Thomas Jefferson Papers

Thomas Jefferson to John Ashlin, 20 April 1812

To John Ashlin

Monticello Apr. 20. 12.


I have just made me a fishpond and am desirous to get some carp fish to stock it. we used formerly when hauling the seyne for shad, to catch some carp also, and I presume therefore that some few are now caught at your place. I send the bearer therefore with a boat, with directions to stay a few days, and procure for me all the carp which shall be caught while he is there. I shall be obliged to you if you can aid him in getting them at as reasonable a price as you can. I presume they will not be higher than what is paid for shad, as they are by no means as good a fish. if through your interest he can be admitted to join in hauling the seyne & come in for a share of shad so as to bring us some, I will thank you, as well as for any other aid you may give him towards his1 object. Accept my best wishes

Th: Jefferson

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

John Ashlin (1762–1823), a resident of Fluvanna County, established a series of mills on the Rivanna River by 1810. He left an estate that included thirteen slaves, a manufacturing mill, a gristmill, a sawmill, a storehouse, and shops (Robert Quarles to TJ, 24 Sept. 1809; TJ to William D. Meriwether, 27 Dec. 1809; McGehee and Trout, Jefferson’s River description begins Minnie Lee McGehee and William E. Trout III, Mr. Jefferson’s River: The Rivanna, 2001 description ends , 21, 81–2; Fluvanna Co. Will Book, 2:409–10, 3:16–8, 42–6, 154–6, 202–4; Richmond Enquirer, 18 Feb. 1823; Ellen Miyagawa, ed., Family Cemeteries in Fluvanna County, Virginia [1996], 4).

On this day TJ gave the bearer, his slave James, $5 to procure carp (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 , 2:1276).

1Word interlined in place of “your.”

Index Entries

  • Ashlin, John; identified search
  • Ashlin, John; letters to search
  • Ashlin, John; TJ procures fish from search
  • carp search
  • fish; carp search
  • fish; shad search
  • James (TJ’s slave); to procure fish search
  • Monticello (TJ’s estate); fish for search
  • shad; compared to carp search