Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to James Oldham, 2 January 1802

To James Oldham

Washington Jan. 2. 1802.


Your’s of the 26th came to hand two days ago. I immediately engaged mr Barnes to remit ten dollars for you to mr Trump.

I shall be glad to hear from you from time to time, informing me of your progress, what work you have prepared, what you have put up and what you are engaged in at the time, as it is interesting to me to know how we advance. accept my best wishes.

Th: Jefferson

RC (PWacD: Feinstone Collection, on deposit PPAmP); addressed: “Mr. James Oldham Monticello near Milton”; franked and postmarked.

James Oldham (d. 1843), a Philadelphia-trained artisan, began his employment as a house joiner at Monticello in April 1801. In 1804, he moved to Richmond, where he continued to receive orders from TJ for doors and sashes. In 1819, TJ encouraged Oldham to work on the construction of the University of Virginia. Oldham later opened a public house in Albemarle County (Richard Charles Cote, “The Architectural Workmen of Thomas Jefferson in Virginia” [Ph.D. diss., Boston University, 1986], 101–5; Vol. 33:265, 377, 603; RS description begins J. Jefferson Looney and others, eds., The Papers of Thomas Jefferson: Retirement Series, Princeton, 2004–, 5 vols. description ends , 3:520n; TJ to Oldham, 1 Jan. 1819).

Your’s of the 26th: Oldham’s letter to TJ, recorded in SJL as received 29 Dec. from Monticello, has not been found.

At an entry dated 31 Dec. 1801 in his financial memoranda, TJ recorded that Oldham owed $40 in total for payments by John Barnes on TJ’s account to Daniel Trump in Philadelphia, including the remittance of $10 mentioned by TJ in the letter above (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 , 2:1061).

Index Entries