The inscription reads “FROM Thomas Jefferson to Samuel Carr”
This watch was given by Jefferson to his nephew Samuel Carr about 1801. It can almost certainly be identified with an entry in Jefferson’s accounts dated February 21, 1801, from one of Jefferson’s agents for payment for “Mr. Chaudron gold watch $175.” Samuel Carr was the son of Dabney Carr the patriot and his wife Martha, sister of Thomas Jefferson. Dabney was born in 1744 and died in Charlottesville in 1773, at the age of 30. He was a close friend of Thomas Jefferson from childhood and was buried in what became the family cemetery at Monticello. Jefferson took in his widowed sister and her children at Monticello and supervised their education. Samuel attended William and Mary College, became a lawyer like his father and was appointed Magistrate of Albemarle County in 1806.
He inherited his uncle Samuel's estate Dunlora where Jefferson designed a house for him and his bride about 1795. He became a Colonel in the Virginia Militia and commanded the U.S. cavalry at Norfolk in 1812. He died in 1855. The watch descended through James L. Carr (1811-75), his son John O. Carr (1841-1920), his eldest child Annie Carr Lumm (1874-1962) to the Carr family, consignors at the 1986 auction.
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