James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Thomas P. McMahon, 30 January 1822

From Thomas P. McMahon

Philada. Jany. 30: 1822


On the 22nd. of June 18181 I done myself the pleasure of transmitting to you an account due for seeds sent you per order of the late Mr. Latrobe, to the Estate of Mr. B. McMahon deceased, amounting to twenty one dollars and 12½ cents; and since then not having heard from you, am desirous of requesting your attention to the Subject as speedily as possible, as the Executrix to the Estate is at present very much pressed for funds; and unless She is able to collect in the outstanding debts due the Estate of her late husband, she will be obliged to sacrafice the principal part of the property left for her Support. She earnestly desires me to request your immidiate attention and trusts that her Situation will be an excuse for tenor of this communication. I have the honor to be sir With great respect Your Obt. Servt.

Thomas P. McMahon2

RC (DLC). Docketed by JM.

1Letter not found.

2Thomas P. McMahon (ca. 1791–1831), a veteran of the War of 1812, who resigned from the U.S. Army in 1818, was a son of Irish-born horticulturalist, Bernard McMahon (d. 1816), who had established a nursery and seed business in Philadelphia and who nurtured and sold seeds from the plant specimens sent back by Lewis and Clark from their western expedition. When he was president, JM had purchased seeds for a vegetable garden through Benjamin Henry Latrobe (McMahon to Latrobe, 27 June 1809, DLC). Bernard McMahon was also the author of the popular American Gardener’s Calendar; Adapted to the Climates and Seasons of the United States. … (1806). After Bernard’s death, his wife, Ann, and his son, Thomas, continued the business, though Thomas was admitted to the bar in 1825 and had become a notary public by 1827 (Heitman, Historical Register description begins Francis B. Heitman, Historical Register and Dictionary of the United States Army, from Its Organization, September 29, 1789, to March 2, 1903 (2 vols.; 1903; reprint, Baltimore, 1994). description ends , 1:676; José Corrèa de Serra to JM, 12 Feb. 1819, PJM-RS description begins David B. Mattern et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison: Retirement Series (2 vols. to date; Charlottesville, Va., 2009–). description ends 1:414 n. 2; Robert S. Cox, “‘I Never Yet Parted’: Bernard McMahon and the Seeds of the Corps of Discovery,” in Robert S. Cox, ed., The Shortest and Most Convenient Route: Lewis and Clark in Context [Philadelphia, 2004], 109–29; “Notices of Marriages and Deaths in Poulson’s American Daily Advertiser, 1831–1833,” Collections of the Genealogical Society of Pennsylvania 177 [1907]: 277).

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