BRECKINRIDGE, John, (1760 - 1806)

Senate Years of Service: 1801-1805
Party: Democratic Republican

Courtesy U.S. Senate Historical Office

BRECKINRIDGE, John, (brother of James Breckinridge, grandfather of John Cabell Breckinridge and William Campbell Preston Breckinridge, great-grandfather of Clifton Rodes Breckinridge, great-great-grandfather of John Bayne Breckinridge, cousin of John Brown, James Brown, and Francis Preston), a Senator from Kentucky; born near Staunton, Augusta County, Va., December 2, 1760; educated at Augusta Academy, near Staunton (now Washington and Lee University, Lexington, Va.), and at William and Mary College, Williamsburg, Va.; elected a member of the house of burgesses in 1780 when nineteen years of age, but being under age was not allowed to take his seat until elected the third time; served as subaltern in the Virginia Militia during the Revolutionary War; studied law; admitted to the bar in 1785 and commenced practice in Charlottesville, Va.; elected as a Democrat to the Third Congress, but resigned in 1792 before the commencement of the congressional term; moved to Kentucky in 1793 and resumed the practice of law in Lexington; unsuccessful candidate for election to the United States Senate in 1794; appointed attorney general of Kentucky in 1795 and served until November 30, 1797, when he resigned; member, State house of representatives 1798-1800, serving as speaker in 1799 and 1800; member of the State constitutional convention in 1799; elected as a Democratic Republican to the United States Senate and served from March 4, 1801, until August 7, 1805, when he resigned to accept the position of Attorney General of the United States in the Cabinet of President Thomas Jefferson; served in this capacity until his death at ‘Cabell’s Dale,' near Lexington, Ky., December 14, 1806; interment in Lexington Cemetery, Lexington, Ky.


Dictionary of American Biography; Harrison, Lowell. John Breckinridge, Jeffersonian Democratic Republican. Louisville: Filson Club, 1969; Klotter, James C. The Breckinridges of Kentucky: Two Centuries of Leadership. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 1986.