Thomas Jefferson Papers

Thomas Jefferson to Isaac Shoemaker, 17 April 1809

To Isaac Shoemaker

Monticello Apr. 17. 09.


A little before I went to Washington in September last, you promised to accept & pay my order in favor of mr Higginbotham for 500. D. on account of rent of the mill for the year 1807–8. he has lately returned me the order on which he sais nothing has been paid. I must therefore request the paiment of that sum to him or myself without further delay, and express a hope that the rent for the 2d year, which will be due within three or four weeks will be provided in time. I offer my salutations.

Th: Jefferson

PoC (MHi); at foot of text: “Mr Isaac Shoemaker”; endorsed by TJ.

Isaac Shoemaker (1781–1843) contracted in partnership with his father, Jonathan Shoemaker, to operate TJ’s manufacturing mill at Shadwell from the beginning of 1807. He did not occupy it until a drought ended in May 1807, and he relinquished the lease in 1810 amid charges of gross mismanagement. With TJ’s support Shoemaker obtained a contract for a postal route in 1808 between Milton and Fredericksburg, with partner Hazlewood Farish. By March 1809 residents of Milton were complaining that packages intended for them were not removed from the mail portmanteau by Shoemaker “much to their injury.” Shoemaker was advised to divide the mail into smaller bags “and send them by a white (and sworn man) two and from Milton.” In August 1808 he unsuccessfully asked to manage TJ’s toll mill at Shadwell. Martha Jefferson Randolph described Shoemaker as a dishonest and poor businessman and an enemy of TJ’s who had reportedly declared that he would not pay his rent until he both found it convenient and had a settlement with TJ (Benjamin H. Shoemaker, Genealogy of the Shoemaker Family of Cheltenham, Pennsylvania [1903], 75; Abraham Bradley to TJ, 11 May 1808 [DLC]; Shoemaker to TJ, 26 Aug. 1808, and Martha Jefferson Randolph to TJ, 2 Mar. 1809 [MHi]; Gideon Granger to Shoemaker, 7 Mar. 1809 [DNA: RG 28, LPG]; Baltimore Sun, 11 Jan. 1843).

David Higginbotham probably returned TJ’s order on Shoemaker and requested a different arrangement for payment of TJ’s debt in a letter he wrote him on 11 Apr. 1809, not found but recorded in SJL as received from Milton on 13 Apr. 1809. SJL also records a missing letter from TJ to Higginbotham, 22 May 1809.

Index Entries

  • Farish, Hazlewood search
  • Higginbotham, David; letters from accounted for search
  • Higginbotham, David; letters to accounted for search
  • Higginbotham, David; TJ’s debt to search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Business & Financial Affairs; debt to D. Higginbotham search
  • Milton, Va.; post office at search
  • Randolph, Martha Jefferson (Patsy; TJ’s daughter; Thomas Mann Randolph’s wife); informs TJ of mill operations search
  • Shadwell mills; mismanagement at search
  • Shoemaker, Isaac; and mismanagement of Shadwell Mill search
  • Shoemaker, Isaac; identified search
  • Shoemaker, Isaac; letters to search