Thomas Jefferson Papers

Thomas Jefferson to John M. Perry, 20 January 1810, with Notes on Agreement with Perry, 19 April 1812

To John M. Perry, with Notes on Agreement with Perry

Monticello Jan. 20. 1810


There is an old affair between mr Magruder & myself which I really had supposed done with, but he has lately revived it. he furnished me with some plank, & charged such extravagant prices as never had been given in this neighborhood by the half. I paid him according to the highest prices I had ever paid, amounting to £27–9 and wrote him that if he was not satisfied with that I would replace the plank at his mill & take back the money: and I contracted with mr Allen to take the thing off my hands, to wit furnish & deliver the plank & recieve the money from mr Magruder. this was 4. years ago, since which I have heard nothing of it till now. in the mean time mr Allen is dead. I have supposed it might suit you to take the same contract. the plank to be furnished is stated below: the sum in Magruder’s hands is £27–9 which amounts to £7–6 a thousand

suppose the Timber per thousand  1– 0–0
 hauling & delivery 1–10–0
 remains for sawing & profit 4–16–0
7– 6.

the plank is, I believe to be of a fixed width, 5.I. if I mistake not: but I am not certain. I shall be glad to hear from you soon on this subject, and perhaps, on conversation, might enable you to get over small difficulties. I am Sir

your humble servt

Th: Jefferson

2671½ heart plank }
 329. good timber 1¼ I. thick
 155. fine
 600. feet superfine 1 I. thick

[Notes by TJ below endorsement on verso:]

1812. Apr. 19. J. Perry informing me that no timber, equal to this bill, can be got within a considerable distance of Magruder’s, whereas he had expected to get it within 5. miles, I have desired him to get it as near as he can, & I will pay the difference of haulage between the 5. miles & the actual distance at which he shall get it.

PoC (MHi); adjacent to signature: “Mr John Perry”; endorsed by TJ.

In 1805 TJ rejected as extravagant £46.3.9, the price set for a plank order by John Bowie Magruder, of Fluvanna County, and stated that he would pay only £27.8.5 (TJ to Magruder, 14 Nov. 1805 [MHi], 15 Jan. 1812). TJ apparently contracted with Hancock Allen (d. 1807), the owner of a sawmill and rock quarry in Albemarle County, to return the lumber to Magruder (MB description begins James A. Bear Jr. and Lucia C. Stanton, eds., Jefferson’s Memorandum Books: Accounts, with Legal Records and Miscellany, 1767–1826, 1997, The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, Second Series description ends , 2:1155; Woods, Albemarle description begins Edgar Woods, Albemarle County in Virginia, 1901 description ends , 399).

Index Entries

  • Allen, Hancock search
  • building materials; plank search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Business & Financial Affairs; agreement with J. M. Perry search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Writings; Notes on Agreement with John M. Perry search
  • Magruder, John Bowie; TJ’s dispute with search
  • Perry, John M.; agreement with TJ search
  • Perry, John M.; and plank for TJ search
  • Perry, John M.; letters to search