Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to James Steptoe, 16 August 1794

To James Steptoe

Monticello Aug. 16. 1794.

Dear Sir

I received your favor by Mr. Clarke and thank you for your care of the great bone. If you will be so good as to deliver it to him, he will send it to me by some suitable opportunity. I shall certainly be in Bedford this fall. When last there (now 13. years ago) I was fully determined to have visited it once or twice a year. No body could then have imagined the series of circumstances which have so long prevented my doing it. This is the first year I have ever had it in my power, and shall not fail in the pleasure of seeing you there. I am with great esteem Dr. Sir Your most obedt. servt

Th: Jefferson

PrC (DLC); at foot of text: “Mr. Steptoe.”

Years earlier TJ had designated James Steptoe (1750–1826) as an intermediary to handle natural history specimens that might be sent to TJ from the frontier. Steptoe, who in 1771–72 acted as TJ’s “agent at the Secretary’s office,” served as clerk of the Bedford County Court from 1772 until his death. The two exchanged hospitality for many years during TJ’s visits to Poplar Forest (Johnston, Memorials, description begins Frederick Johnston, comp., Memorials of Old Virginia Clerks, Lynchburg, 1888 description ends 68–79; TJ To ——, 30 June 1771; TJ to Inglis and Long, 4 July [1772]; TJ to George Rogers Clark, 26 Nov. 1782).

Steptoe’s favor to TJ of 8 Aug. 1794, now missing, was recorded in SJL as received 13 Aug. 1794.

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