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To James Madison from John Winn and Others, 24 June 1823

From John Winn and Others

Milton Albemarle June 24th 1823

Dear Sir,

As one of the distinguished patriots who aided in the establishment of American Independence, your fellow-Citizens of Albemarle who intend to celebrate its next Anniversary at Wm. D. Fitch’s1 in Milton, have requested the undersigned committee of arrangements, to invite your attendance. In doing so permit them to indulge the hope that no circumstance may render it inconvenient to you to afford them the high gratification of your presence on that day. The undersigned individually assure you of the respect & esteem with which they are your fellow-citizens

John Winn2
William C. Rives3
Daniel M. Railey4
John M. Railey5
John Ormond6
Horace Bramham7
George W Nicholas

RC (DLC). Docketed by JM.

1William D. Fitch (d. 1848) operated a tavern in Milton, Virginia. In 1829 he was proprietor of the Eagle Tavern in Charlottesville. Fitch hosted “a large and respectable company of ladies and gentlemen” who ate barbecue and drank “a number of patriotic toasts” at his establishment on the Fourth of July 1823. “The day was spent in hilarity and good humour” (Woods, Albemarle County in Virginia, 195; Richmond Enquirer, 18 July 1823; K. Edward Lay, The Architecture of Jefferson Country: Charlottesville and Albemarle County, Virginia [Charlottesville, Va., 2000], 87).

2John Winn (d. 1837) was a Charlottesville merchant and for thirty years the city’s postmaster. He built the Jefferson Hotel in 1828 and a home he called Belmont, from which that section of Charlottesville got its name (Richmond Enquirer, 24 Nov. 1837; Looney et al., Papers of Thomas Jefferson: Retirement Series, 2:201 n.; Lay, Architecture of Jefferson Country, 148).

3William Cabell Rives (1793–1868), son of Robert Rives of Nelson County, Virginia, was a graduate of the College of William and Mary and read law with Thomas Jefferson. He represented the county in the Virginia House of Delegates, 1817–21. On his marriage to Judith Page Walker in 1819, Rives moved to her home, Castle Hill, in Albemarle County, which became his permanent residence. He served in the U.S. House of Representatives, 1823–29, after which he was appointed U.S. minister to France, 1829–32, and again, 1849–53. Rives was a U.S. senator, 1832–34, 1836–39, and 1841–45. Although an opponent of secession, he served briefly in the Confederate Congress, resigning in 1862. Rives was very close to JM, as their correspondence and his three-volume biography of JM attest, and JM exerted a profound influence on Rives’s political course. For Rives’s work as JM’s biographer and editor of his papers, see PJM description begins William T. Hutchinson et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison (1st ser., vols. 1–10, Chicago, 1962–77, vols. 11–17, Charlottesville, Va., 1977–91). description ends , 1:xxiii–xxiv. For a detailed and nuanced portrait of the relationship between Rives and JM, see McCoy, Last of the Fathers, 329–69.

4Daniel M. Railey (1796–1858), who owned the Woodbourne plantation on Buck Island, was a subscriber to the Central College in 1818, a county magistrate in 1830, and a member of the Agricultural Society of Albemarle. He moved to Missouri in 1840 (W. M. Paxton, Annals of Platte County, Missouri … [Kansas City, Mo., 1897], 268; Woods, Albemarle County in Virginia, 300, 378; PJM-RS description begins David B. Mattern et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison: Retirement Series (3 vols. to date; Charlottesville, Va., 2009–). description ends , 1:324; True, “Minute Book of the Albemarle Agricultural Society,” printed in Annual Report of the American Historical Association for 1918, 1:303).

5John M. Railey was an 1819 graduate of Washington College, who later moved to Botetourt County, Virginia, where he became a merchant (Catalogue of the Officers and Alumni of Washington and Lee University, Lexington, Virginia, 1749–1888 [Baltimore, 1888], 73).

6John J. Ormond (1795–1866), a Charlottesville lawyer who was admitted to the bar in 1820, served with Thomas Jefferson on a committee to establish a public library in 1823. About 1827 he moved to Alabama, where he practiced law and served a term in the state legislature in 1832. In 1837 Ormond was elected a state supreme court judge, and he served until his resignation in 1848. He practiced law in Tuscaloosa until his death (Woods, Albemarle County in Virginia, 103, 381; Thomas McAdory Owen, History of Alabama and Dictionary of Alabama History [4 vols.; Chicago, 1921], 4:1303).

7Horace Bramham (1798–1834), who received his medical degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 1821, was a Charlottesville physician and a member of the Agricultural Society of Albemarle (Samuel X. Radbill, ed., “The Autobiographical Ana of Robley Dunglison, M.D.,” Transactions of the American Philosophical Society, n.s., 53 [1963]: 33 n. 56; “University of Pennsylvania,” American Medical Recorder 4 [1821]: 398; True, “Minute Book of the Albemarle Agricultural Society,” printed in Annual Report of the American Historical Association for 1918, 1:310).

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