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Trip to Natural Bridge

From: Jefferson Papers | Retirement Series | Volume 11 | Trip to Natural Bridge

Johnny’s arrival gave us great pleasure as we began to be very anxious to hear from you, and I thank you very much for having spared time to write such a long letter. the head of Christ is really a great curiosity, Grand-papa is almost as much pleased with it as we are, and considers it extremely ingenious & original. it is certainly a very fine face and the character is so decided that I...
I wrote Virginia another very long letter from poplar forest giving her an account of our journey to the Natural bridge but it arriv’d after you had left this place, I dare say you have met with nothing wilder & more savage than we did traveling on horse back through a country where there was no carriage road. we made a great many enquiries about bears, wolves, panthers, & rattle snakes &...
I am very much oblig’d to you my Dear Virginia for your two letters & am quite outrageous at Elizabeth Harriet & Mary’s neglecting me so, however I will write to Harriet if I have time because I promis’d her faithfully to do so, Johnny does not go to day untill day after to morrow but to morrow sister Ellen & myself have to paste numbers on all of
Cornelia will probably give Virginia a detail of our Journey to the Natural Bridge —for me it was a complete chapter of accidents—my misfortunes began the day I left home and have not yet ceased, for a cold caught I believe in crossing the blue ridge settled upon my face and has kept me in almost constant agonies—I have not been free of pain one moment for the last eight and forty hours and...
We are return’d from the natural bridge more anxious to see it again than we were at first, because in the first place it far surpass’d our expectations, & in the second we saw it under many disadvantages, which will be remov’d when we go again, & grandpapa has promis’d that we shall; our trip was attended with disasters & accidents from the time we set off untill we return’d again, the...
6Editorial Note (Jefferson Papers)
On or about 13 Aug. 1817 Jefferson set out from Poplar Forest to visit Natural Bridge with his granddaughters Ellen W. Randolph (Coolidge) and Cornelia J. Randolph . Jefferson had most recently visited his Rockbridge County possession in 1815 with his friends José Corrêa da Serra and Francis W. Gilmer . On that occasion Jefferson measured the latitude of Natural Bridge