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Daniel McCarty

Member From: 1705 - 1726

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  • Birth Date: 1679 Birth Place:
  • Death Date: May 4, 1724
  • Gender: Male Race: Caucasian
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  • Additional Info: ​1720 - 1722 Session - Thomas Lee was unseated because his election was successfully contested. Daniel McCarty was declared to have been elected.
    Daniel McCarty died before the 1726 session. He was succeeded by Thomas Lee.
    1705-1706, 1715, 1718, 1720-1722, 1723-1726 * See More Information below
  • Bio: DANIEL MCCARTY (or McCarthy) was Speaker of the House of Burgesses at the assemblies of 1715 and 1718. He had represented Westmoreland County in the assembly of 1705-1706 and subsequently was returned to the assembly of 1720-1722 and the first session of the assembly of 1723-1726. Speaker McCarty was born in 1679, the son of Dennis McCarty (who died in 1694), an Irish immigrant who had come to Virginia by 1675. When their father died, Daniel and his sister Catherine (who was born in 1678) were minors; nevertheless, they were named as his executors. Because their father's estate was heavily in debt, none of the overseers named in his will would accept the appointment. On 4 April 1694, the Richmond County Court made John Baker overseer and ordered that the estate be sold at auction on 15 May 1694. Baker, a county justice in 1699 and 1702 and coroner in the latter year, may also have acted as guardian to Daniel and Catherine McCarty.
    Young McCarty learned the law, perhaps in part from his father, who was an attorney, and in 1702 he began to assist the Westmoreland County Court. By 1703 he had become active as an attorney, and in 1704 he began to act as the "Queen's Attorney" in the county. The county records show that he was a busy lawyer and that he handled many land transactions for Robert ("King") Carter. A full inventory of Speaker McCarty's own library (valued at £49 1ls. lld. in 1724) is extant. More than half his books were legal works, including several collections of the statutes, a journal of the House of Commons, and treatises by Coke, Littleton, and others. He also owned religious works and two Latin Bibles, Greek and Latin dictionaries and grammars, and a number of classical works, including Caesar's Commentaries, Horace, Ovid, Plato's Phaedo, Sallust, Terence, and Vergil.
    In October 1705 Speaker McCarty and George Eskridge, the queen's other attorney in Westmoreland, entered the House of Burgesses. Speaker McCarty was appointed to the committee for privileges and elections and took an active part in the work of the House. On 27 April 1710, the Council appointed McCarty to the Westmoreland County bench and appointed him sheriff, an office that was important in county affairs, but which also rendered him ineligible for election to the assembly of 1710-1712. Although a new sheriff was appointed in 1712, McCarty was not returned to the assembly of 1712-1714. In 1714 he was collector of customs for the Potomac River district.
    By the provisions of a 1705 act of assembly, Queen Anne's death (1 August 1714) forced the dissolution of the assembly of 1712-1714. Lieutenant Governor Alexander Spotswood ordered elections early in summer 1715, for, as Spotswood saw it, an Indian attack in South Carolina had ''created a crisis which the standing revenue could not meet.'' The colonists, however, were more alarmed by their own economic problems. The elections were lively. Thirty-five new burgesses entered the House and only sixteen incumbents retained their seats. Mc­Carty represented Westmoreland County and defeated three other nominees in the election for Speaker on 3 August 1715.
    Spotswood asked the House to aid South Carolina promptly, but the burgesses chose rather to press for repeal of the unpopular 1713 act for preventing frauds in tobacco payments. Spotswood and the burgesses found little on which to agree. Only three laws were completed. On 7 August 1715 Spotswood described the majority party as ''the Peoples Mistaken Choice of a Set of Representatives, whom Heaven has not generally endowed with the Ordinary Qualifications requisite to Legislators," and dissolved the assembly. Within a year the councillors joined the opposition to Spotswood after he had dismissed Deputy Auditor Philip Ludwell, Jr., and accepted William Byrd II' s resignation from the office of receiver general.
    Ludwell's dismissal earned Spotswood the animosity of James Blair's so-called college faction, and anti-Spotswood activity peaked when the assembly of 1718 gathered in Williamsburg for a turbulent session. On 23 April 1718 the burgesses ''proceeded to the choice of a Speaker and after Some time, the House Nemine contra dicente [i.e., without dissent] made choice of Mr. Daniel McCarty for their Speaker." McCarty's unanimous election was a clear indication of the burgesses' readiness to avoid intramural disputes as they grappled with Lieutenant Governor Spotswood. They appointed William Byrd II as their agent in London, adopted an address to the king requesting Spotswood' s recall, and offered Speaker McCarty £100 "as a Token of . . . Respect. "
    William Byrd II presented the case against Spotswood, but the Board of Trade stood firmly behind the lieutenant governor and ordered Byrd to reconcile the parties. A measure of reconciliation was achieved before the assembly of 1720-1722 met. Circumstances gave McCarty no chance to be reelected Speaker, for by the time Speaker McCarty entered the House in 1720, John Holloway had already defeated John Clayton in the election of a Speaker. On the third day of the session McCarty contested the election of Thomas Lee, who had defeated him at the poll and was sitting for Westmoreland with McCarty's colleague, George Eskridge. Evidence in the House journal shows that Lee's margin of victory had been one or two votes. After a full month of deliberation the House committee on elections and privileges reported on the Westmoreland election. Six of Lee's supporters and two of McCarty's "had no Right to give any Vote" the committee decided, and one Lee supporter who had not been recorded was added to the poll. The result was a one-or two-vote majority for McCarty, who was declared ''duley elected a Burgess.'' Several days passed before he took the oath, however, and not until 20 December 1720 did he enter the House, whereupon immediately he was added to the committee on propositions and grievances. The session only lasted three more days.
    Dµring the second session of the assembly of 1720-1722 McCarty was active in the business of the House, especially on the committee on propositions and grievances. Reelected to the assembly of 1723-1726 for Westmoreland County, he was appointed chairman of that committee. He served through the assembly's first session, which ended on 7 November 1723. Forty-five-year-old Daniel McCarty died on 4 May 1724 during the prorogation; Thomas Lee was elected to the vacancy. McCarty owned land in Westmoreland, Richmond, Prince William, and Stafford counties, which he divided among his four sons, and he left £500 to each of his four daughters. His sons were "to be educated, one a lawyer, one a divine, one a physician [and] one a chirurgeon or mariner [or] in the Secretaries' office, or to any lawful employment as their inclination leads them, but rather to the ax and hoe than suffered in idleness and extravagancy.'' Speaker McCarty was buried in the churchyard of Yeocomico Church in Westmoreland County.
  • Other Notable Service and/or Elected Offices: Speaker of the House - 1715 - 1718
Session District District Number Party Leadership Committees
1705-1706 Westmoreland Elections and Privileges
1715 Westmoreland Speaker of the House
1718 Westmoreland Speaker of the House
1720-1722 Westmoreland
1723-1726 Westmoreland Propositions and Grievances (Chair)

*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.

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