Thomas Jefferson Papers

Cyrus B. Clay to Thomas Jefferson, [received 16 May 1812]

From Cyrus B. Clay

[received 16 May 1812]

Dr Sir

Father being out on business, I am to inform you that it is no charity in giving the asparagus which is runing to waste, by your bounty we have plenty of millet some of which your boy will bring; accept assurances of the highest respect and esteem of your humble Servt

Cyrus B. Clay

RC (MHi); undated; endorsed by TJ as received 16 May and recorded in SJL under that date in 1812.

Cyrus B. Clay (1797–1820), the eldest son of TJ’s longtime friend and neighbor, Charles Clay, was a native of Bedford County who grew up at Petty Grove plantation. When TJ was in residence at Poplar Forest, he saw the Clay family frequently. At times Clay carried materials from his father to TJ, who took an active interest in the young man. In 1811 TJ made calculations and instructions for a horizontal sundial for Clay to build, and two years later he gave him a Latin edition of Tacitus and advised him on the best English translation to use with it. After his father’s death in February 1820, Clay became the guardian of two of his own brothers. At the time of his death at the home of a physician in Lynchburg, Clay left a Bedford County estate that included seven slaves, bonds valued at over $10,000, and other personal property, including the four-volume set of Tacitus that TJ had given him (Clay family Bible record, 1745–1873 [Vi]; TJ to Charles Clay, 23 Aug. 1811, 1 May 1813; Charles Clay to TJ, 1 May 1813, 29 June 1816; Bedford Co. Order Book, 17:752; Bedford Co. Will Book, 5:230–1; Lynchburg Press and Public Advertiser, 12 Sept. 1820; gravestone inscription in Ivy Hill cemetery, Bedford Co.).

Index Entries

  • asparagus search
  • Clay, Charles; and asparagus search
  • Clay, Charles; family of search
  • Clay, Cyrus B.; and TJ’s sundial calculations search
  • Clay, Cyrus B.; identified search
  • Clay, Cyrus B.; letters from search
  • Clay, Cyrus B.; sends millet to TJ search
  • crops; millet search
  • food; asparagus search
  • food; millet search
  • millet search