Thomas Jefferson Papers
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Thomas Jefferson to Richard N. Thweatt, 22 November 1816

To Richard N. Thweatt

Poplar Forest Nov. 22. 16.

Dear Sir

I received yesterday, and at this place, a letter from mr Edwin Starke of Norfolk of Oct. 30. when he had but just recd one from me of Oct. 10. in which he informs me he had forwarded a box recieved for me from Europe to yourself at Petersburg to be forwarded to Monticello. I regret this terrible mistake of mr Starke in the geography of Monticello more for the trouble it has brought on you, than the delay of my box. I cannot get you out of the scrape otherwise than by praying you to send it by some vessel going round to Richmond to the address of messrs Gibson & Jefferson who will pay all charges, and repay any with which you may have been taxed by this error.

I have been here a month, and shall set out for Monticello the day after tomorrow, taking Millbrook in my way, as I hear that mr Eppes’s health is very low.

I am indebted to this aberration of my box for the opportunity, of which I always avail myself with pleasure of renewing to mrs Thweatt & yourself the assurance of my affectionate esteem & respect

Th: Jefferson

PoC (MHi); on verso of a reused address cover from William Wirt to TJ; mutilated at seal, with missing text rewritten by TJ; at foot of text: “Richd Thweatt esq.”; endorsed by TJ.

Richard Noble Thweatt (ca. 1780–1835), planter, killed a man in a duel in 1802, was summoned for jury service during Aaron Burr’s 1807 treason trial, and in 1809 married Mary “Polly” Eppes, a sister of TJ’s son-in-law John Wayles Eppes and niece of TJ’s wife, Martha Wayles Skelton Jefferson. President James Madison appointed Thweatt a federal tax assessor in 1816. He owned fifty-three slaves in Dinwiddie County in 1820 and sixty-five at his roughly 1,100-acre estate in Chesterfield County a decade later. Thweatt died in the latter county and was buried in the family cemetery at Eppington (John Frederick Dorman, ed., Ancestors and Descendants of Francis Epes I of Virginia [Epes-Eppes-Epps] [1992– ], 2:410; Alexandria Advertiser and Commercial Intelligencer, 6 Sept. 1802; David Robertson, Reports of the Trials of Colonel Aaron Burr [Philadelphia, 1808], 1:422; note to TJ to Archibald Thweatt, 13 Jan. 1810; JEP description begins Journal of the Executive Proceedings of the Senate of the United States description ends , 3:27, 29 [29 Jan., 9 Feb. 1816]; DNA: RG 29, CS, Dinwiddie Co., 1820, Chesterfield Co., 1830; Chesterfield Co. Will Book, 13:210–2; Richmond Enquirer, 19 May 1835; gravestone inscription in Eppington graveyard, Chesterfield County).

Bad weather delayed TJ’s departure for monticello until 6 Dec. 1816 (TJ to Martha Jefferson Randolph, 3 Dec. 1816; 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 , 2:1329).

Index Entries

  • Eppes, John Wayles (TJ’s son-in-law); health of search
  • Gibson & Jefferson (Richmond firm); payments made for TJ search
  • Mill Brook (J. W. Eppes’s Buckingham Co. estate); TJ visits search
  • Poplar Forest (TJ’s Bedford Co. estate); TJ returns from search
  • Stark, Edwin; and package for TJ search
  • Thweatt, Mary (Polly) Eppes (John Wayles Eppes’s sister; Richard Noble Thweatt’s wife); TJ sends greetings to search
  • Thweatt, Richard Noble; and package for TJ search
  • Thweatt, Richard Noble; identified search
  • Thweatt, Richard Noble; letter to search