Thomas Jefferson Papers

Thomas Wells to Thomas Jefferson, 2 April 1817

From Thomas Wells

April 2d 1817.


I have the pleasure to inform you that Mr G. Divers has several prime Muttons but no Veal, I shall send out this morning else where, should I succeede it will give me infinite pleasure to furnish you—

Suffer me also to inform you that thire is a Machine come to this place yesterday that shaves a Side of leather with greate virility say Half a Minute which there is a patton for, the Stranger wishes very much you should see it in opperation—should it be pleasing to you he will at any hour to day be Ready to shew you the Operation excuse this liberty with greate Respect

Yo &

Tho Wells

RC (MHi); dateline beneath signature; addressed: “Thos Jeffeson Esqr Present”; endorsed by TJ: “Wells Thos.”

Thomas Wells (1771–1822), tavern keeper, was born in Hackettstown, New Jersey. He moved with his family to Virginia following the Revolutionary War. Wells operated the Eagle Tavern in Charlottesville and the Franklin Hotel in Lynchburg, and TJ purchased land from him in 1802. He was an officer in the Albemarle County militia and a member of the local Masonic lodge. Wells was appointed to the revived Albemarle Academy Board of Trustees in 1814 and subscribed $200 toward the establishment of Central College three years later. At his death in Richmond he left a personal estate valued at $1,974 (Lottie Wright Davis, Records of Lewis, Meriwether and Kindred Families [1951], 127–8; K. Edward Lay, The Architecture of Jefferson Country: Charlottesville and Albemarle County, Virginia [2000], 87, 168, 303, 318; PTJ description begins Julian P. Boyd, Charles T. Cullen, John Catanzariti, Barbara B. Oberg, and others, eds., The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, 1950– , 40 vols. description ends , 38:354–6, 359–60, 396–8; 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 , 2:1082, 1083; Lynchburg Press, 31 Oct. 1817; Woods, Albemarle description begins Edgar Woods, Albemarle County in Virginia, 1901, repr. 1991 description ends , 372; Proceedings of a Grand Annual Communication of the Grand Lodge of Virginia [Richmond, 1806], 31; Minutes of the Albemarle Academy Board of Trustees, 25 Mar. 1814; Master List of Subscribers to Central College, [after 7 May 1817], document 5 in a group of documents on The Founding of the University of Virginia: Central College, 1816–1819, printed at 5 May 1817; Albemarle Co. Will Book, 7:301–5; Richmond Enquirer, 27 Aug. 1822).

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