Thomas Jefferson Papers

Thomas Jefferson to William P. Newby, 20 January 1815

To William P. Newby

Monticello Jan. 20. 15.


In a letter to my grandson the last summer1 you expressed a willingness to return to my employment; but at that time I had no place vacant, and the one particularly at which you had lived was then, & still is occupied by a person who gives entire satisfaction. in Bedford I have two plantations, adjoining, of 16. hands each, uplands of the first quality where I cultivate both tobacco & wheat. in point of soil, climate, and a substantial thrifty & good neighborhood I think it the finest part of Virginia. my wages there are 200.D. something less than the place here, where the business is much more multiplied & troublesome. indeed the times require a general reduction of wages, as nothing can be sold for the expence of making it. one of these places will be vacant the next year, & I make you the first offer of it. if you chuse to undertake it, and will so inform me by answer, it is at your command. the house is uncomfortable, being a single room [and?] a loft above. but I wish to add to it & make it comfortable.—another room with a passage between, can quickly be added, of hewen logs as is usual in that country, plaistered, with windows, stone chimney Etc and as this would take but a very short time, I would rather leave it to be done by yourself, immediately on your arrival, that you might do it to please yourself. the place is 10. miles from Lynchburg, the second town of the state as to the quantity of business, and the most thriving one in the state. I write to you thus early as if you accept it, it will be satisfactory to us both to be at rest on that point, and if not, that I may have the more time to look about me. your answer therefore is requested as soon as you can make up your mind on it. accept my best wishes & respects

Th: Jefferson

P.S. whether you accept or not, I shall be glad to have nothing said about it till midsummer, as it might be injurious to the present service of the place.

PoC (DLC); on verso of reused address cover to TJ; torn at seal; postscript adjacent to signature; at foot of text: “Mr Wm P. Newby”; endorsed by TJ. Enclosed in TJ to Benjamin Shackelford, [ca. 20 Jan. 1815], which is not recorded in SJL and has not been found (see Shackelford to TJ, 16 Mar. 1815).

Newby had written to Thomas Jefferson Randolph, TJ’s grandson. He had previously served as overseer at TJ’s Tufton estate, a position which was now held by William Ballard, who gives entire satisfaction.

1Word interlined in place of “winter.”

Index Entries

  • Ballard, William; as Tufton overseer search
  • Lynchburg, Va.; TJ on search
  • Newby, William P.; letters to search
  • Newby, William P.; TJ offers employment to search
  • Newby, William P.; Tufton overseer search
  • overseers; accommodations for search
  • overseers; hiring of search
  • overseers; wages for search
  • Poplar Forest (TJ’s Bedford Co. estate); Overseers at; accommodations for search
  • Poplar Forest (TJ’s Bedford Co. estate); Overseers at; TJ seeks replacement for search
  • Poplar Forest (TJ’s Bedford Co. estate); Overseers at; wages for search
  • Poplar Forest (TJ’s Bedford Co. estate); TJ describes search
  • Poplar Forest (TJ’s Bedford Co. estate); tobacco grown at search
  • Poplar Forest (TJ’s Bedford Co. estate); wheat grown at search
  • Randolph, Thomas Jefferson (TJ’s grandson; Jane Hollins Nicholas Randolph’s husband); mentioned search
  • Shackelford, Benjamin; letters to accounted for search
  • tobacco; grown at Poplar Forest search
  • Tufton (TJ’s Albemarle Co. estate); overseers at search
  • wheat; at Poplar Forest search