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To Thomas Jefferson from Thomas Eston Randolph, 30 May 1803

From Thomas Eston Randolph

Richmond 30th May 1803

Dear Sir

I would have replied to your much esteem’d favor of the 3d. inst. immediately—but having had the offer of a valuable property at Jenito—I thought it advisable first to view it—indeed I was on my way there at the time I received your letter—with respect to a lease of Shadwell—the terms mention’d by you are what I expected—the situation is desirable—and the improvemts. you proposed to make to the buildings would render them sufficiently commodious for my family—and I lament that I cannot now avail myself of the opportunity to remove to a neighbourhood which for many reasons is so desirable—for the present however I am compell’d to decline it—my engagements with my tenant at Dungeoness render my frequent attendance there indispensable having undertaken to do the repairs with my own people and being disappointed in obtaining a proper person to overlook them—and have in consequence rented a house convenient thereto—For the very friendly intentions expressed in your letter Mrs. Randolph and myself most cordially thank you—we offer our affectionate regards—and I am with perfect esteem your obliged friend

Thos. Eston Randolph

RC (MHi); endorsed by TJ as received 2 June and so recorded in SJL.

Thomas Eston Randolph (1767–1842) from Bristol, England, was the eldest son of TJ’s uncle William Randolph. In 1795, he married Jane Cary Randolph, the sister of TJ’s son-in-law, Thomas Mann Randolph. By the end of 1803, they lived at Glenmore, across the Rivanna River from Milton, and purchased the surrounding land in 1805. He became an Albemarle County magistrate in 1807. Around 1810, he sold Glenmore and the family moved to Ashton, which adjoined TJ’s Pouncey’s property. From July 1814 until his move to Florida in 1829, he leased TJ’s manufacturing mill at Shadwell, at first in partnership with Thomas Mann Randolph, and later with Daniel Colcaster. Financial failures forced him to sell his ancestral home of Dungeness as well as all his slaves. Once settled in Florida, he grew active in civic life and became a federal marshal for the Middle Florida district in 1831. His daughter, Mary Cleland Randolph, married TJ’s grandson, Francis Wayles Eppes. In April 1836, he and Eppes were among a group of men who petitioned Congress, albeit unsuccessfully, for the establishment of an institution of higher learning in the Tallahassee area (Woods, Albemarle description begins Edgar Woods, Albemarle County in Virginia, Charlottesville, 1901 description ends , 303; Cynthia A. Kierner, “ ‘The Dark and Dense Cloud Perpetually Lowering over Us’: Gender and the Decline of the Gentry in Postrevolutionary Virginia,” Journal of the Early Republic, 20 [2000], 193; MB description begins James A. Bear, Jr., and Lucia C. Stanton, eds., Jefferson’s Memorandum Books: Accounts, with Legal Records and Miscellany, 1767–1826, Princeton, 1997, The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, Second Series description ends , 2:1156n, 1310n; JS description begins Journal of the Senate of the United States, Washington, D.C., 1820–21, 5 vols. description ends , 25:447; JEP description begins Journal of the Executive Proceedings of the Senate of the United States…to the Termination of the Nineteenth Congress, Washington, D.C., 1828, 3 vols. description ends , 4:178, 193; RS description begins J. Jefferson Looney and others, eds., The Papers of Thomas Jefferson: Retirement Series, Princeton, 2004- , 9 vols. description ends , 1:488n; Vol. 1:410n; Vol. 35:507–8).

favor of the 3d. inst.: TJ to Randolph, 3 May, is recorded in SJL but has not been found. Randolph to TJ, 28 Apr., recorded in SJL as written from Richmond and received on 1 May, has also not been found.

Genito (jenito) was a small village on the Appomattox River in Powhatan County (Journal of the House of Delegates of the Commonwealth of Virginia, Begun and Held at the Capitol in the City of Richmond, on Monday, the Fifth Day of December Eighteen Hundred and Thirty One [Richmond, 1831], 174).

Dungeness (dungeoness), the Randolph family estate in Goochland County where TJ’s parents married in 1739, was confiscated by the British in 1779 and passed to Thomas Randolph, who later deeded it to his nephew Thomas Eston Randolph (Vol. 1:408–10; Vol. 27:676n).

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