To Charles Little
Washington Mar. 31. 1801
Mr. White, one of the Commissioners of this city, informs me that he has heretofore had conversations with you on the subject of a road we have been wishing to get from this place to Slaterun church as direct as can be had tolerably level; for levelness is a still more important consideration than distance. it is become more interesting now to me to find such a course. as I am setting out tomorrow for my own house, and shall be on horseback, I propose to endeavor to find the best road. for this information I must ask leave to trouble you. I therefore send my servant as far as Colo. Wren’s this evening, with orders to deliver you this letter in the course of the evening. I shall set out by sunrise in the morning, breakfast at Colo. Wren’s, and ask the pleasure either of seeing you there, or1 permission to call on you at your own house, to obtain from you, not only directions for my present course, but to consult on the best means which can be pursued to find out a good direction for a future road. accept assurances of my best wishes and respect.
PrC (MoSHi: Jefferson Papers); at foot of text: “Colo. Little”; endorsed by TJ in ink on verso.
Charles Little (ca. 1744–1813), an immigrant from Scotland, settled in Virginia in 1768. He purchased Cleesh, an estate in Fairfax County, southwest of Alexandria, and served as a militia officer. In the 1790s he frequently visited at Mount Vernon and he served as one of Washington’s pallbearers (Washington, Papers, Pres. Ser., 9:411n; Washington, Diaries, 4:275n; 6:304–5n; Preston, Catalogue, 1:107; CVSP, description begins William P. Palmer and others, eds., Calendar of Virginia State Papers…Preserved in the Capitol at Richmond, Richmond, 1875–93,11 vols. description ends 8:487).
Subject of A road: see Alexander White to TJ, 5 Dec. 1800. James Wren, a prominent Fairfax County resident, kept a tavern near present-day Falls Church (MB description begins James A. Bear, Jr., and Lucia C. Stanton, eds., Jefferson’s Memorandum Books: Accounts, with Legal Records and Miscellany, 1767–1826, Princeton, 1997, The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, Second Series description ends , 2:975, 1036).
Send my servant: probably John Freeman, to whom TJ gave $5 on 31 Mch. TJ hired Freeman, a slave about 20 years old, from William Baker, a Maryland physician, for $8 a month. He became a dining room servant at the President’s House, and, in August 1801, began accompanying TJ on his journeys to Monticello. On this trip he probably traveled as far as Herin’s tavern, where Davy Bowles was waiting for TJ. In 1804, TJ purchased Freeman from Baker for $400, with the stipulation that he would be freed in 1815. When Freeman did not want to leave Washington in 1809, TJ sold the remainder of his term to James Madison (MB, description begins James A. Bear, Jr., and Lucia C. Stanton, eds., Jefferson’s Memorandum Books: Accounts, with Legal Records and Miscellany, 1767–1826, Princeton, 1997, The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, Second Series description ends 2:1036, 1043, 1059; Stanton, Free Some Day description begins Lucia Stanton, Free Some Day, Thomas Jefferson Foundation, Inc., 2000 description ends , 80, 129, 185n; Lucia Stanton, “‘A Well-Ordered Household’: Domestic Servants in Jefferson’s White House,” White House History, 17 , 8–9, 14, 19; RS, description begins J. Jefferson Looney and others, eds., The Papers of Thomas Jefferson: Retirement Series, Princeton, 2004–, 2 vols. description ends 1:156; TJ to John Strode, 25 Mch. 1801; John Freeman to TJ, 2 Mch. 1809).
1. Canceled: “leave.”