Thomas Jefferson Papers

Enoch Jones to Thomas Jefferson, 5 November 1814

From Enoch Jones

Norfolk Nov 5th 1814.


It may appear a little singular to you to receive a letter from one of whom you have never heard, but as you have evidenced an unusual mind and as my scituation and attempts have not been of the most common kind I believe no apology requisite for my writing—I have ever since I knew of you had much desire to see and converse with one whom I conceived to be so great a phylosopher as you are, but it has never been in my power to visite you.

My mind and circunstances have always been such as have caused me to encounter some difficulties which but few are in the habit of brooking—I had always a great desire to be a schollar, but unfortunately was curtaled in my education in consequence of the great number of children my parents had together with the smallness of their estate.

My mother has had fourteen children to live until old enough to attend school, thirteen of whome are now living and in the Indiany teritory. I am the oldest of all—. My mind inclined to the study of medicine, but I have been oblieged to support myself by teaching school and other means during my acquirement of anatomical and medical knowledge. I morried when young and as my father in law could not understand my designs he has withholden all aid saying if he gave me any thing that before I could get into practice I should spend it, but I have persevered until after a sattisfactory examination I have been imployed as surgeons mate in the Navy on this station, but have not yet received a commition tho’ I have served more than twelve months—As I have not been able to attend the lectures at Philidelphia, If I could gain a patron so as to enable me to attend there the next course to me it would be all importent.

If you are so good as to answer these lines any communication will be thankfully received by sir

your obedient humble servant

Enoch Jones

RC (MHi); addressed: “Thomas Jefferson Esqr Monticello V.a.”; franked; postmarked Norfolk, 8 Nov.; endorsed by TJ as received 15 Nov. 1814 and so recorded in SJL.

Enoch Jones (b. 1785), physician, was the son of Ebenezer Jones and Mary Jones, of Delaware. Later in the 1780s he moved to North Carolina, and in 1808 he married Nancy Swain, the daughter of Eleazer Swain, of that state’s Washington County. Jones was commissioned as a surgeon’s mate in the United States Navy on 10 Dec. 1814, but he resigned on 2 Mar. of the following year. By 1818 he was living in Posey County, Indiana, where he established a medical practice. Jones moved his family to Mississippi in the 1820s and to the Republic of Texas by the end of the following decade. Census records describe him as a dentist in 1850 and a farmer in 1860. In his later years Jones owned real estate valued at $480 and personal property worth $200 (Gilbert X. Drendel Jr., Footprints on the Frontier: The Ebenezer and Mary Jones Family [2008], 6, 7, 132–8; Edenton Gazette, and North Carolina Advertiser, 11 Nov. 1808; JEP description begins Journal of the Executive Proceedings of the Senate of the United States description ends , 2:588, 591 [1, 10 Dec. 1814]; Callahan, U.S. Navy description begins Edward W. Callahan, List of Officers of the Navy of the United States and of the Marine Corps from 1775 to 1900, 1901, repr. 1969 description ends , 301; DNA: RG 29, CS, Ind., Posey Co., 1820, Tex., Grimes Co., 1850, Dewitt Co., 1860).

Index Entries

  • Jefferson, Thomas; Correspondence; letters of application and recommendation to search
  • Jones, Enoch; identified search
  • Jones, Enoch; letter from search
  • Jones, Enoch; requests assistance from TJ search
  • patronage; letters of application and recommendation to TJ search