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Francis Eppes to Thomas Jefferson, 2 September 1811

From Francis Eppes

Mill brook Sep 2 1811

Dear Grandpapa

I wish to see you very much I am very sorry that you did not answer my letter give my love to aunt Randolph and all the children—believe me to be your most affectionnate Grandson

Francis Eppes

RC (ViU: TJP-ER); endorsed by TJ as received 5 Sept. 1811 and so recorded in SJL.

Francis Wayles Eppes (1801–81) was the only surviving child of TJ’s daughter Maria Jefferson Eppes and his wife’s nephew John Wayles Eppes. After the death of his mother in 1804, Eppes spent much of his time at Monticello, where TJ sought to inspire in him a love of learning. Eppes was educated at various private schools, including New London Academy near Poplar Forest, Georgetown College (later Georgetown University), and South Carolina College (later the University of South Carolina). He began to read law but was never admitted to the bar. TJ turned over his Poplar Forest plantation to Eppes at the time of the latter’s marriage in 1822 to Mary Cleland Randolph, the daughter of Thomas Eston Randolph, and he promised to bequeath the estate to his grandson. On learning of the magnitude of TJ’s financial difficulties, Eppes offered to return the property, but was refused. In 1828 Eppes sold Poplar Forest and moved his family to Florida, where he was a planter, a justice of the peace, and served several terms as intendant (mayor) of Tallahassee. He also sat on the board of West Florida Seminary (later Florida State University), 1857–68, including eight years as president. Late in the 1860s Eppes moved to Orange County, Florida, near present-day Orlando (Shackelford, Descendants description begins George Green Shackelford, ed., Collected Papers to Commemorate Fifty Years of the Monticello Association of the Descendants of Thomas Jefferson, 1965 description ends , 1:167–78; Mrs. Nicholas Ware Eppes, “Francis Eppes [1801–1881], Pioneer of Florida,” Florida Historical Society Quarterly 5 [1926]: 94–102; Chambers, Poplar Forest description begins S. Allen Chambers, Poplar Forest & Thomas Jefferson, 1993 description ends ; MB description begins James A. Bear Jr. and Lucia C. Stanton, eds., Jefferson’s Memorandum Books: Accounts, with Legal Records and Miscellany, 1767–1826, 1997, The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, Second Series description ends , esp. 2:1051; Francis Eppes Memorandum Book [Corporation for Jefferson’s Poplar Forest]; Terr. Papers description begins Clarence E. Carter and John Porter Bloom, eds., The Territorial Papers of the United States, 1934–75, 28 vols. description ends , 24:815, 25:105, 375; William George Dodd, History of West Florida Seminary [1952], 109–10).

For Eppes’s previous letter, see note to TJ to Eppes, 6 Sept. 1811. The current letter was probably enclosed in John Wayles Eppes to TJ, 2 Sept. 1811, not found, but recorded in SJL as received from Mill Brook on 5 Sept. 1811.

Index Entries

  • Eppes, Francis Wayles (TJ’s grandson); identified search
  • Eppes, Francis Wayles (TJ’s grandson); letters from search
  • Eppes, Francis Wayles (TJ’s grandson); TJ’s relationship with search
  • Eppes, John Wayles (TJ’s son-in-law); letters from accounted for search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Family & Friends; relations with grandchildren search
  • Randolph, Martha Jefferson (Patsy; TJ’s daughter; Thomas Mann Randolph’s wife); greetings to search