan Clark, M.D. and his friend Susan, a professor of humanities
-all at Bicentennial Park with camp and re-enactors in the background.
Re-enactor Eli with beard killed a poisonous Brown Recluse spider hours before the event.
Thanks to all, including Cindy Hardison and Helena Lawrence who participated.
The Aaron Burr association appreciates all historic events that shed light on activities of Aaron Burr.
Read an Excerpt of Cokie Roberts' New Book 'Ladies of Liberty: The Women Who Shaped Our Nation'
April 9, 2008 ABC News political correspondent and best-selling author Cokie Roberts continues the story of early America's influential women that she began in "Founding Mothers" (2004). In her new book. "Ladies of Liberty," she draws on personal correspondence, private journals and many previously unpublished primary sources to capture the lives of extraordinary women, including Abigail Adams, Martha Jefferson, Dolley Madison, Elizabeth Monroe, Eliza Hamilton, Theodosia Burr, Louisa Livingston, Rosalie Calvert, Rebecca Gratz, Louise Catherien Adams, Margaret Bayard Smith, Sacajawea and others.
from wikipedia. 4/4/08 The Pistols Others have attributed Hamilton's apparent misfire to the hair-triggered design of the Wogdon duelling pistols, both of which survive today. Only Hamilton, familiar with the weapons, would have known about and been able to use the hair-trigger. However, when asked by Pendleton before the duel if he would have the "hair-spring" pistol, Hamilton reportedly replied "not this time." The "hair-spring" pistol provided an advantage because it took less time to fire, being more sensitive to the movement of the trigger finger. The pistols belonged to Hamilton's brother-in-law, John Barker Church, who was a business partner of both Hamilton and Burr. He purchased the pistols in London in 1797. They had previously been used in a 1799 duel between Church and Burr, in which neither man was injured. In 1801, Hamilton's son, Philip, used them in the duel in which he died. In 1930 the pistols were sold to the Chase Manhattan Bank, now preserved by JPMorgan Chase & Co. The guns are on display in the Executive Conference center of 277 Park Avenue in Manhattan. For the United States Bicentennial anniversary in 1976, Chase Manhattan allowed the pistols to be removed and loaned to the U.S. Bicentennial Society of Richmond. When the original pistol was examined, the concealed hair trigger was discovered.
Subject:Heres an addition for your workDate:3/28/2008 10:59:38 A.M. Eastern Daylight TimeFrom:NWARREN@co.baldwin.al.us
Thank you Nick! We'll be posting Stuart's pictures soon.
Are you all enjoying the John Adams mini series? Did any of you audition and become actors after the notice on this ABA web site? The first two episodes were quite good. But they should have added to the scene when John Adams met George Washington in Boston in 1775. The two horse riders were destined to be the first two presidents of our country. How great if they had noted that the 19 year old in the tent next to them would get more presidential votes than incumbent Adams in 1800.
3/18 Regarding the bank that Aaron Burr founded:
The Defense Department has the Pentagon. Now, JPMorgan Chase can claim the “Octagon” as its own.
Part of the banking giant’s $236 million purchase of Bear Stearns is the acquisition of its eight-sided, 43-story headquarters on Madison Avenue, footsteps away from JPMorgan’s headquarters on Park Avenue. In fact, James Dimon, JPMorgan’s chairman and chief executive, could probably look out his window and see his newest trophy..
JPMorgan’s midtown Manhattan offices, which comprise a large portion of its work space....
270 Park Ave.: The former Union Carbide Building is now JPMorgan’s global headquarters, where Mr. Dimon’s office resides on the eighth floor. (Here’s a tidbit of historical trivia: ensconced in a glass case on that floor are the dueling pistols used by Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr in 1804. Mr. Burr founded the Manhattan Bank, a predecessor of the modern JPMorgan.)
3/5/08 For information on Aaron Burr's grandfather, Jonathan Edwards, click on this link.
Baldwin to reenact capture of Burr
Sunday, March 02, 2008By GUY BUSBY Staff Reporter
Two centuries ago, one of the stranger episodes in U.S. history came to an end in the wilds of southwest Alabama when a disguised fugitive -- former Vice President Aaron Burr -- was captured while trying to flee the country.
Those events will be reenacted and commemorated March 15 as part of Baldwin County's upcoming bicentennial.
Burr was taken into custody Feb. 20, 1807, on the road to the community of New Wakefield in what is now Washington County. On March 6, he was transferred by boat to Boatyard Lake in present-day Baldwin County. There, he was turned over to Capt. Nicholas Perkins of Tennessee and the men who would escort him to Richmond, Va., to stand trial on federal charges of treason.
The reenactment of his arrest will be one of the first celebrations of the Baldwin bicentennial, according to Nick Warren, director of special projects for the county Archives agency.
Baldwin County was established by the Mississippi Territorial Legislature in December 1809. Only two of Alabama's 67 counties -- Washington and Madison -- are older.
Generally, if modern Americans do recognize Burr's name, Warren said, it is as the man who fatally shot former Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton in a New Jersey duel.
"Actually, he (Burr) was a major figure in history, a Revolutionary War hero, vice president and all these controversial things that he had going on," Warren said.
Burr was traveling down the Mississippi River with a contingent of 60 armed recruits in 1806. He appeared to want to start a Texas rebellion that would push the Spanish out of that territory and then out of Mexico, according to Albert Pickett's 19th century "History of Alabama."
Gen. James Wilkinson, governor of the Louisiana Territory, who was suspected of cooperating with Burr in the Texas scheme, sent word to President Thomas Jefferson that Burr also planned to seize areas of the present-day southern U.S.
Jefferson, under whom Burr had served as vice president from 1801 to 1805, ordered Burr's arrest.
On Jan. 10, 1807, Burr learned of the arrest order in Natchez, Miss., when he read a newspaper story. He surrendered to local officials, but jumped bail and fled toward Spanish Florida, which then included Mobile and Pensacola, according to Pickett.
Warren said modern historians do not know Burr's precise plans or goals. He said Wilkinson, the chief witness against Burr, had a reputation for telling whatever story best suited his interests at the moment.
Later, Wilkinson captured Mobile from the Spanish in 1813.
Burr was tried in August 1807 and found innocent after U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Marshall ruled that a treason charge must have at least two witnesses to be proven.
Burr then spent several years in Europe. He returned to the United States in 1812 and took up his law practice. He died in 1836 at the age of 80.
During the local events March 15, portions of the Burr story will be told by reenactors, some of whom will portray the recruits in "Burr's army."
"We don't know a lot about them," Warren said. "Many were probably former soldiers. They probably were a group of freebooters and all different kinds of rascals."
From Baldwin County Commission: http://www.al.com/news/press-register/baldwin.ssf?/base/news/1204453028131830.xml&coll=3
B. Aaron Burr Living History: Authorize a living history depicting the actions of Aaron Burr near the Baldwin County area in 1807 at a cost not to exceed $1,000. The event will be held from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 15, 2008, at the Baldwin County Bicentennial Park located two miles north of I-65 on Alabama 225. In addition, allow members of the living history cast to camp at the Bicentennial Park overnight to properly set up their camp and to immerse themselves fully in the interpretation.
An early USA map hanging in the office of the Baldwin County Historical Society near where Burr was arrested.
Nick Warren and John Jackson show Peter Tavino where Lt Perkins' military re enactors will assemble March 15.
The Tensaw River, where Burr was captured.
This Week In Alabama History South Alabamian - Jackson,AL,USA February 19, 1807: Former US vice-president Aaron Burr is arrested in the Mississippi Territory at McIntosh Bluff, Washington County, in present day Alabama ...