Thomas Jefferson Papers

Thomas Jefferson to James P. Cocke, 23 April 1812

To James P. Cocke

Monticello Apr. 23. 12

Dear Sir

I have just finished a fish pond and wish to get some of the Roanoke chub to stock it. I am told you now possess the pond that was your relation & neighbor mr Cocke’s. could you spare me a few to begin with? if you can, I will send tomorrow a light cart with a cask for water, so that the cart may start the next morning and keep the fish out as short a time as possible. I propose so short a term, because I presume you have the means of commanding the fish at any time, and I am to set out for Bedford on Monday or Tuesday. Accept the assurance of my great esteem and respect.

Th: Jefferson

PoC (DLC); at foot of text: “James Cocke esq.”; endorsed by TJ.

James Powell Cocke (1748–1829) grew up at Malvern Hills, his family home in Henrico County, which he inherited from his father. Cocke sold the property shortly after the American Revolution, and by 1791 he had moved to Springhill in Augusta County. Two years later he purchased land in Albemarle County near the Hardware River and there constructed a house and a gristmill. TJ is said to have planned Cocke’s residence, Edgemont, basing it on a design by Andrea Palladio (James P. C. Southall, “Malvern Hills, Henrico County, and Edgemont, Albemarle County,” VMHB description begins Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, 1893– description ends 43 [1935]: 74–91; Lay, Architecture description begins K. Edward Lay, The Architecture of Jefferson Country: Charlottesville and Albemarle County, Virginia, 2000 description ends ; 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. 1:276–7; TJ to Cocke, 10 Sept. 1806 [MHi]; Albemarle Co. Will Book, 9:355–6).

roanoke chub is a regional name for a fish of the genus Micropterus, commonly known as Black Bass. TJ was most likely referring to Smallmouth Bass (Micropterus dolomieu) (James A. Henshall, Book of the Black Bass [1900], 142).

Index Entries

  • chub, Roanoke search
  • Cocke, James Powell; and Roanoke chub search
  • Cocke, James Powell; identified search
  • Cocke, James Powell; letters to search
  • Cocke, Mr.; and Roanoke chub search
  • Edgemont (J. P. Cocke’s Albemarle Co. estate); house at designed by TJ search
  • fish; Roanoke chub search
  • Monticello (TJ’s estate); fish for search
  • Poplar Forest (TJ’s Bedford Co. estate); TJ visits search