Thomas Jefferson Papers

Thomas Jefferson to John B. Magruder, 15 January 1812

To John B. Magruder

Monticello Jan. 15. 12


We have had made for you several months ago a parcel of nails, to wit,

150. ℔  VIIIs @ 1/– £7–10
140. Xs @ 11½d   6–14–2
14– 4–2

yesterday a person called in your name on the subject of the nails, but he talked of another balance of £29. some shilling which he claimed and seemed very importunate to have something decisive done on it: I told him no such balance existed, that except the article of plank which John Perry had undertaken to replace to you and the balance of £14–4–2 which these nails were to pay, every thing between you & me had been settled and paid; but as he seemed totally uninformed of our accounts, I found it useless to say more than that I would write to you. you know Sir that no article of any account between you & me has ever been disputed except those between 1803. Nov. 14. and 1804. June. 12. a paiment of 146.34 D = £43–18 Dec. 16. 1805. cleared every thing to that date, except the articles abovementioned which you charged at £46–3–9. & I allowed at only £27–8–5 making a difference of £18–16–8.1 as to this we made a particular arrangement to be fulfilled by John Perry which therefore is unconnected with our subsequent accounts. you had rendered me your subsequent acct from 1805. Aug. 3. to 1807. Sep. 29, which being mislaid you were so kind as to send me another. both of these I have now before me. the debets amount to £43–7–6¾. the first gave me credit for nails to Oct. 1. 1808. £14–1–7½. the second gave the same credit and added a subsequent one to 1810. Nov. 6. of £15–1–10 making together £29–3–5½ & leaving a balance in your favor of £14–4–1¼ this you desired to recieve in some spikes, & the rest equally divided between 8s & 10s. not having any spike rods, nor having recieved any since I had the balance made up in 8s & 10s which have been waiting for you ever since. a part of these the young man took away yesterday, & the rest will be delivered when called for. this, you know Sir, is an exact statement of every thing between us, and that the claim of any balance of 29.£ by the young man is totally void of foundation. I shall be very glad to have the rest of the nails taken away & that we should mutually sign a discharge, in order that no puzzle may arise hereafter about matters which you & I know to be settled. I am uninformed whether John Perry has replaced the plank and recieved from you the money I had paid for it; but when I formerly enquired of him he assured me you should have it on demand according to what had been settled between yourselves. Accept the assurance of my respect.

Th: Jefferson

PoC (MHi); at foot of first page: “Mr Magruder”; endorsed by TJ.

John Bowie Magruder (d. 1815) lived in Prince Georges County, Maryland, before moving to Virginia by 1792 and purchasing property along the Rivanna River near the boundary between Albemarle and Fluvanna counties. Four years later he began constructing a dam and gristmill, expanding his operation in 1799 to include additional mills, soon known as Union Mills, which adjoined his estate of Cumber, later Union Hall. In 1802–03 Magruder provided TJ with plank wood, probably for mill construction at Shadwell. Their difference of opinion over the cost eventually led TJ to return the wood. TJ later enlisted Magruder’s aid to settle a similar disagreement with Isaac Shoemaker. Magruder was also a lay Methodist preacher who officiated at marriages in eastern Albemarle County, 1803–05. In 1812 he joined TJ and others to engage the services of weaver William McClure. At his death Magruder owned land on both sides of the Rivanna River and approximately fifteen slaves (DNA: RG 29, CS, Md., Prince Georges Co., 1790; Bulletin of the Fluvanna County Historical Society 10/11 [1970]: 26–8; TJ to Magruder, 26 Mar. 1803, 23 Sept. 1804, 14 Nov. 1805, 24 Sept. 1807 [MHi]; John Vogt and T. William Kethley Jr., Albemarle County Marriages, 1780–1853 [1991], 1:20, 3:701; Woods, Albemarle description begins Edgar Woods, Albemarle County in Virginia, 1901 description ends , 260–1; 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 ; Fluvanna Co. Deed Book, 3:279, 4:39; Fluvanna Co. Will Book, 2:189–92, 204–6).

A letter from TJ to Magruder of 10 June 1811, not found, is recorded in SJL, as is Magruder’s missing reply of 19 June 1811 received from Fluvanna on 23 June 1811. For TJ’s particular arrangement, see TJ to John M. Perry, with Notes on Agreement with Perry, 20 Jan. 1810.

1Thus in manuscript. The correct figure is £18.15.4.

Index Entries

  • building materials; plank search
  • Magruder, John Bowie; identified search
  • Magruder, John Bowie; letters from accounted for search
  • Magruder, John Bowie; letters to search
  • Magruder, John Bowie; letters to accounted for search
  • Magruder, John Bowie; TJ’s dispute with search
  • nails; as payment for J. B. Magruder search
  • Perry, John M.; agreement with TJ search