Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from the Town Committee at York, Massachusetts, with Jefferson’s Notes, 18 January 1803

From the Town Committee at York, Massachusetts, with Jefferson’s Notes

York January 18th. 1803.


The Inclosed Papers presented to your Excellency by the Undersigned Committee appointed in behalf of the Town of York are in the Vindication of the Character of Joseph Tucker Esq. Collector of the Customs for their District and Subscribe ourselves with the Highest Consideration.

Sir. Very respectfully Your Obedient Servants.

Moses Lyman } Selectmen and
Committee in
behalf of the
Town of York.
Joseph Bragdon
Theodore Webber
Elihu Bragdon

[Notes by TJ:]

Tucker is represented to be constantly drunk and incapable of business, and a violent federalist. the writers of the within are of the same party.

to lie till mr Cutts enquires into facts.

1803. mr Cutts sais Majr.   Darby shd be appd.

must say in writing1

Darby Saml. to be Collector at York Mass.2

RC (DNA: RG 59, LAR); in Lyman’s hand, signed by all; at head of text: “To His Excellency Thomas Jefferson Esquire President of the United States of America”; with TJ’s notes written on verso above and below endorsement at a later date in two or more sittings; endorsed by TJ as received 28 Jan. and “Tucker Joseph. Collector of York not to be removd” and so recorded in SJL.

A colonel of the militia, Moses Lyman served as town clerk of York from 1802 to 1808 and later as a justice of the peace for York County. Joseph and Elihu Bragdon served terms as representatives from York in the Massachusetts General Court. Both were elected to the town’s first school committee in 1800, and Theodore Webber was elected in 1801. Elihu Bragdon was a founding member of the York Cotton Factory Company, the first cotton mill in Maine, incorporated in 1811. He represented York at the 1819 Maine constitutional convention (Charles Edward Banks, History of York, Maine, 2 vols. [Baltimore, 1967], 2:217, 263, 280, 354, 358–9; Boston New-England Palladium, 21 May 1805; Portland Freeman’s Friend, 18 June 1808; Kennebunk Weekly Visitor, 14 Feb. 1818; Boston Columbian Centinel, 15 May 1819; Bangor Weekly Register, 28 Oct. 1819).

inclosed papers: memorial printed below, with the certified summary of the 17 Jan. York town meeting described in the explanatory note.

President Washington appointed joseph tucker, a Revolutionary War veteran, collector at York in 1793. He served as town clerk there from 1795 to 1801 (Washington, Papers, Pres. Ser., 13:232–4).

For the recommendation by Richard cutts, see his letter to TJ of 25 Nov. Samuel Derby (darby) replaced Tucker in Dec. 1803 (TJ to the Senate, 9 Dec.).

1Preceding four words possibly written in pencil.

2TJ wrote the preceding line above his endorsement, probably after he received the letter from Richard Cutts of 25 Nov. 1803.

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