Trist, Nicholas P.
Born: 1800-06-02 Charlottesville, Virginia
Died: 1874-02-11 Alexandria, Virginia
Nicholas Trist was a Virginia lawyer, federal government employee, diplomat, and railroad clerk and payment. He relocated from his native state to the Mississippi Territory when Thomas Jefferson appointed his father, Hore Browse Trist, collector of customs at Natchez, Mississippi. Following the Louisiana Purchase, Trist moved again to New Orleans where he attended the College of Orleans - graduating in 1817. He then lived as a guest at Jefferson's Monticello before entering West Point in 1818. He did not graduate from the academy but instead returned to Monticello after his third year and proposed to Jefferson's granddaughter, Virginia Randolph, with whom he had three children. He briefly returned to Louisiana to study law before returning to marry Virginia in 1824 and settled at Monticello.
Trist was tasked with administering Jefferson's estate and also worked as an administrator at the University of Virginia. He bought a share in a local pro-Andrew Jackson newspaper, the
Upon returning to Washington, Trist was ostracized by the administration for pursuing the treaty after Polk's recall order, and he relocated to West Chester, Pennsylvania, where he lived briefly before finally settling in Philadelphia. There, Trist began a long career as a railroad clerk and paymaster. He became a supporter of the Republican Party and Abraham Lincoln's 1860 presidential campaign.
Willard Carl Klunder, "Trist, Nicholas Philip," American National Biography, ed. by John A. Garraty and Mark C. Carnes (New York: Oxford University Press, 1999), 21:832-834; Wallace Ohrt, Defiant Peacemaker: Nicholas Trist in the Mexican War (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1998).