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ADAIR, John

1757–1840

Biography

ADAIR, John, a Senator and a Representative from Kentucky; born in Chester District, Chester County, S.C., January 9, 1757; attended the public schools in Charlotte, N.C.; served in the Revolutionary War; member of the South Carolina convention that ratified the Constitution of the United States; moved to Kentucky in 1788; major of volunteers in an expedition against the Indians under General Wilkinson in 1791 and 1792; was a lieutenant colonel under General Scott in 1793; member of the Kentucky constitutional convention in 1792; member of the State house of representatives 1793-1795, 1798, and 1800-1803, serving as speaker in 1802 and 1803; register of the United States land office in 1805; elected as a Democratic Republican to the United States Senate to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of John Breckinridge and served from November 8, 1805, to November 18, 1806, when he resigned, having been an unsuccessful candidate for reelection; aide to Governor Isaac Shelby in the Battle of the Thames in 1813; commander of the Kentucky rifle brigade which served under General Andrew Jackson in 1814 and 1815; again a member of the State house of representatives in 1817; appointed adjutant general with the brevet rank of brigadier general; Governor of Kentucky 1820-1824; elected as a Jacksonian to the Twenty-second Congress (March 4, 1831-March 3, 1833); was not a candidate for reelection in 1832; died in Harrodsburg, Ky., May 19, 1840; interment in State Cemetery, Frankfort, Ky., where a monument to his memory was erected by the State.

View Record in the Biographical Directory of the U.S. Congress

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External Research Collections

Filson Club Historical Society

Louisville, KY
Papers: Miscellaneous references in various collections.

Kentucky Department of Libraries and Archives

Frankfort, KY
Papers: 1820-1824. 6.6 feet. Gubernatorial papers including petitions for pardons and remissions, military appointments and resignations, military correspondence, civil appointments and resignations, messages to the general assembly, letterbook (available on microfilm), governor's correspondence, enrolled bills (available on microfilm), executive minute books (available on microfilm), and executive journal (available on microfilm). Finding aid.

Kentucky Historical Society

Frankfort, KY
Papers: Bond for office as land registrar and 2 land patents; financial note (1808); and 3 broadsides relating to Adair. Also portrait and photographs of portrait.

University of Kentucky Libraries
Special Collections and Archives

Lexington, KY
Papers: 7 items ( 1804-1813) in various collections.

University of Texas
Center for American History

Austin, TX
Papers: 50 items (1809-1820) in the Natchez Trace collection. Document Adair's case against General James Wilkinson in Adams County, Mississippi Territory. Finding aid.

Western Kentucky University Library
Special Collections

Bowling Green, KY
Papers: 1803-1832. 18 items. Includes 2 letters (1803, 1832); receipt (1804); appointment certificate (1821); and 13 land grants (1821-1824).
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Bibliography / Further Reading

Gillig, John S. "In the Pursuit of Truth and Honor: The Controversy Between Andrew Jackson and John Adair in 1817." Filson Club History Quarterly 58 (April 1984): 177-201.

Leger, William G. "The Public Life Of John Adair." Ph.D. dissertation, University of Kentucky, 1960.

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