Thomas Jefferson Papers
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George Jefferson to Thomas Jefferson, 13 November 1809

From George Jefferson

Richmond 13th Novr 1809

Dear Sir

Immediately on the receipt of your favor of the 31st ultimo by T.J. Randolph, (with which however he did not call until Saturday) I waited on Mrs Page, and to my surprise was informed, that she had not a spare room, having lately taken two young ladies to board with her during the winter: and that it was therefore out of her power to accommodate Jefferson, unless he could stay in the same room with young Burwell, whom I formerly mentioned to you.—Mrs P. expressed a fear of offending Mrs R., and said that she did not know when she offered to take Jefferson, whose son he was.

I soon discovered that Jefferson was anxious to remain at his Aunts, where he had been from the time of his arrival—and that she likewise wish’d him to board with her. He said after I had been to Mrs Pages, (which he had before forgotten) that his Father wish’d him to board with his Aunt, provided she could furnish him with a room: but this it seems she cannot do, & can only give him a part1 of one with a young Gentleman now boarding there.—He appeared to be so very anxious that I should not place him elsewhere until he could hear from home, that I could not have done it, even could I have found an eligible situation for him: which however I find to be much more difficult than I apprehended.

A Mrs Starke will furnish him with a room after the Session of the legislature, but will ask 250$.Mrs Nelson as you will observe from the inclosed will board him, but cannot give him a room to himself. I desired him to ask his aunt what her charge would be, and to call on me this morning, but he has not during the whole day: perhaps he has been told that I have no right to make such an enquiry, & am interfering between such connexions improperly.

I hope my dear Sir, it is not necessary for me to say, that it would afford me infinite pleasure to render any service in my power to Mr, & Mrs Randolph’s Son, even were he not your Grand Son.

If he cannot be more eligibly situated than to board elsewhere & to have a room with me, it will give me very great pleasure to accommodate him.

I am Dear Sir Your Very humble servt

Geo. Jefferson

RC (MHi); at foot of text: “Thomas Jefferson esqr”; endorsed by TJ as received 22 Nov. 1809 and so recorded in SJL. Enclosure: Judith Nelson to George Jefferson, 13 Nov. 1809, stating that her house was constructed in such a way that no boarder could have a room to himself; that she was boarding “several young Gentlemen of the first rate Talents & respectability, who have all agreed to Take a Companion”; that each provided for his own bedding, fuel, washing, and candles; that the quarterly charge was fifty dollars paid in advance; and that Randolph would be welcomed on these terms (RC in MHi).

Elizabeth Burwell page was the aunt of William Armistead Burwell, who had previously served as TJ’s private secretary and was now a congressman from Virginia. young burwell was presumably one of his relations. Thomas Jefferson Randolph’s aunt Mary Randolph opened a boardinghouse in Richmond in 1808 (Richmond Virginia Gazette, 4 Mar. 1808; Sterling P. Anderson, “‘Queen Molly’ and The Virginia Housewife,” Virginia Cavalcade 20 [Spring 1971]: 29–35).

About this time the younger Randolph wrote his mother from his aunt’s house that he had “waited with impatience for nearly a month expecting to hear from some one of the family (yourself excepted) respecting my final arrangements for the winter; The house is very much crowded at present, but we experience no inconvenience from it, having a room in another, I never see or hear the company except at meals … I am perfectly satisfyed with my situation” (Thomas Jefferson Randolph to Martha Jefferson Randolph, [1809], ViU: Edgehill-Randolph Papers).

1Preceding seven words interlined in place of “unless he will partake.”

Index Entries

  • Burwell, Mr.; rooms with T. J. Randolph search
  • Burwell, William Armistead; mentioned search
  • Jefferson, George (TJ’s cousin); letters from search
  • Nelson, Judith search
  • Page, Elizabeth Burwell search
  • Randolph, Martha Jefferson (Patsy; TJ’s daughter; Thomas Mann Randolph’s wife); children of search
  • Randolph, Mary (Thomas Mann Randolph’s sister; David Meade Randolph’s wife); runs Richmond boardinghouse search
  • Randolph, Thomas Jefferson (TJ’s grandson; Jane Hollins Nicholas Randolph’s husband); education of search
  • Richmond, Va.; boardinghouses in search
  • Starke, Mrs. (boardinghouse keeper in Richmond) search