Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Robert Smith, 4 October 1803

From Robert Smith

Balt. Oct. 4. 1803—


The sickness of my Children continues and appearances are at this moment very afflicting. Mrs. Smiths extreme anxiety has for several days made her consider it necessary to watch over them day & night. It was my intention to have been at Washn. last Sunday. The painful fear of never again seeing my youngest Daughter has prevented me. I have brought my family to the House of Mrs. Smiths good father in order that their situation may be more Comfortable during my absence. And I will avail myself of the first appearance of recovery to go to Washn. With the most affectionate & respectful regard I am Sir,

Your Obed Ser—

Rt Smith

RC (DLC); endorsed by TJ as received from the Navy Department on 5 Oct.

Smith’s youngest daughter, Mary Williams Smith, died shortly after this letter was written. Smith suffered the tragic loss of several children during his tenure as TJ’s secretary of the navy, including sons Robert and William Carvil in 1801 and his eldest daughter, Elizabeth Louisa, and youngest son, Robert, in 1806. Of Robert and Margaret Smith’s eight children, only one, Samuel William, reached maturity (table of Robert Smith’s children, in MdHi: Dielman-Hayward Biographical File; Vol. 35:219, 269, 273, 325, 723; Vol. 36:3n; TJ to Robert Smith, 10 Oct. 1803; Samuel Smith to TJ, 10 Feb. 1806; TJ to William Branch Giles, 23 Feb. 1806).

mrs. smiths good father: William Smith, a Baltimore merchant and former member of Congress (Biog. Dir. Cong. description begins Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, 1774-1989, Washington, D.C., 1989 description ends ; Syrett, Hamilton description begins Harold C. Syrett and others, eds., The Papers of Alexander Hamilton, New York, 1961-87, 27 vols. description ends , 12:213, 214n).

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