A.D.S. "James Monroe", 6.5" x 3.25", Presidential Check, Office Distribution and Deposit, Washington, April 3, 1824, iin full: "Pay on the 5th of June next to Alexander Kerr Cash or order five Hundred dollars on my account $500."
Alexander Kerr and the "Late Distressing Affair": On February 16, 1808, Amexander Kerr's son of the same name was killed by Thomas Jefferson's four-horned ram. Kerr had met Jefferson through their mutual friend James Madison. The President made an overture of sympathy and sent the family a check for $25 - but less that two months later the boy's father wrote back seeking a federal job: "The compensation I receive from my present situation is too small for the support of my family... which is a strong reason for my taking this liberty in applying to you for an Office... with the great desire to remove myself from this place... due to the late distressing affair... that has taken place in it." In other words: your sheep killed my son, so you owe me. Official records show that Kerr indeed sought positions from his friend President Madison but remained in the private sector. He moved from the Branch Bank to the National Bank in Washington when it opened in 1814 and remained there until his death in 1832. In that capacity he served another Secretary of State and future President John Quincy Adams. *James Monroe and Thomas Jefferson were like brothers and it was Monroe who assisted Jefferson in paying delinquent bills and obligations towards the end of his life; even when his own affairs were not in order. Through writing each other frequently records show Monroe promised to visit Monticello in October 1824, six months after this check was drafted, but cancelled. It would take nine more months before the two would meet, accompanied by General Lafayette, where they would find each other. And so the question goes: is it possible that President Monroe made this payment to Alexander Kerr on behalf of Thomas Jefferson? After all, Monroe did at times oversee Jefferson's delinquent affairs including the upkeep of Monticello. As a footnote one should visit the website Boston 1775 of which some of the above material originated. It ends with the caption - Tomorrow: More victims of killer sheep. Condition: Archivally repaired creases, tears and folds. There is a small piece missing just under the President's signature affecting the "J" in James. Despite its flaws the check remains eye-appealing.
American Statesmand and Founding Father who served as fifth President of the United States (1817-1825).
Condition: Very Good(+)