Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Thomas F. Riddick, 15 July 1803

From Thomas F. Riddick

Chillicothe Ohio July 15th 1803


I am a petitioner to you for the Office of Register Of the Land Office, to reside in Washington county Mississippi Territory. I have Written on to my friends Messrs. Gray & Newton Members of Congress, to Recommend me & expect ere this they have complied with my request

I am a Virginian born In the county of Nansemond And lately removed to this place you perhaps may know my family They with myself are friends of the present Administration and were Opposed to the latter

As to my moral charachter and capability To perform the duties of the Office as well as responsibility in point of property Sufficient testimonials of which my friends can produce to you

I am with due respect Sir Your Most Obt. Svt.

Thomas F Riddick

RC (DNA: RG 59, LAR); at head of text: “The President of the United States”; endorsed by TJ as received 29 July and “to be Register of Missipi” and so recorded in SJL.

A native of Nansemond County, Virginia, Thomas F. Riddick (1781-1830) did not receive an appointment from TJ. He left Ohio shortly after writing the above letter and settled in St. Louis, where he went on to hold a number of public offices and become an influential business and civic leader (Frederic L. Billon, Annals of St. Louis in Its Territorial Days from 1804 to 1821 [St. Louis, 1888], 188-9).

Letters recommending Riddick from Virginia Congressmen Edwin gray and Thomas newton, Jr., have not been found. Riddick did secure a recommendation from Michael Baldwin, speaker of the Ohio House of Representatives, who wrote nearly identical letters to Albert Gallatin and Gideon Granger on 18 July. Deeming Riddick an “acquaintance of mine,” Baldwin described him as a young man of integrity and ability, who had also served an accountant’s apprenticeship. In his letter to Granger, however, Baldwin added that Riddick was “an uniform, genuine Republican” (both in DNA: RG 59, LAR, both endorsed by TJ; Donald J. Ratcliffe, Party Spirit in a Frontier Republic: Democratic Politics in Ohio, 1793-1821 [Columbus, Ohio, 1998], 109). The latter recommendation may have been enclosed in an undated letter to TJ from Granger, recorded in SJL as received 1 Aug. 1803 with notation “Thos. F. Riddick Register E. of Pearl riv.,” but not found.

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