Dabney Carr Chooses His Burial Site

Dabney Carr Chooses His Burial Site

We’ve exposed some pretty disturbing stuff about Thomas Jefferson the last few days.

Today, we look at Dabney Carr, and explore one of the most kind-hearted moments of Jefferson’s early life.

Dabney Carr was an excited Revolutionary who passed away young. and ended up being the first person buried in one of America’s most famous graveyards.

To his Virtue, Good sense, learning and Friendship

this stone is dedicated by Thomas Jefferson

who of all men living loved him most.

-excerpt from Dabney Carr’s gravestone

Dabney Carr

As a young man, Dabney Carr attending boarding school close to the Virginian frontier. Unbeknownst to him, several of his schoolmates were future revolutionaries.

Among these young men, Carr quickly became closest to a teen-aged Thomas Jefferson.

This relationship would last through the end of Dabney’s life.


The boys grew, and eventually they attended the College of William and Mary together. Dabney and Thomas both took up the study of law.

While they were home from school, the two young men would ride two miles on their horses up a mountain by Jefferson’s house. They would bring their books to study, and they found a special place they both loved.

The teenagers made an agreement.

Whoever died first would be buried by the other on the hillside they both loved so much.

That hill would become Monticello, the famous home of Thomas Jefferson.

The graveyard would be established sooner than either man was prepared for.

Young Politician

Carr was soon engaged to a young woman he had known for years…Martha Jefferson.

After the wedding, Dabney and Thomas became brothers-in-law. Additionally, they were both elected as members of the House of Burgesses.

Carr became one of the young men who were quickly radicalizing politics in Virginia. The regulations coming out of Parliament had caused problems throughout the colonies.

Action was needed.

Committee of Correspondence

In March of 1773, Dabney Carr rose in the House of Burgesses.

Carr motioned for the Colonial Assembly to form a Committee of Correspondence. This was done, and became the first step by Virginia toward independence. The Committee of Correspondence began the discussions between the separate colonies which culminated in the First Continental Congress.

Without Virginia, the First Continental Congress would have had significantly less influence. Dabney Carr sent his colony on the path to this meeting.

Carr joined Jefferson, Richard Henry Lee, Francis Lightfoot Lee and Patrick Henry as the original members of the Committee of Correspondence. Three of those men would sign the Declaration of Independence (Henry wouldn’t because he was busy becoming the first Governor of Virginia).

Jefferson Family Graveyard

Dabney Carr did not sign the Declaration.

Sadly, he would not even see the First Continental Congress.

Two months after his all-important motion in the House of Burgesses, he caught a bilious fever and passed away.

Thomas Jefferson kept the promise he had made to his old friend. He brought Carr’s body to the hillside they both thought the most beautiful in the world and interred him there.

This spot would become the Jefferson Family Graveyard.

Fifty-three years later, now a former President and author of America’s most important document, Thomas would join Dabney in the same soil.

Do you want to read about other men who were close with Jefferson?

Of course you do!

Try these articles on John Harvie and William Short.

Want to learn more about Thomas Jefferson’s youth?


‘Young Jefferson’ is a great look into the future President’s early years by one of the premier authors of the American Revolution. Pick up a copy through the Amazon affiliate link below (you’ll support this site, but don’t worry, Amazon pays me while your price stays the same).

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