Thomas Jefferson Papers

John Mitchell to Thomas Jefferson, 26 February 1810

From John Mitchell

State of Maryld Charles County, Durham Parish
February the1 26th 1810


An Old revolutionary officer who embarked in his Country’s cause early in the year 1776, in the seventeenth year of his age, & who continued in actual and active service ’till the Army was disbanded,2 and Independence established, presumes to address you—he hopes & trust he will not be unheard or disregarded— The enclosed Address to the Citizens of the first Electorial District of Maryld will prove that he was a decided friend & supporter of the then Administration—he also did previous thereto risk his life in support of Mr Jeffersons private Character, which was shamefuly Vilified & traduced by an old Brother Officer now no more, (Majr Jones)—Soon after peace took place, he married,—he has now five Children Living, one only is provided for— a few years ago, wishing and desirious of providing a support & home for his Wife, and his other four Children, he purchased a Plantation which was offered for Sale in the Neighbourhood on good terms, and such as he was sure he could comply with, without distress to himself or his family, he would have done it if it had not been for the villinous conduct of a Commission Merchant in Baltimore, a relation, and in whom he put the greatest confidence in, swindelled him out of about 2000 dollars, the circumstance is this—to make the last payment due on the Land, he shipped to this man (Walter Muschell) a quantity of Tobo to sell for him, he (Muschell) sold it to himself—shipped it to Holland, the Vessel and Cargo lost, became Insolvent—petitioned for an Act of Insolvency which was granted,— In consequence of which, he was sued for the Ballance, judgment rendered, up to the amount of twelve hundred pounds Debt, Interest & Cost, Maryland Currency—the money must be raised by March Court next, which commences on the 3d Monday—or all his property will be sacrificed & himself and Family reduced to poverty in his old Age, now past manual labour,—without the friendly interposition of Mr Jefferson, he has no prospect of raising the Money in so short a period,—He pledges his honor that if it shoud be convenient to Mr Jefferson to Assist him, he will reimburse the money in a year, and further to secure him, he will give him ( if required) a Mortgage or Bill of sale of all his property, a schedule of which is hereunto annexed, Besides his Wife—two lovely Daughters—2 promising Boys & himself will rise up and call him Blessed

John Mitchell

A faithfull Schedule of his Property—

The Tract of Land whereon he now lives call’d Holly Spring resurvery containing 732 Acres 2 other Small tracts containing3 about 90 Acres—these lands he has a fee simpl[e—]706½ Acres life Estate in only— betwen Twenty five & 30 likely Country born slaves—none of them over 35 or 36 years of age Men, Women & Children a very good Stock of every description on his plantation &C.

J M—

RC (MHi); torn at seal; addressed: “Thomas Jefferson Esqr Late President of U States Monticello. Virginia”; stamped and postmarked; endorsed by TJ as received 4 Mar. 1810 and so recorded in SJL. Enclosure not found.

John Mitchell (ca. 1760–1812) rose from second lieutenant to captain while serving in the 1st Maryland Regiment of the Continental army, 1776–80. He transferred to the 4th Maryland Regiment on 1 Jan. 1781 and remained with that unit until April 1783. As a reward for his service, in 1789 Mitchell received 1,484 acres of bounty land from the federal government (Heitman, Continental Army description begins Francis B. Heitman, comp., Historical Register of Officers of the Continental Army during the War of the Revolution, April, 1775, to December, 1783, rev. ed., 1914 description ends , 395; Harry W. Newman, Maryland Revolutionary Records [1967], 73; Washington National Intelligencer, 3 Nov. 1812).

1Manuscript: “th.”

2Manuscript: “disbaned.”

3Manuscript: “containg.”

Index Entries

  • charity; requests to TJ for search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Business & Financial Affairs; loans requested of search
  • Jones, Maj. search
  • Mitchell, John; address to Maryland citizens by search
  • Mitchell, John; identified search
  • Mitchell, John; letters from search
  • Mitchell, John; seeks loan from TJ search
  • Muschell, Walter search
  • slaves; J. Mitchell’s search
  • The Netherlands; tobacco shipped to search
  • tobacco; shipped to Holland search