Thomas Jefferson Papers
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Thomas Jefferson to Joel Yancey, 18 February 1818

To Joel Yancey

Monticello Feb. 18. 18.

Dear Sir

It being now high time to try the experiment of burning our stubble fields as a means of destroying the brood of the fly deposited in them, and ready the first warm spell to come out and lay their eggs in the new wheat, I take up my pen to state to you the method as going into practice here. you take a still day, and burn a margin all round the field sufficient to secure the fences. then the first day that gives a sufficient degree of wind to make the fire spread, but not so much as to be out of your command, you fire it. we are assured it does not injure the clover growing under it, and that this has been found the sole means of keeping the fly under. it is said to be now regularly practiced from Pensylva Northwardly and to render that insect now but little injurious.

I have heard circuitously that some of my tobacco is sold but expect to learn it with more exactness from yourself. I have informed mr Gibson you will send the notes to him. I hope mr Martin has sawed my bill given him, that we may not have to use green stuff for good work. Hanah’s Billy turns out to be so ungovernable and idle that I believe I shall send him back to Bedford, to go into the ground. he has been obliged to be taken from the cooper’s shop & put under an overseer here, where however an additional man is not as much wanting as in Bedford. accept the assurance of my great friendship & respect

Th: Jefferson

PoC (MHi); on verso of portion of a reused address cover from James Madison to TJ; at foot of text: “Mr Yancey”; endorsed by TJ.

A missing letter from Yancey to TJ of this date is recorded in SJL as received 22 Feb. 1818 from Lynchburg.

Index Entries

  • agriculture; fences search
  • Billy (TJ’s slave; b.1799); return of, to Poplar Forest search
  • building materials; plank search
  • clover; as crop search
  • clover; at Poplar Forest search
  • crops; clover search
  • fences; in agriculture search
  • Gibson, Patrick; and TJ’s tobacco search
  • Hannah (Hanah) (TJ’s slave; b.1770); laborer search
  • Hessian fly search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Business & Financial Affairs; sells tobacco search
  • Martin, James; and TJ’s timber search
  • Monticello (TJ’s Albemarle Co. estate); coopers at search
  • Monticello (TJ’s Albemarle Co. estate); slaves at search
  • Poplar Forest (TJ’s Bedford Co. estate); clover grown at search
  • Poplar Forest (TJ’s Bedford Co. estate); slaves at search
  • Poplar Forest (TJ’s Bedford Co. estate); tobacco grown at search
  • Poplar Forest (TJ’s Bedford Co. estate); wheat grown at search
  • slaves; at Monticello search
  • slaves; behavior of search
  • tobacco; grown at Poplar Forest search
  • tobacco; sale of search
  • weather; wind search
  • wheat; at Poplar Forest search
  • Yancey, Joel (d.1833); as superintendent of Poplar Forest search
  • Yancey, Joel (d.1833); letters from accounted for search
  • Yancey, Joel (d.1833); letters to search