Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Benjamin Galloway, 14 March 1801

From Benjamin Galloway

Hagerstown, Washington County, Maryland, 14 Mch. 1801. He recommends Colonel Nathaniel Rochester, a 20-year resident of Hagerstown, whose prudence, abilities, and public conduct “have secured to him, the good Opinion, of all Descriptions, of his Fellow Citizens, within the Sphere of his Movements.” For “substantial Reasons” Rochester did not enter public life, although he was encouraged to do so. At the last two congressional elections, “when Party Spirit agitated the public Mind,” he would have been elected “without Opposition; both Parties having declared that if he would consent to serve, they would unanimously support his Election.” Rochester, who has a large young family and is advanced in age, visited “the Genesee” the previous summer and intends to move there. Galloway believes that Rochester would not move from Maryland if he received an appointment that would justify his staying. No person in the district “possesses the Confidence of all Descriptions of Persons, on so large a Scale, as he does.” He exhibits unquestionable integrity “combined with great Industry, Suavity of Manners, and Fortitude of Mind.” Rochester possesses the unrivaled confidence of his fellow Republican citizens “who have paid you in Advance.” They would be pleased if he were nominated for a government office. Galloway reiterates that he is not related to Rochester “by any Tie, save only, as a most worthy Man, and a good Republican.

RC (DNA: RG 59, LAR); 3 p.; inadvertently endorsed by TJ as a letter of 21 Mch. received the same day, but recorded in SJL as a letter of 14 Mch. received the 21st. Enclosed in Galloway to James Madison, 14 Mch. 1801, with the request that it be delivered to “Mr. Jefferson” (RC in same).


Born in Virginia in 1752, Nathaniel Rochester grew up in North Carolina. About 1783, in conjunction with a business partner, he moved to Hagerstown, Maryland, rented a gristmill, and began the manufacture of nails and rope. According to his autobiography, Rochester served one term in the Maryland legislature but refused to serve again because he disliked “the intrigue and management among the members.” In 1800 Rochester visited the Genesee country in western New York and purchased water-power sites near Dansville. He settled there in 1810 and established three mills and a wool-carding shop. In 1818 he moved to the Upper Falls of the Genesee River, where the city of Rochester developed (DAB description begins Allen Johnson and Dumas Malone, eds., Dictionary of American Biography, New York, 1928–36, 20 vols. description ends ; James Grant Wilson and John Fiske, eds., Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 6 vols. [New York, 1887–89], 5:293–4).

Index Entries