Thomas Jefferson Papers
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Thomas Jefferson to William Steptoe, 13 September 1815

To William Steptoe

Wednesday Sep. 13. 15.

Th: Jefferson to Doctr Steptoe.

Mr Correa and mr Gilmer are here, and can stay three days only. these they wish to pass in Botanising the circumjacent country, & would be thankful for your advice and much more for your company. will you do us the favor to come and breakfast with us tomorrow; as they will set out on their peregrinations after an early breakfast.

on Sunday we all depart for the peaks of Otter & Natural bridge I salute you with friendship & respect.

RC (ViLJML); dateline at foot of text; with unrelated text in an unidentified hand on verso. Not recorded in SJL.

A 3 Aug. 1815 letter to TJ from Francis W. Gilmer, not found, is recorded in SJL as received the same day from Ridgway, Peter Minor’s Albemarle County estate.

Gilmer later wrote a paper “On the Geological Formation of the Natural Bridge of Virginia,” read at the American Philosophical Society on 16 Feb. 1816 and published in its Transactions, new ser., 1 (1818): 187–92. Based on the observations he made on this visit with TJ and José Corrêa da Serra, in the article Gilmer noted TJ’s opinion that, although the Natural Bridge had “lost some of its embellishments in 50 years of invasion upon the trees which crowned its borders, and overhung its sides,” it still retained enough beauty to validate the fulsome description of it in his Notes on the State of Virginia. Gilmer also gave the latitude of 37°–42′–44″ that TJ arrived at in his Calculations of Latitudes of the Sharp Peak of Otter and Natural Bridge, 18 Sept.–10 Nov. 1815.

Index Entries

  • American Philosophical Society; Transactions search
  • botany; study of search
  • Corrêa da Serra, José; friendship with F. W. Gilmer search
  • Corrêa da Serra, José; travels with TJ search
  • Gilmer, Francis Walker; friendship with J. Corrêa da Serra search
  • Gilmer, Francis Walker; letter from accounted for search
  • Gilmer, Francis Walker; On the Geological Formation of the Natural Bridge of Virginia search
  • Gilmer, Francis Walker; travels with TJ search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Opinions on; Natural Bridge search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Travels; to Natural Bridge search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Writings; Notes on the State of Virginia search
  • latitude; calculations for Natural Bridge search
  • Natural Bridge, Va.; calculations of latitude search
  • Natural Bridge, Va.; TJ visits search
  • Natural Bridge, Va.; visitors to search
  • Notes on the State of Virginia (Thomas Jefferson); description of Natural Bridge in search
  • On the Geological Formation of the Natural Bridge of Virginia (F. W. Gilmer) search
  • Steptoe, William; letters to search
  • Steptoe, William; TJ invites to dine search