Thomas Jefferson Papers
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Thomas Jefferson to Allen Bernard, 30 July [1818]

To Allen Bernard

Monticello July 30.


The Commissioners for the University of Virginia being to meet at your tavern the day after tomorrow (Saturday) I propose to be with you tomorrow evening (Friday) the bearer, with my baggage will be with you some hours before. as I supposed you might find it difficult to provide beds for so many, and it was convenient to me to send a mattrass & trussels for myself, I have done so, preferring that kind of lodging in summer to a bed. I am told your house is very large, and has a great number of lodging rooms. if I could have ever so small a lodging room to myself, it would be a great indulgence to me, and the only one I would ask of you. but if you cannot spare it I shall be contented. I trust you will give to the Commissioners a preference of accomodations over meer strangers, and thus prevent all idea of adjournment to another place, which some of them think of, but which I hope will not be listened to. I am Sir

Your humble servt

Th: Jefferson

PoC (DLC: TJ Papers, 213:38050); on verso of reused address cover of James Madison to TJ, 20 Apr. 1818; partially dated; at foot of text: “Mr Barnet”; endorsed by TJ as a letter to “Barnet” of 30 July 1818 and so recorded (with additional notation: “Rockfish gap”) in SJL.

Allen Bernard (ca. 1763–1834), innkeeper and public official, was a longtime justice of the peace in Fluvanna County, which he represented during eight sessions of the Virginia House of Delegates, 1796, 1801–02, 1805–06, 1809–12, and 1813–15. Immediately after leaving the legislature he ran a hotel in Richmond. On 8 July 1818 Bernard bought approximately eight hundred acres in Augusta and Nelson counties at Rockfish Gap, including the tavern at which the University of Virginia Commissioners met the following month. At some point the establishment became known as the Mountain House, and a later depiction of it is reproduced elsewhere in this volume. Bernard died at his home in Nelson County (Leonard, General Assembly description begins Cynthia Miller Leonard, comp., The General Assembly of Virginia, July 30, 1619–January 11, 1978: A Bicentennial Register of Members, 1978 description ends ; William Couper, History of the Shenandoah Valley, 2:728–9; Augusta Co. Deed Book, 42:406–7, 45:159–60; Richmond Enquirer, 25 July 1834).

Index Entries

  • beds; for University of Virginia commissioners’ meeting search
  • Bernard, Allen; identified search
  • Bernard, Allen; letter to search
  • Bernard, Allen; Rockfish Gap innkeeper search
  • household articles; beds search
  • household articles; mattresses search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Travels; to Rockfish Gap search
  • mattresses search
  • Virginia, University of; Establishment; commissioners’ meeting at Rockfish Gap search