Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from William Hickman, 26 February 1809

Shannon Hill 26th. Feby 1809

Dear Sir,

This will be handed you by Dick, who takes down Dusty-Miller.

On Friday last was handed to me, the enclosed account of a very extraordinary Phenomenon, seen, as you will know, at your Horse-shoe Farm opposite this place: As it offers to the Philosopher and the Astronomer a subject of curious speculation, and as it will find you in the focus (allow me the expression) of knowledge; I do myself the pleasure of transmitting it to you. I canot learn that this strange appearance was observed by any other person than our Friend who relates it, yet I have not the least doubt of the truth of the relation, and I doubt not but your more thorough knowledge of the man, will induce your equal belief of it.

My knowledge is too superficial to allow me to offer a conjecture upon the subject:—the Points (tho’) out of the way, probably it might not be very difficult to assign the cause;—be it what it may, the speculations of the wise upon it, would be very interesting.

I have the Honor to be, With every respectful consideration Dear Sir, your Obdt. Hbe Servt.

William Hickman

DLC: Papers of Thomas Jefferson.


Feby 24th 1809

Dr. Sir/

On wednesday last which I believe to be the 23rd of the month I saw a large Circle in the firmament of a vast extent also a small Circle round the Sun which intersected the larger one—Also in the large circle were the four points north East South and west—the large Circle was of a whitish cast—and the points were as bright as a rain bough of a Summers evening—the Sun was nearly ¾ of an hour a past the South point the circle continued about half an hour from the time I first discovered it—and the points continued some time after the circle disappeared—I have inclosed a scrap of paper with the circles—as they appeared to me—I shoud not have noticed it—but the negroes at the barn saw it and called to me and asked me if I ever saw such a Circle in the elimint as that before—I hope you have been curious enough to notice it your self—I am Sir your obdt Servt

James Milton

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