Explore By:

Clerk Information:

Clerk image
  • Full Name: John James Beckley
  • Served: 1779 - 1789
  • Bio Information: Born near London, England, probably 1757. Died in Washington, D.C., April 8, 1807. Buried in old Georgetown, District of Columbia. John Beckley was the son of John and Mary (Bickley) Beckley. His mother was the daughter of Sir William Bickley, Baronet, and his wife, Margaret (Overton) Bickley. He was a lawyer, and was educated at the College of William and Mary, 1779, where he was a member of the Phi Beta Kappa Society. He was admitted to the Williamsburg Lodge of Masons in 1779. He was elected assistant clerk of the Committee of Safety of which Edmund Pendleton was president, February 7, 1776, and was Clerk of the Committee for Courts of Justice and the Committee of Trade of the House of Delegates in 1776. Before he became Clerk of the House of Delegates, the first to serve in the present Capitol at Richmond, he was Clerk of the State Senate, 1777-1779, partly while in college. He was also Clerk of the High Court of Chancery (Supreme Court), 1779-1785, at the same time he was Clerk of the House of Delegates. He was secretary of the Virginia Convention of 1788 that ratified the Constitution of the United States. Also while Clerk of the House of Delegates, he was alternatingly a member of the Board of Aldermen and of the Common Council of the city of Richmond, and was its Mayor from 1783 to 1784, and from 1788 until his resignation on March 9, 1789. He was elected the first Clerk of the U. S. House of Representatives, 1789-1799, 1801-1807; and at the same time served as the first Librarian of Congress. He married Maria Prince, who died in Lexington, Kentucky, July 18, 1883. The only known portrait of him was destroyed by fire. While he was Clerk of the House, the Speakers were BENJAMIN HARRISON, RICHARD HENRY LEE, JOHN TYLER, SR., JOSEPH PRENTIS, and THOMAS MATHEWS.

*The information within this interactive and searchable application has been researched extensively by the House Clerk’s Office. As with any historical records of this age and breadth, there may be discrepancies and/or inconsistencies within records obtained from a variety of credible sources. Any feedback is encouraged at history@house.virginia.gov.

Search What's This?

Advanced Search