Thomas Jefferson Papers

Thomas Jefferson to John Brown, 25 April 1813

To John Brown

Monticello Apr. 25. 13.


On recieving from you mr Walker’s bill of prices (which I now inclose) I examined your account, which I had not done before, and soon found that mr Walker’s bill related only to grist mills. I therefore sent a messenger to him and asked him to state the prices of saw mill work, which he did. on comparing these with yours I found them very materially different. my original agreement for building the saw mill was with him, and when he turned it over to you, he told me you would work at his prices, and I think when you delivered me your account you said1 you made his prices your rule of charging. I think therefore it will be better to let him take your account and extend it according to his prices. I noted to him some articles of which I wished to know the prices, and he wrote me he could not decide them without seeing them. I set out to Bedford tomorrow & shall be back in three weeks. on my return, if you consent I will get him to come here, see the work and settle the prices of every article. I am aware that his prices are by no means the lowest that even the best millwrights work at. but they are those I expected to pay, and am willing to abide by. if you will signify your consent in a line to be lodged here before my return, I will then immediately fix a day for him and yourself to meet here and will let you know it. Accept my best wishes.

Th: Jefferson

PoC (MHi); at foot of text: “Mr John Brown”; endorsed by TJ. Enclosure not found.

John Brown, millwright, worked on TJ’s sawmill. TJ recorded payments to him of $300 in July 1813 and $100 in July 1814 (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 , 2:1291, 1301).

1TJ here canceled “it was.”

Index Entries

  • Brown, John (millwright); and sawmill construction search
  • Brown, John (millwright); identified search
  • Brown, John (millwright); letters to search
  • Monticello (TJ’s estate); sawmill at search
  • Poplar Forest (TJ’s Bedford Co. estate); TJ plans visit to search
  • sawmill; at Monticello search
  • Walker, James; and mill construction search