Thomas Jefferson Papers

Thomas Jefferson to Joseph Slaughter, 17 May 1812

To Joseph Slaughter

Poplar Forest May. 17. 12.

Dear Sir

On my departure from Albemarle mr Bankhead charged me with two commissions towards yourself. the one was to ask for Colo Watts’s bond, given I believe for the corn he bought. the other to request the favor of you to send him a statement of the account between him & you. the bearer comes for this purpose, and as the late and present rains are likely to keep me here two or three days more, you can answer mr Bankhead’s request at your leisure. accept the assurance of my esteem & respect.

Th: Jefferson

PoC (ViU: TJP); at foot of text: “Capt Slaughter”; notation by TJ at head of text: “copd by mistake on the back of letter to S. J. Harrison”; on verso of PoC of TJ to Samuel J. Harrison, 19 May 1812.

Joseph Slaughter (d. 1846), plantation owner and local official, came from a prominent Culpeper County family that moved to Bedford County in the 1770s. In 1803 he became a lieutenant in the militia. Three years later he rose to the rank of captain and became a justice of the peace. TJ obtained occasional help from Slaughter in surveying and in managing Poplar Forest. During 1832–34 he was county sheriff. At his death Slaughter owned more than twenty slaves (Ackerly and Parker, Our Kin description begins Mary Denham Ackerly and Lula Eastman Jeter Parker, “Our Kin”: The Genealogies of Some of the Early Families who Made History in the Founding and Development of Bedford County, Virginia [1930] description ends , 259–61; Bedford Co. Order Book, 13:18, 377–8, 16:147, 22:226, 23:56, 446, 24:297, 29:118; TJ to Slaughter, 8 Sept. 1813; Charles Clay to TJ, 23 May 1815; Bedford Co. Will Book, 12:155–6, 179–81, 214–9).

In his Weather Memorandum Book, Nov. 1802–Dec. 1816 (MHi; image of this page reproduced elsewhere in this volume), TJ specified the extent of the rains of May 1812 at Monticello: “between the 7th & 22d there fell 9.6 I. and something more, the bottle having been overflowed during the last rain in fact the whole fell in the course of 10. days.”

Index Entries

  • Bankhead, Charles Lewis (Ann Cary Randolph Bankhead’s husband); tobacco crop of search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Writings; Weather Memorandum Book search
  • meteorological observations; by TJ search
  • Monticello (TJ’s estate); weather recorded at search
  • Slaughter, Joseph; and C. L. Bankhead search
  • Slaughter, Joseph; identified search
  • Slaughter, Joseph; letters to search
  • Watts, John; and settlement of TJ’s accounts search
  • weather; rain search
  • Weather Memorandum Book (Thomas Jefferson) search