Sarah Livingston Jay (1756-1802) was the wife of John Jay who was featured this week as our person of interest. She was the daughter of New Jersey Governor William Livingston. While she was educated at home, she was a very political wife when many wives stayed at home. She occasionally served as her father’s secretary. Her beauty, vivacious personality, intelligence, and family connections attracted many suitors. At 18 years of age, she chose Jay as her husband though he was already 29 years old at the time.
Theirs was a love match in a time when that was uncommon. Young Sadie advised her husband on politics and was not shy about complaining when she lacked attention. She not only kept his home and raised children, she accompanied Jay to Spain and France on diplomatic missions. She especially enjoyed their time in France where her husband joined Franklin in negotiating the Treaty of Paris.
She had hoped to have more time with Jay when the war ended and they returned home. Jay, however, was drafted to assist with writing and approving the Constitution. That was followed by service as the first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and as Governor of New York.
While living in New York in the late 1790s, the Jays began developing their Bedford estate into a home where they could live out their lives together. The house was completed in 1801. Sadie who had been ill with a fever and arthritis died suddenly in May, 1802 at 46. Jay was devastated by her death and never recovered. He turned down opportunities to continue in politics and retired to his estate to raise their children. He never remarried.
Tomorrow, A Place of Interest Rita Bay
John Jay (1745 -1829) was an American patriot, Founding Father, legislator, and diplomat. He served as a member and President of the Continental Congress during the Revolutionary War. From a wealthy New York family with Huguenot and Dutch roots, Jay was a conservative lawyer who supported a strong centralized federal government. Jay along Alexander Hamilton Constitution.
In the new US Government, Washington initially offered Jay the position of Secretary of State which he rejected, then the position of Chief Justice of the United States. The Court’s business through its first three years primarily involved the establishment of rules and procedure; reading of commissions and admission of attorneys to the bar; and the Justices’ duties in “riding circuit,” or presiding over cases in the circuit courts of the various federal judicial districts. It’s primary finding during the Jay courts was the principle of judicial review.
After his retirement from the Supreme Court, Jay served as Governor of the State of New York and the leader of the Federalist Party. Jay like many wealthy New Yorkers was a slave owner. He became an ardent opponent of slavery—the founder of the New York Manumission Society—who sought the emancipation of slaves from the earliest days of the under the Continental Congress through his term as Governor of New York. In 1827 all slaves in New York were freed. Jay turned down offers to run for an additional term as governor and re-nomination to the Supreme Court and retired from public life in 1801.
Tomorrow, Another Person of Interest Rita Bay
The Royal Exchange
This Week in History Congress passed the Judiciary Act of 1789 which established the Supreme Court of United States. The Supreme Court which was established by Article 3 of the Constitution is one of the three bodies of government. The size of the court was to be set by Congress.The Court, which has jurisdiction over the constitutionality of all law in the United States. was established as a tribunal of six justices who served until death or retirement. President George Washington signed the bill into law and nominated John Blair, William Cushing, Robert Harrison, John Rutledge and James Wilson as Associate justices and John Jay as the Chief Justice. All were approved by the Senate. The Court met for its first session in 1790 at the Royal Exchange Building in New York City. By the end of the nineteenth century the number of justices on the Supreme Court was set at nine.
Tomorrow, A Person of Interest Rita Bay