Thomas Jefferson Papers

John Strode to Thomas Jefferson, 12 May 1810

From John Strode

Culpeper 12 May ’10

Worthy Sir

The bearer of this Mr James McKinney has been informed that you are in want of a person well qualified to take charge of your Mills as a Miller and has askd of me to give Him Such character or commendation wh I may Consider He deserves—in consequence I beg leave to Assure that during the time He has been in my employment,1 nearly a year that is thro’ one Crop He has conducted Himself very well, Supporting on all Occasions a fair unblemishd Character, Sensible Sober honest and industrious, and as a proficient at the Avocation of a Miller I believe He is equal to Any ever I had in my employment.

with all due Regard I am Sir yr Very humble Servant

John Strode

RC (MHi); addressed: “Thomas Jefferson esquire Moticello Mr McKinney”; endorsed by TJ as received 13 May 1810 and so recorded in SJL.

John Strode was a mill owner in Culpeper County with whom TJ and James Madison often boarded when traveling between their Virginia homes and Washington or Philadelphia. During the American Revolution he managed James Hunter’s ironworks near Fredericksburg, producing munitions and other goods. Strode shared TJ’s interest in improving plows, and in 1805 TJ sent him one of his moldboards. From 1810–12 Strode represented Culpeper County in the Virginia House of Delegates, but TJ described him as penniless when recommending him for a state or federal position in 1813 (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 , 29:432; Kathleen Bruce, Virginia Iron Manufacture in the Slave Era [1931], 69–73, 131; Madison, Papers description begins William T. Hutchinson, Robert A. Rutland, John C. A. Stagg, and others, eds., The Papers of James Madison, 1962– , 29 vols.: Congress. Ser., 17 vols.; Pres. Ser., 5 vols.; Sec. of State Ser., 7 vols description ends , Congress. Ser., 12:246–8; 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 , esp. 2:1229; TJ to Strode, 11 Mar., and Strode to TJ, 25 Mar. 1805 [DLC]; Leonard, General Assembly description begins Cynthia Miller Leonard, comp., The General Assembly of Virginia, July 30, 1619–January 11, 1978: A Bicentennial Register of Members, 1978 description ends , 260, 265; Strode to TJ, 25 June, 17 July 1813; TJ to Strode and TJ to Madison, both 13 July 1813).

1Manuscript: “empoyment.”

Index Entries

  • Jefferson, Thomas; Correspondence; letters of application and recommendation to search
  • McKinney, James; recommended to TJ search
  • patronage; letters of application and recommendation to TJ search
  • Shadwell mills; McKinney recommended for search
  • Strode, John; identified search
  • Strode, John; letters from search
  • Strode, John; recommends J. McKinney search