Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to Bowling Clark, 5 August 1792

To Bowling Clark

Monticello Aug. 5. 1792.


Having come from Philadelphia to make some short stay here, but not long enough to go to Bedford, I should be glad if you could take the most convenient time for yourself to come here, between this and the middle of next month, about which time I shall be returning again to Philadelphia. This seems necessary as well that I may have a view of the affairs of the present year, as of the next. It would be material that you could bring such papers with you as may give me a knowlege of the outstanding accounts of the plantations under your care, a list of the negroes with their ages, and as good a statement of your stock as you can. I should also be glad to have a list of the tobacco made in the years 1789. 1790. and 1791. The first of these I sold to Mr. Donald, and having given him at the time the list I had, I have never got another to see whether my account with him stands right. Of the crops of 1790. and 1791. which I sold in Philadelphia I have doubted whether some had not miscarried, and I never had the Lynchburg list of them. The loss of wheat here the last year leaves many accounts unpaid, for which I must get all the assistance in money you can possibly give. I am Sir Your humble servt

Th: Jefferson

P.S. It will be a satisfaction to have a line from you letting me know when I may expect you. If sent to Richmond it will come safely.

PrC (MHi); at foot of text: “Mr. B. Clark.” Enclosed in TJ’s note to Daniel L. Hylton of the same date, asking that the letter be forwarded from Richmond, “between which place and Bedford … there is frequent communication” (PrC in same; Tr in DLC, 19th-century copy). Clark’s reply to TJ of 17 Aug. 1792 from Poplar Forest is recorded in SJL as received 22 Aug. 1792, but has not been found.

Bowling Clark, son of a Quaker landholder in Louisa and Albemarle Counties, was the overseer at Poplar Forest, TJ’s Bedford County plantation, from 1789 to 1801. He continued to live in Bedford County until at least 1812 (Betts, Farm Book, description begins Edwin M. Betts, ed., Thomas Jefferson’s Farm Book, Princeton, 1953 description ends 516; Woods, Albemarle, description begins Edgar Woods, Albemarle County in Virginia, Charlottesville, 1901 description ends 165–6).

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