To James Steptoe
Poplar Forest. Nov. 17. 1809
Th: Jefferson will thank mr Steptoe to search his records for an entry of Richard Stith, formerly Surveyor of Bedford, for 98. acres of land on Ivy creek or it’s waters. the entry was made before 1773. an authentic copy is requested. he salutes mr Steptoe with esteem & respect.
SC (MHi); dateline at foot of text; endorsed by TJ.
James Steptoe (1750–1826) acted as TJ’s agent in Williamsburg from at least 1770 until 1772, while serving as an apprentice to Benjamin Waller, the clerk of the General Court. Steptoe was appointed clerk of Bedford County early in the latter year and held the office until his death. Starting about 1782, he forwarded natural history specimens to TJ as they arrived from the frontier. During his retirement TJ often visited Federal Hill, Steptoe’s home about three miles from Poplar Forest (Frederick Johnston, Memorials of Old Virginia Clerks , 67–79; PTJ description begins Julian P. Boyd, Charles T. Cullen, John Catanzariti, Barbara B. Oberg, and others, eds., The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, 1950– , 31 vols. description ends , 1:73, 28:113–4; MB description begins James A. Bear Jr. and Lucia C. Stanton, eds., Jefferson’s Memorandum Books: Accounts, with Legal Records and Miscellany, 1767–1826, 1997, The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, Second Series description ends , 1:30; Chambers, Poplar Forest description begins S. Allen Chambers, Poplar Forest & Thomas Jefferson, 1993 description ends , 58–9; Richmond Enquirer, 25 Feb. 1826).