Thomas Jefferson Papers

Thomas Jefferson to Hugh Chisholm, 18 June 1811

To Hugh Chisholm

Monticello. Tuesday June 18. 11.


We yesterday got up the wooden frame of our Pier-head compleat, and this morning mr Salmonds begins the stone-work. he will get to the spring of the arch this evening, or tomorrow morning before you can reach this from mr Madison’s. I must pray you therefore to be with us tomorrow forenoon, the earlier the better. on arriving at the Pier head you will find your attendants on the spot, the same who attend Salmonds, as he must stop his work till you have turned the arch for him to proceed on. the mortar is there, ready made, the bricks & sand on the spot, and I shall probably be there myself. I must beseech you therefore not to fail us an hour, as besides Salmonds’ work being stopped, I wait only for this job to be done to set out for Bedford, from whence I must be back to the beginning of our harvest. Accept my best wishes.

Th: Jefferson

PoC (ViU: TJP); at foot of text: “Mr Hugh Chisolm”; endorsed by TJ.

TJ kept a brief memorandum indicating that Chisholm “began to work with his negro boy 1811. May 7. or 8. plaistering the cisterns,” that he finished 24 May, and that from “June 19. to 23.” he “worked on the pier head” (MS in MHi, entirely in TJ’s hand; on a small scrap; undated). In his Farm Book TJ noted completion of his mill’s new pierhead this month, and that “it’s floor is 9 f below the spring of the brick arch, and 10 f 2 I. below the crown of the arch” (Betts, Farm Book description begins Edwin M. Betts, ed., Thomas Jefferson’s Farm Book, 1953 (in two separately paginated sections; unless otherwise specified, references are to the second section) description ends , pt. 1, 106). At this time Chisholm was also helping to renovate James Madison’s Montpellier (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 , Pres. Ser., 3:318–9).

Index Entries

  • Chisholm, Hugh; builds brick cisterns search
  • Chisholm, Hugh; letters to search
  • Chisholm, Hugh; works on TJ’s mill search
  • cisterns search
  • Madison, James; mentioned search
  • Monticello (TJ’s estate); cisterns at search
  • Montpellier (Montpelier; J. Madison’s Orange Co. estate); work at search
  • Sammons, James; stonemason search