Thomas Jefferson Papers

John Campbell White to Thomas Jefferson, 13 August 1816

From John Campbell White

Baltimore 13th Augt 1816


Two of my sons travelling in England through the favour of Sir John Sinclaire, received some Melon seed, of two species, brought from Persia by Sir Gore Ousely, it has a high character. I have therefore much pleasure in sending a portion of it, to the first character in the United States

I am Sir with great respect

John Campbell White

RC (DNAL: Thomas Jefferson Correspondence, Bixby Donation); dateline at foot of text; at head of text: “Thomas Jefferson Esqr”; endorsed by TJ. Recorded in SJL as received 23 Aug. 1816.

John Campbell White (ca. 1757–1847), physician and merchant, was a native of Ireland. After receiving a medical degree from the University of Glasgow in 1782, he moved to Belfast, assisted his brother’s export firm of Campbell & Tenant, and helped lead the efforts of Irish Catholics to mitigate British colonial policies perceived to be oppressive. By 1798 White had immigrated to the United States. As of the following year he had settled in Baltimore, where he practiced medicine, established the mercantile firm of John Campbell White & Sons, and started a distillery. White was an officer of the Medical and Chirurgical Faculty of Maryland in 1802; a founder and first president of the Baltimore Benevolent Hibernian Society in 1803; a founder and trustee of Baltimore College in 1803, later managing a fundraising lottery in 1808 and serving as president of the board of trustees in 1830; and a consulting physician for the Baltimore Hospital in 1812 and 1818. He became a naturalized United States citizen on 7 Mar. 1839 (W. Innes Addison, A Roll of the Graduates of the University of Glasgow [1898], 641; PTJ description begins Julian P. Boyd, Charles T. Cullen, John Catanzariti, Barbara B. Oberg, and others, eds., The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, 1950– , 39 vols. description ends , 29:45, 39:405–6; Historical Collections relative to the Town of Belfast from the Earliest Period to the Union with Great Britain [Belfast, 1817], 285–9, 311–7, 363–5, 432–3; New York Daily Advertiser, 13 Dec. 1798; Federal Gazette & Baltimore Daily Advertiser, 18 June 1799; The New Baltimore Directory, and Annual Register; For 1800 and 1801 [Baltimore, 1800], 98; Baltimore Maryland Gazette, 15 July 1802; Baltimore Republican, or Anti-Democrat, 19 Oct. 1803; Bernard C. Steiner, History of Education in Maryland [1894], 245–7; Baltimore North American, and Mercantile Daily Advertiser, 19 Feb. 1808; Washington National Intelligencer, 11 July 1812; Alexandria Gazette & Daily Advertiser, 9 Sept. 1818; Baltimore Patriot & Mercantile Advertiser, 12 Mar. 1834; DNA: RG 21, NPM; Liverpool Mercury and Lancashire, Cheshire, and General Advertiser, 5 Oct. 1847).

Index Entries

  • food; melons search
  • Ouseley, Sir Gore search
  • seeds; melon search
  • seeds; sent to TJ search
  • Sinclair, Sir John; and melon seeds search
  • White, John Campbell; identified search
  • White, John Campbell; letter from search
  • White, John Campbell; sends seeds to TJ search
  • White, John Campbell; sons of search