Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The Bunning Seat - John Adair

After John Breckinridge left the Senate to become Jefferson's Attorney General, the next man to hold Senator Bunning's current seat was John Adair. Unlike everyone else we've seen so far, he was not born in Virginia. He was from South Carolina, and was a member of the South Carolina Convention that approved the U.S. Constitution before moving to Mercer County, Kentucky (on the frontier) in 1788.

Adair was a military guy. He served in the South Carolina militia during the American Revolution, and was a P.O.W. during the war. After moving to Kentucky, he fought in a long series of campaigns against the Indians and worked his way up to Major General in the Kentucky Militia by 1799.

Adair also had a successful political career. In 1802 and 1803, he was Speaker of the Kentucky House -- and had a county named for him. In 1805, he became registrar of the U.S. land office. A Jefferson supporter, it made sense for him to replace Breckinridge in the Senate. He took his Senate seat on November 8, 1805.

But at this point, things started to go very wrong. Adair was accused of being involved with the Burr Conspiracy -- a bizarre plan by which Aaron Burr (the former Vice President) was allegedly trying to break off western lands in the United States to form an independent country. This sunk Adair's chances of re-election, and so he resigned the seat on November 18, 1806 -- having been a Senator for just over a year.

Adair eventually rebuilt his reputation -- in large part due to his service in the War of 1812. Adair was elected Governor of Kentucky in 1820, and also served one term in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1831 to 1833. He died at home in Harrodsburg on May 19, 1840.

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