James Asheton Bayard, Jr., was born November 15, 1799 to James Asheton Bayard, Sr., (1767-1815) and Ann Bassett in Wilmington, Delaware. His father was a lawyer and a United States senator and his maternal grandfather was Richard Bassett, Delaware’s chief justice. Bayard, Jr., studied law, like his father, and was admitted to the Delaware bar in 1822, after which he practiced in Wilmington. A year later he married Ann Francis. Their son Thomas Francis Bayard, Sr., (1828-1898) became a United States senator and ambassador to England.
In 1838 Martin Van Buren appointed James Bayard, Jr., as the United States attorney for Delaware, and Bayard served in that position until 1843. In 1851 he followed in his father’s footsteps and entered national politics as a United States senator. He was re-elected in 1857 and 1863, but resigned in 1864 in contest to the oath of loyalty then being forced onto holders of public office. He served in the Senate again between 1867 and 1869, when he was elected to fill the vacancy caused by the death of George Read Riddle. Throughout his career Bayard belonged to both the Democratic and the Republican parties. When not in Congress he practiced law in Wilmington, where he died on June 13, 1880.
“Bayard, James Asheton, Jr., (1799-1880).” Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. http://bioguide.congress.gov/scripts/biodisplay.pl?index=B000248. accessed September 25, 2006.
Sylvia B. Larson. “Bayard, James Asheton.” http://www.anb.org/articles/04/04-00078.html. American National Biography Online. Feb. 2000 accessed September 25, 2006.
The James Asheton Bayard, Jr., receipts contains thirty-nine autograph receipts and a few letters related to James Asheton Bayard, Jr., between 1823 and 1843. The papers reflect business ventures, travel within the United States, and his career as a lawyer and United States attorney. The collection came to the University of Delaware through a 1960 gift of Mrs. W.W. Harrington.
The receipts relate to a variety of transactions. As a lawyer of the nineteenth century, Bayard needed important documents to be written and copied with precision, and three receipts record the services of J.P. Fairlamb for the writing of deeds. Fairlamb’s signature includes an elaborate flourish. Shipping receipts list the items Bayard received as well as the name of the sloop or steamboat in question. The name of Wilmington resident Thomas Garrett appears on several receipts in relation to his coal business, but Garrett is better known as an abolitionist and for his activities for the Underground Railroad. Bayard’s travel is reflected in receipts for a room rental, the hiring of horses and carriages, and commutation for the Wilmington Bridge. One receipt also refers to writing a deed in which one party was the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal Company. One letter from the Solicitor of the Treasury, addressed to Bayard, discusses the duty bond of David C. Wilson, who was the president of the Wilmington Whaling Company. The surname Grubb appears twice in the collection – once for a post office receipt and the other in a request for entering a bond in Supreme Court. The Grubb family was prominent in Delaware, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey. Two receipts record transactions for Henry M. Bayard, who is identified as ward to James A. Bayard, Jr. Of further interest are embellished signatures and embossed paper seals, and receipts for large quantities of bread.