Thomas Jefferson Papers

Thomas Jefferson to Abel Morgan, 11 January 1813

To Abel Morgan

Monticello Jan. 11. 13.


I have duly recieved your favor of Dec. 15. on the subject of the salt petre rock in your possession, and regret that it is not in my power to serve you with any other information than what follows on that subject. some years ago, Dr Samuel Brown of Kentucky presented to the Philosophical society at Philadelphia a long memoir giving an account of some saltpetre rocks in vast quantity, in some part of Kentucky which yielded an unexampled proportion of the Salt. I do not recollect his process, and he promised further accounts of it, but am uncertain whether he communicated any thing further. I have not the latter volumes of the society, but have no doubt that memoir was printed in them, and that the volume can be furnished you by the printer. I presume you could also learn something on the subject by enquiries from Dr Brown’s friends on the spot, or perhaps from himself now residing at New Orleans. with this scanty information, being all I possess, accept the assurance of my respect

Th: Jefferson

PoC (CtY: Franklin Collection); at foot of text: “Mr Abel Morgan”; endorsed by TJ.

Morgan’s favor of 15 Dec. 1812, not found, is recorded in SJL as received from Russellville, Kentucky, on 8 Jan. 1813. In an article read at the American Philosophical Society on 7 Feb. 1806, samuel brown reported that the abundant sand rocks and caves in Kentucky yielded substantial amounts of niter, which was used in producing saltpeter (Brown, “A Description of a Cave on Crooked creek, with Remarks and Observations on Nitre and Gun-Powder,” APS description begins American Philosophical Society description ends , Transactions 6 [1809]: 235–47). This work was reprinted in the American Mineralogical Journal 1 (1814): 100–13, and Brown published other works on the same subject.

Index Entries

  • American Mineralogical Journal search
  • American Philosophical Society; and S. Brown’s work search
  • Brown, Samuel; and memoir on saltpeter search
  • Morgan, Abel; and saltpeter search
  • Morgan, Abel; letters from accounted for search
  • Morgan, Abel; letters to search
  • saltpeter search