Thomas Jefferson was born at Shadwell, Albemarle County, Va. 13 April 1743 and graduated from William and Mary College in 1762. He was admitted to the bar 5 years later. In 1769 he was elected to the Virginia House of Burgesses where he soon became a leader of the patriot faction and helped form the Virginia Committee of Correspondence. Jefferson was sent to the Continental Congress in June 1775, and a year later he was entrusted with writing the Declaration of Independence. He returned to the Virginia legislature in October 1776 where he labored to reform the new state on democratic principles. He succeeded Patrick Henry as governor in 1779 and held that office until 1781.
Jefferson succeeded Franklin as Minister to France in 1785 and, after his return in 1789, became the Nation's first Secretary of State. Growing differences with Alexander Hamilton prompted him to resign from Washington's cabinet 31 December 1793, and he subsequently led growing opposition to the Federalist party. From 1797 to 1801 he was Vice President and he defeated John Adams in the presidential election of 1800. Highlights of his presidency included the Louisiana Purchase, the Lewis and Clark Expedition, and the Navy's victory over the Barbary pirates. He was succeeded in 1809 by James Madison.
In retirement Jefferson exerted great political and intellectual influence as he worked to establish the University of Virginia. His brilliant career was brought to a fitting close when he died 4 July 1826, the 50th anniversary of his immortal Declaration of Independence.
Builder: Webb and Allen, New York
Decommissioned: wrecked 1847
Length: 73' 4"
Navigation Draft: 9' 7" (maximum)
Beam: 20' 6"
Displacement: 112 tons
Propulsion: topsail schooner
Maximum Speed: NA
Armament: Much variation, typical was four 6-9 pdrs.
The Jefferson was one of the 13 cutters of the Morris-Taney Class. These cutters were the backbone of the Service for more than a decade. Samuel Humphreys designed these cutters for roles as diverse as fighting pirates, privateers, combating smugglers and operating with naval forces. He designed the vessels on a naval schooner concept. They had Baltimore Clipper lines. The vessels built by Webb and Allen, designed by Isaac Webb, resembled Humphreys' but had one less port.
In January 1833, the Jefferson suffered damage in a collision during her initial cruise. She began her career in Norfolk, Virginia and the following year sailed to Charleston, South Carolina. She was placed under orders of the Secretary of the Navy 6 January 1836 for service against the Seminole Indians in Florida, Captain John Jackson, USRM, in command. She sailed from Charleston 19 February and arrived Pensacola 30 April. From that time until 18 October 1837 she was active in the Gulf of Mexico visiting ports on the coast of Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Texas, and Mexico. From time to time her duties took her to the West Indies. Returning to the Treasury Department 18 October, Jefferson resumed her duties as a revenue cutter at Mobile, Alabama.
After the war duty the revenue service found the cutter to be in complete disrepair, needing more than $5,000 of work. They sent Jefferson to Baltimore with the intention of selling her. The Government replaced her with a new Jefferson. Despite the expense, the cutter was repaired, and put back in service. Stationed in Savannah, Georgia she was renamed Crawford in April, 1839. This name was now available as the old Swiftsure, renamed the Crawford, was sold in 1839. The Crawford, now stationed in New London, Connecticut, wrecked off Gardiner's Point on 15 December 1847.
Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. Washington, DC: USGPO.
Donald Canney. U.S. Coast Guard and Revenue Cutters, 1790-1935. Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 1995.
U.S. Coast Guard. Record of Movements: Vessels of the United States Coast Guard: 1790 - December 31, 1933. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1934; 1989 (reprint).