Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Joshua Fry, 9 October 1803

From Joshua Fry

Danville 9h. Octbr. 1803

Dear Sir

Mr. Benjamin Shackleford has been my neighbour for the last twelve or fifteen months, during which period his sobriety & general exemplary deportment have procured him my esteem & regard. I consider him as a young man of decent aquirements (bred to the law) respectable understanding & sound political sentiments. I presume to recommend or sollicit public appointments for no one, with a few to which I immagine this gentleman is forwarding testemonials of his character to the Executive, but what I have said in his favr. I consider as an act of justice which I could not properly withhold, but which had I been acquainted with the secretary of state should have been addressed to him—Having trespassed thus far on your time permit me to add my sincere felicetations on the complete success of your late well timed & judicious negotiations, & as a citizen of the western country my cordial thanks for your particular attention to our interest—You have long merited & uniformly possessed for your private happiness & welfare the best wishes of your friend & respectful Srvt.

Joshua Fry

RC (DNA: RG 59, LAR); endorsed by TJ “Shackleford Benj. office in Louisiana” and so recorded in SJL at 27 Oct.

Like Fry, Benjamin Shackelford (shackleford) was a native of Virginia. He moved to Kentucky in 1802 and practiced law. He did not receive an appointment from TJ, but went on to enjoy a lengthy career as a state jurist (William Henry Perrin, ed., Counties of Christian and Trigg, Kentucky. Historical and Biographical [Chicago and Louisville, 1884], pt. 1:87-9).

citizen of the western country: after emigrating from Virginia to Kentucky, Fry established a prestigious private academy and became a well-regarded classics instructor. He joined the faculty of Centre College in Danville in 1823, specializing in Latin grammar (Philip Slaughter, Memoir of Col. Joshua Fry [Richmond, 1880], 42; Woods, Albemarle description begins Edgar Woods, Albemarle County in Virginia, Charlottesville, 1901 description ends , 197-8; James J. Holmberg, ed., Dear Brother: Letters of William Clark to Jonathan Clark [New Haven, 2002], 176-7; Frankfort Argus, 1 Oct. 1823; Vol. 28:302n).

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