John Bartow Prevost

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John Bartow Prevost (March 6, 1766 – March 5, 1825) was the first judge of the Superior Court of the Territory of Orleans from 1804-1808.

Early life and family

Prevost was born on March 6, 1766 in Paramus, New Jersey. He was the son of James Marcus Prevost of Geneva, Switzerland and Theodosia Bartow who after the death of her husband in the British West Indies in 1782 married Aaron Burr.[1] Burr, who would become Vice President of the United States under Thomas Jefferson raised Theodosia Bartow Prevost's two sons as his own.

Prevost married Frances Anna Smith on February 5, 1799; they had four children.

Public service

Prevost was Recorder of New York City from 1801 to 1804, when President Thomas Jefferson appointed him as one of three first judges of the Superior Court of the Territory of Orleans.[1] Arriving in New Orleans on October 29, 1804, he opened the Superior Court with a charge to the grand jury on Monday, November 5, 1804.[1] Prevost served alone on that bench from November 5, 1804, for about two years, due to the death and refusal to take office of his fellow judges. In 1808, Prevost resigned from the bench and was replaced by Joshua Lewis of Kentucky. Prevost practiced law in New Orleans for many years.

In 1818, Prevost was appointed by President James Monroe as an American Commissioner to examine the state of Spanish colonies in South America. He was also tasked by Secretary of State John Quincy Adams with securing U.S. possession of the Oregon Territory as reparations from the British government for the War of 1812 as spelled out in the Treaty of Ghent.

Prevost spent many years in Peru and moved his family there, where his son married a Peruvian woman and had children. Prevost died in Peru on March 5, 1825.


  1. ^ a b c Celebration of the Centenary of the Supreme Court of Louisiana (March 1, 1913), in John Wymond, Henry Plauché Dart, eds., The Louisiana Historical Quarterly (1922), p. 113.
Legal offices
Preceded by
Richard Harison
Recorder of New York City
Succeeded by
Maturin Livingston
Preceded by
new office
Judge of the Superior Court of the Territory of Orleans
Succeeded by
Joshua Lewis
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