Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to John B. Magruder, 26 March 1803

To John B. Magruder

Monticello Mar. 26. 1803.


I recieved your note informing me of your mistake between the beech and birch. still however I must ask the favor of you to exert yourself and get for me all the beech you can, in breadths of 3½ Inches & of 7. Inches, and to do it immediately and give me information as soon as done. Accept my best wishes.

Th: Jefferson

PrC (MHi); at foot of text: “Mr. Magruder”; endorsed by TJ in ink on verso.

John Bowie Magruder (d. 1815) moved to Virginia from Prince George’s County, Maryland, in 1792. He purchased property along the Rivanna River between Albemarle and Fluvanna counties and began building a dam and gristmill there in 1796. Within three years, he expanded his operation under the name Union Mills. Magruder provided TJ with wood plank, probably for mill construction at Shadwell. According to his financial accounts, TJ directed payments for plank to Magruder of $104.54 on 20 Aug. 1802 and of $44.57 on 7 Feb. 1803, but later disagreed with him over prices charged. Magruder and his son-in-law purchased the Shadwell mills from the Jefferson estate in 1829 (Woods, Albemarle description begins Edgar Woods, Albemarle County in Virginia, Charlottesville, 1901 description ends , 260–2; 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 , 2:1079, 1092; RS description begins J. Jefferson Looney and others, eds., The Papers of Thomas Jefferson: Retirement Series, Princeton, 2004- , 9 vols. description ends , 4:420–1; Vol. 38:423, 449; TJ to Magruder, 23 Sep. 1804, 14 Nov. 1805).

your note: a letter from Magruder to TJ, recorded in SJL as received on 19 Mch., has not been found.

TJ also used beech for the floor of the parlor at Monticello; see TJ to James Dinsmore, 18 May.

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