Thomas Jefferson Papers
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Thomas Jefferson to Eli Alexander, 17 April 1809

To Eli Alexander

Monticello Apr. 17. 09.


Being much pressed by mr Higginbotham for a debt I owe him, and towards the discharge of which I promised him my rents, I paid over to him immediately the 200. D. you paid me the other day, & must sollicit the paiment of the balance of rent due since the 1st day of December last. this I trust the sale of your crop of wheat will have enabled you to do, and that the request will be deemed justified, not only by my own necessities, but by the consideration that rent is the first money which ought to be paid out of the proceeds of the land. I salute you with esteem.

Th: Jefferson

PoC (MHi); at foot of text: “Mr Eli Alexander”; endorsed by TJ.

Eli Alexander was a farmer who worked from 1794–95 as overseer at TJ’s Shadwell and Lego properties, brought there by TJ to implement some of the agricultural practices of Alexander’s native Cecil County, Maryland. He remained in Albemarle County and leased a 320-acre tract consisting of Shadwell and part of Lego from TJ, 1805–12. Alexander’s turbulent tenancy included disputes over the terms of the lease that had to be settled by arbitrators in 1810 (Henry C. Peden Jr., Revolutionary Patriots of Cecil County, Maryland [2000], 1; PTJ description begins Julian P. Boyd, Charles T. Cullen, John Catanzariti, Barbara B. Oberg, and others, eds., The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, 1950– , 31 vols. description ends , 28:235; 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 , 2:897, 1244).

Index Entries

  • Alexander, Eli; identified search
  • Alexander, Eli; letters to search
  • Higginbotham, David; TJ’s debt to search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Business & Financial Affairs; debt to D. Higginbotham search
  • Lego (TJ’s Albemarle Co. estate); overseers at search
  • overseers; pay rent to TJ search
  • Shadwell (TJ’s estate); overseers at search