Thomas Jefferson Papers

Notice of Removal of Executive Office from Williamsburg to Richmond, [25 March 1780]

Notice of Removal of Executive Office from Williamsburg to Richmond

[25 March 1780]

Notice is hereby given, that the business of government, in the executive department, will cease to be transacted at Williamsburg from the 7th of April next, and will commence at Richmond on the 24th of the same month. The Governour will be in Richmond during the interval, to do such business as may be done by him, without the concurrence of the publick boards.

Arch: Blair, C.C.

Printed from Virginia Gazette (Dixon & Nicolson), 25 Mch. 1780.

The following note summarizes information available on TJ’s removal as governor from Williamsburg to Richmond. His last communication “In Council” in Williamsburg is dated 7 Apr. 1780; on 4 Apr. he had written to Mazzei: “The seat of government is removed from this place to Richmond. I take my final departure hence within four or five days.” The following entries in his Account Book for 1780 tell something of his movements: “[Mar.] 28. pd. ferrge. at Cowles 48/‥‥ Mar. 29. pd. ferrge. at Richmond £3–12‥‥ [Mar.] 30. gave servt at Ampthill 30/ gave workmen at Foundery £10–10‥‥ Apr. 2. pd. ferrge. at Cowle’s 48/‥‥ [Apr.] 3. pd. household expences by Mrs. Jefferson in my absence £30–12‥‥ [Apr.] 9. pd. ferrge. at Cowle’s £10–4‥‥ [Apr.] 14. pd. household expences at Richmd. £20–8.” Cowle’s [Cole’s] ferry, on the Chickahominy River, was on the route between Williamsburg and Richmond (Christopher Colles, Survey of the Roads of the U.S., N.Y., 1789, pl. 78). The difference in the amounts TJ paid in ferriage on 2 Apr. (48s.) and on 9 Apr. (£10–4) suggests that on the second trip he was accompanied by the members of his household or that the amount included ferriage for baggage. Among TJ’s papers (DLC: TJ Papers, 7: 1196, 1198) there are duplicate, undated inventories of household goods that were doubtless made at this time or a little earlier. Both are in unidentified hands. The first has the caption “List of Packadges sent from the Palace”; and the second “Invoice of Goods sent from the palace.” The lists enumerate forty-nine boxes of furniture, books, pictures, lamps, and other household equipment. Though not identical in form, the lists include the same items. The recollections of Isaac Jefferson (one of TJ’s household slaves), as dictated to Charles Campbell (MS in ViU), contain the following account of the Governor’s removal: “It was cold weather when they moved up. Mr. Jefferson lived in a wooden house near where the Palace (Governor’s house) stands now. Richmond was a small place then: not more than two brick houses in the town‥‥ It was a wooden house shedded round like a barn on the hill, where the Assemblymen used to meet, near where the Capitol stands now. Old Mr. Wiley had a saddler-shop in the same house.” For TJ’s residence in Richmond, rented from his uncle, Thomas Turpin, see Turpin to TJ, 22 Dec. 1780, with reply, and references there. His first communication “in Council at Richmond” is dated 11 May (Agreement with DeFrancy).

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