Thomas Jefferson Papers

Elias Earle to Thomas Jefferson, 28 January 1814

From Elias Earle

Washaington City 28th Jany 1814


I have taken the liberty of Laying before Your Excllencey, the Statement of General Henry Dearborn, and the letter of Majr James Holland, touching the Conversation or contract respecting my Errecting Iron works &c in the cherokee nation—

the reason why I make this application to You is that I wish some arangement made with the present administration, who is totally unacquainted with the circumstances connected with it—I would therefore thank You for Such a statement as may be within Your recollection of the Subject—

a compliance of which will confer a perticular Obligation on Sir Your

most Obt & Very Humbl Servt

Elias Earle

RC (DLC); between dateline and salutation: “His Excellencey Thomas Jefferson Esqr”; endorsed by TJ as received 4 Feb. 1814 and so recorded in SJL. Enclosure: James Holland, a former North Carolina congressman, to Earle, Maury County, Tennessee, 28 Mar. 1812, stating that “In Yours of the 27th ulto, I am requested to Give You a statement of the Impositions of Mr Jefferson & H Dearborn, the then President and Secretary at War—touching Your Erecting Iron works &c in the Chirokee Country, which were so far as my memory Serves me as follows—You was to use Your influence to procure a purchase of a track [tract] <of land> for that purpose & if accomplished to Erect Iron works thereon & to manufacture Such Iron instruments of husbandry as the Goverment Anually supplies the Indians with, for which You was to be allowed a fair price—You was to have a fee simple in the land, or a long lease, & in the latter Case You was to be paid for all improvemints at the End of the lease, & if a fee simple You was to reimburse the moneys Expended in the Extinguishmint of the Indian title—I farther recollect that after You had by treaty Obtained a Grant from the Indians for the Above purpose & had returned to Washington, nothing apeared to prevent the progress of the proceedings, but a doupt [doubt] of the tract being within the limits of the State of Tennessee, in which case measures were to be taken to obtain a title from the state or to Vary the place, to come within the Jurisdiction of the United States” (Tr in DLC; in Earle’s hand and endorsed by him). Other enclosure printed below.

Elias Earle (1762–1823), manufacturer and public official, moved in 1787 from his native Virginia to Greenville County, South Carolina. There he operated an iron foundry and amassed sizable landholdings. A Republican, Earle represented the Greenville District in the South Carolina House of Representatives, 1794–97, and in the state Senate, 1798–1804. He sat in the United States House of Representatives for five terms, 1805–07, 1811–15, and 1817–21. By 1811 he had moved to the Pendleton District and founded the town of Centreville. In the ensuing years Earle established a plantation, ironworks, gun factory, and other business ventures. He received a contract in 1815 to supply the federal government with ten thousand muskets, but his transfer of that obligation to another gunmaker resulted in litigation resolved only a decade after Earle’s death in Centreville (BDSCHR description begins Walter B. Edgar and others, eds., Biographical Directory of the South Carolina House of Representatives, 1974– , 5 vols. description ends , 4:176–7; Joseph Earle Birnie, The Earles and the Birnies [1974], 59–72, 192–4; Ernest M. Lander Jr., “The Iron Industry in Ante-Bellum South Carolina,” Journal of Southern History 20 [1954]: 340–1; U.S. Statutes at Large description begins Richard Peters, ed., The Public Statutes at Large of the United States … 1789 to March 3, 1845, 1845–67, 8 vols. description ends , 6:510; Washington Daily National Intelligencer, 23 June 1823).

Index Entries

  • Cherokee Indians; ironworks for search
  • Dearborn, Henry; Statement Regarding Elias Earle’s Ironworks search
  • Earle, Elias; and Cherokee Indians search
  • Earle, Elias; identified search
  • Earle, Elias; ironworks of search
  • Earle, Elias; letters from search
  • Holland, James; and E. Earle’s ironworks search
  • Indians; Cherokee search
  • iron; manufacture of search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Correspondence; letters of application and recommendation to search
  • manufacturing, household; ironworks search
  • patronage; letters of application and recommendation to TJ search