From James Walter
Philada. 3 mo 8th. 1802
Not having any personal acquaintance with thee, it is with extreme reluctance I thus address the Man whose eminent abilities has raised him to be head of the American Republic—
But having lately purchased a tract of Land in Randolph County Virginia on which as I am inform’d is an elegant scite for a town, which I propose laying out the ensuing summer—I so far request thy patronage as to be permitted to call it “Jefferson,” conscious at the same time that posterity will duly appreciate the merits of a Washington and a Jefferson without the feeble aid of Cities and towns to commemorate their illustrious names—
Being one of the descendants of Penn I am unused to the Courtly style of sycophants, and which (if I am not deceiv’d in thy Character) is more dissonant in thy ear than unadorned truth—Accept this as an apology—
With every sentiment of respect I am thy well wisher
If thee should condescend to favour me with an answer, please direct to No. 41 Almond St.
RC (MoSHi: Jefferson Papers); above postscript: “To Thomas Jefferson President of the U.S.”; endorsed by TJ as a letter of 3 Mch. received 12 Mch. and so recorded in SJL.
A James Walter, schoolmaster and teacher, lived on Second Street in Philadelphia. In 1801, James Browne, merchant, resided at 41 Almond Street (Stafford, Philadelphia Directory, for 1801, 157, 168; Robinson, Philadelphia Directory for 1803, 263).