David Stuart (Virginia politician)

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David Stuart (born August 3, 1753,[1] died circa 1814) was an associate and correspondent of George Washington. When Washington became President of the United States, he appointed Stuart to be one of the three commissioners that were in charge of siting and designing the nation's new capital city.

Private life[edit]

Born in Scotland, Stuart studied medicine and languages at the University of St Andrews.[2] Emigrating to America, he established a practice in Alexandria, Virginia. He became a relative of George Washington's in 1783 when he married Eleanor Calvert Custis, the widow of Washington's stepson John Parke Custis and a descendent of Cecilius Calvert, Lord Baltimore, the recipient of the charter for the Maryland colony.[1] A number of letters from Washington to Stuart exist, concerning family matters and Virginia politics.[3]

Eleanor and David had sixteen children of their own, including:[1][4][5]

  • Ann Calvert Stuart Robinson (born 1784), married William Robinson[4][5]
  • Sarah Stuart Waite (born 1786), married Obed Waite[4][5]
  • Ariana Calvert Stuart[4][5]
  • William Skolto Stuart[4][5]
  • Eleanor Custis Stuart (born 1792)[4][5]
  • Charles Calvert Stuart (1794–1846), married Cornelia Lee[4][5]
  • Rosalie Eugenia Stuart Webster (1796–1886), married William Greenleaf Webster[4][5][6]

In addition, Stuart helped raise John Parke Custis's and Eleanor's two eldest children, Elizabeth Parke Custis Law and Martha Parke Custis Peter.[7] The Stuarts and their family resided at three estates in Fairfax County, Virginia: Abingdon, Hope Park and Ossian Hall.[5][7]

Political career[edit]

Stuart served as a representative to the Virginia House of Delegates and also to the Virginia convention of 1788 that ratified the U. S. Constitution.[8] He voted for ratification [9]

He was chosen as an elector for the 1789 election from Prince William District.[10] That District consisted of the Counties of Fairfax, Fauquier, Loudoun and Prince William, which cover the area west of Washington DC.[11] All of the 10 electors from Virginia who voted cast one of their two votes for George Washington. 5 of them cast their other vote for John Adams. 3 cast theirs for George Clinton. 1 cast his for John Hancock. 1 cast his for John Jay.[12]

In 1791 he was appointed by George Washington as a commissioner of the Federal City to oversee the surveying of the new capital and construction of the public buildings. He served on the commission until 1794.[13] In 1791, Dr. Stuart and the other commissioners named the capital the "City of Washington" in "The Territory of Columbia" (see: History of Washington, D.C.).[14]


  1. ^ a b c Johnson, R. Winder (1905). The Ancestry of Rosalie Morris Johnson: Daughter of George Calvert Morris and Elizabeth Kuhn, his wife. Ferris & Leach. pp. 16–17, 29–30. Retrieved 2011-05-20. 
  2. ^ "Washington to Dr. Stuart: Some Unpublished Letters of the First President", New York Times, March 14, 1880, p. 4
  3. ^ John C. Fitzpatrick (ed.). "The writings of George Washington from the original manuscript sources". U. S. Government Printing Office. Retrieved 2009-10-07. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h Edmund Jennings Lee. Lee of Virginia, 1642-1892. Heritage Books. Retrieved 2008-03-01. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i National Genealogical Society (1917). National Genealogical Society Quarterly. National Genealogical Society. Retrieved 2008-03-01. 
  6. ^ James Edward Greenleaf (1896). Genealogy of the Greenleaf Family. F. Wood. Retrieved 2008-03-01. 
  7. ^ a b Templeman, Eleanor Lee (1959). Arlington Heritage: Vignettes of a Virginia County. New York: Avenel Books, a division of Crown Publishers, Inc. pp. 12–13. 
  8. ^ The History of the Virginia Federal Convention of 1788..., Hugh B. Grigsby, Vol. II, 1891, p. 38
  9. ^ http://teachingamericanhistory.org/ratification/elliot/vol3/june27.html
  10. ^ The Documentary history of the first Federal elections, 1788-1790, by Gordon DenBoer, Volume 2, page 303
  11. ^ http://elections.lib.tufts.edu/aas_portal/view-election.xq?id=MS115.002.VA.1789.00026
  12. ^ The Documentary history of the first Federal elections, 1788-1790, by Gordon DenBoer, Volume 2, pages 304-5
  13. ^ http://founders.archives.gov/documents/Washington/05-15-02-0074
  14. ^ Crew, Harvey W.; Webb, William Bensing; Wooldridge, John (1892). "IV. Permanent Capital Site Selected". Centennial History of the City of Washington, D.C. Dayton, Ohio: United Brethren Publishing House. pp. 87–88, 101. Retrieved 2011-06-01.