Thomas Jefferson Papers

Thomas Jefferson to Joseph Darmsdatt, 27 May 1810

To Joseph Darmsdatt

Monticello May 27. 10.


In the years 1796. & 1797. while living at home, I had considerable dealings with you in the article of salt fish, and recollect that I was well satisfied with those dealings. I am now returned to the same situation, and to the same occasion of procuring supplies of that article, and perhaps on a larger scale. my wants would perhaps go to about a dozen barrels a quarter. I should hope from the size & certainty of the demand, to be supplied with the best of the article, and on the lowest terms the business would admit, and that a paiment within the course of each quarter would be satisfactory. should it be agreeable to you to renew our dealings under these views, I will begin by asking the favor of you to send me a dozen barrels of herrings of the last season, one half of them to Milton, and the other half to Lynchburg to the address of Messrs Brown & Robertson merchants of that place. freight will be paid there by them, & at Milton by myself. should you be at a loss as to the conveyance, mr Jefferson who is well acquainted with the boats plying to both places, will always be so good as to inform you of them. the reciepts of the watermen should be taken & inclosed to me, & to express particularly that the barrels are delivered to them in good condition to guard against their pretexts for plundering. I salute you with esteem.

Th: Jefferson

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

Joseph Darmsdatt (d. 1820) came to Virginia with other Hessians captured at the battle of Saratoga, chose to stay there after the war, and became a merchant in Richmond. He was a founder of the city’s first Jewish congregation and a master of a local Masonic lodge. TJ first purchased salted fish from Darmsdatt in 1794, increasing his order from nine to twelve barrels two years later and dealing with him as late as 1819 (Melvin I. Urofsky, Commonwealth and Community: The Jewish Experience in Virginia [1997], 11–2, 18, 22, 26; Marshall, Papers description begins Herbert A. Johnson, Charles T. Cullen, Charles F. Hobson, and others, eds., The Papers of John Marshall, Chapel Hill, 1974–2006, 12 vols. description ends , 2:310, 311; 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 ; PTJ description begins Julian P. Boyd, Charles T. Cullen, John Catanzariti, Barbara B. Oberg, and others, eds., The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, 1950– , 31 vols. description ends , 28:604; Richmond Enquirer, 4 Jan. 1820).

Index Entries

  • boats; transfer goods to and from Richmond search
  • Brown & Robertson (Lynchburg firm); fish for TJ sent to search
  • Darmsdatt, Joseph; and fish for TJ search
  • Darmsdatt, Joseph; identified search
  • Darmsdatt, Joseph; letters to search
  • fish; herring search
  • food; herring search
  • herring; TJ orders search
  • Jefferson, George (TJ’s cousin); and shipments for TJ search
  • Lynchburg, Va.; fish shipped to search
  • Milton, Va.; boats traveling to and from search
  • Milton, Va.; TJ orders fish shipped to search
  • Monticello (TJ’s estate); fish for search
  • Poplar Forest (TJ’s Bedford Co. estate); fish for search
  • Richmond, Va.; boats transfer goods to and from search