Thomas Jefferson Papers

William F. Gordon to Thomas Jefferson, 22 July 1812

From William F. Gordon

July 22. ’12.

Dear Sir,

I fear it will not be in my power to attend to your business with Mr Michie sooner than Thursday in the next week. Orange Court commences on Monday next and is a quarterly term, where my presence is necessary to the interest of many—if it could be postponed untill thursday I should be pleased. However so sincere is my zeal to serve you that should any other day be fixed on I will make some arrangement with my Brother Lawyers at Orange as will enable me to attend sooner. In the mean time I will see You—Yrs most respectfully & Sincerely

Wm F Gordon

RC (MHi); dateline at foot of text; addressed: “Thomas Jefferson Esqr Monticello”; endorsed by TJ as received 22 July 1812 and so recorded in SJL.

William Fitzhugh Gordon (1787–1858), attorney and public official, was a native of Orange County who trained as a merchant in Fredericksburg before studying law. Admitted to the bar in 1808, he established a Charlottesville legal practice the following year. Gordon was appointed commonwealth’s attorney for Albemarle County in 1812 but soon returned to private practice. He served as a private in the Virginia militia during the War of 1812 and rose to brigadier general in 1829 and major general by 1840. In 1817 Gordon became a founding member of the Agricultural Society of Albemarle. He represented Albemarle County in the Virginia House of Delegates, 1818–21 and 1822–29, and there strongly supported TJ’s plan for a state university and the 1826 lottery for his financial aid. Gordon helped craft a compromise on the key question of apportionment as a delegate to the Virginia state constitutional convention of 1829–30. He sat briefly in the state senate before resigning to serve in the United States House of Representatives, 1830–35, where he promoted legislation to establish an independent treasury. A longtime states’ rights advocate, Gordon attended the Southern Convention at Nashville in 1850 (DAB description begins Allen Johnson and Dumas Malone, eds., Dictionary of American Biography, 1928–36, 20 vols. description ends ; Armistead C. Gordon, William Fitzhugh Gordon [1909]; Woods, Albemarle description begins Edgar Woods, Albemarle County in Virginia, 1901, repr. 1991 description ends , 212; True, “Agricultural Society,” description begins Rodney H. True, “Minute Book of the Agricultural Society of Albemarle,” Annual Report of the American Historical Association for the Year 1918 (1921), 1:261–349 description ends 263; 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 ; Gordon to TJ, 17 Feb. 1826).

On 31 July in the next week, TJ paid Gordon $20 for his legal work at an inquest the day before that restored to TJ possession of the Henderson lands that David Michie had claimed (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 , 2:1281; Warrant for Restitution of Land Seized by David Michie, 30 July 1812).

Index Entries

  • Gordon, William Fitzhugh; and land dispute with D. Michie search
  • Gordon, William Fitzhugh; identified search
  • Gordon, William Fitzhugh; letters from search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Business & Financial Affairs; dispute with D. Michie search
  • Michie, David; claim to part of Henderson lands search