Thomas Jefferson Papers

Thomas Williamson to Thomas Jefferson, 19 December 1812

From Thomas Williamson

Norfolk Decr 19th 1812

Dear Sir

The above certificate was obtained from Mr Hay for the purpose of deciding a Bet between Mr McIntosh and myself but not proving satisfactory to him, I must beg the favour of you to say whether you have not been in London—or whether you have ever1 seen the present King of Great Britain—If the above information could have been got here, I should not have taken the liberty (which I beg youll excuse) to address you. With great respect I am Your Obt Servt

Thom Williamson

RC (MoSHi: TJC-BC); dateline beneath signature; at foot of text: “Thos Jefferson esq.”; notes by TJ for his 25 Dec. 1812 reply adjacent to signature: “from 1786. Mar. 11. to Apr. 26.”; endorsed by TJ as received 22 Dec. 1812 and so recorded in SJL; subjoined to enclosure. Enclosure: Certification by George Hay, 17 Dec. 1812, “that from conversations which I have had with Thomas Jefferson, late President of the U: States, I have been, and am now, under an impression, and indeed a belief that he has been in London.—I think that Mr Jefferson, after the expiration of his mission to France, returned to the U.S. by the way of England” (MS in MoSHi: TJC-BC; in Hay’s hand and signed and dated by him; with RC of covering letter subjoined).

Thomas Williamson (1777–1846), a member of a Henrico County family, was appointed cashier of the Norfolk branch of the Bank of Virginia at its founding in 1805 and held the post until shortly before his death. His Princess Anne County estate was known as “The Ferry.” Starting in 1815 Williamson was a trustee and sometime secretary of the local Lancasterian academy, a school that relied on the educational theories of Joseph Lancaster, and in the 1840s he served as a trustee of the Norfolk Academy. An Episcopalian and amateur architect, in 1828 he helped design Norfolk’s Christ Episcopal Church. The following year Williamson served as the borough’s mayor (VMHB description begins Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, 1893–  description ends 6 [1898]: 76–7; Philadelphia United States Gazette, 4 Feb. 1805; Norfolk American Beacon and Commercial Diary, 2 Oct. 1815; Lower Norfolk County Virginia Antiquary 4 [1903]: 161; H. B. Bagnall and Robert M. Hughes, “Christ Church, Norfolk, Bell and Clock,” WMQ description begins William and Mary Quarterly, 1892–  description ends , 2d ser., 2 [1922]: 114; George Holbert Tucker, Norfolk Highlights 1584–1881 [1972], 81; Williamson to John N. Tazewell, 3 Jan. 1833, 17 Apr. 1835 [Vi: Tazewell Family Papers]; Richmond Whig and Public Advertiser, 25 Dec. 1846).

1Reworked from “even.”

Index Entries

  • Bank of Norfolk search
  • George III, king of Great Britain; and meeting with TJ search
  • Hay, George; and T. Williamson bet search
  • McIntosh, George; and bet with T. Williamson search
  • Williamson, Thomas; and bet about TJ search
  • Williamson, Thomas; identified search
  • Williamson, Thomas; letters from search