Thomas Jefferson Papers

Thomas Jefferson to Randolph Jefferson, 20 June 1813

To Randolph Jefferson

Monticello June 20. 13.

Dear brother

The unexpected difficulties of bringing water to my saw mill & threshing machine, & the necessity of doing it before harvest, have obliged me to put off my visit to Bedford till after harvest. the spinning Jenny for Bedford is now ready but will not be sent until I go. while it is here it offers a good opportunity for your spinner to learn upon it. after it is gone there will be no idle machine for a learner to practise on. I send the bearer therefore to inform you of this, that you may not lose the opportunity of getting the person taught whom you intend to employ in that way. I should think she had better come immediately, as it will require a month or more to become perfect in roving and spinning. by the time she is taught, the machine will go off to Bedford, & the cart which carries it will return by Snowden & leave the 12. spindle machine there, on which she may go to work immediately. this will be early in August. I do not know whether I can call on you as I go. I will if I can, but certainly will as I return. is your road cleared out?

My sister desired that when I should send her seeds of any kind I would give her directions how to plant & cultivate them. knowing that there was an excellent gardening book published at Washington, I wrote for one for her, which I now inclose. she will there see what is to be done with every kind of plant every month in the year. I have written an index at the end that she may find any particular article more readily: and not to embarras her with such an immense number of articles which are not wanting in common gardens, I have added a paper with a list of those I tend in my garden, & the times when I plant them. the season being over for planting every thing but the Gerkin, I send her a few seeds of them. she will not find the term Gerkin in the book. it is that by which we distinguish the very small pickling cucumber. affectionate salutations to you both. 

Th: Jefferson

PoC (ViU: TJP-CC); endorsed by TJ. Enclosure: John Gardiner and David Hepburn, The American Gardener, containing ample directions for working a Kitchen Garden, Every Month in the Year (Washington, 1804; Sowerby, description begins E. Millicent Sowerby, comp., Catalogue of the Library of Thomas Jefferson, 1952–59, 5 vols. description ends no. 809; Poor, Jefferson’s Library description begins Nathaniel P. Poor, Catalogue. President Jefferson’s Library, 1829 description ends , 6 [no. 274]). Other enclosures not found.

The bearer was James Gillette. my sister: Mitchie B. Pryor Jefferson, Randolph Jefferson’s wife.

Index Entries

  • books; on gardening search
  • cucumbers search
  • food; cucumbers search
  • gardening; books on search
  • Gardiner, John; The American Gardener search
  • Gillette, James (TJ’s slave; b.1796); carries letter search
  • Hepburn, David; The American Gardener search
  • Jefferson, Mitchie Ballow Pryor (TJ’s sister-in-law; Randolph Jefferson’s second wife); TJ sends book to search
  • Jefferson, Mitchie Ballow Pryor (TJ’s sister-in-law; Randolph Jefferson’s second wife); TJ sends seeds to search
  • Jefferson, Randolph (TJ’s brother); letters to search
  • Jefferson, Randolph (TJ’s brother); slaves of search
  • Jefferson, Randolph (TJ’s brother); spinning jenny for search
  • machines; spinning jenny search
  • Monticello (TJ’s estate); sawmill at search
  • Poplar Forest (TJ’s Bedford Co. estate); TJ plans visit to search
  • sawmill; at Monticello search
  • seeds; cucumber search
  • slaves; trained to spin search
  • Snowden (R. Jefferson’s Buckingham Co. estate); TJ plans visit to search
  • spinning jennies search
  • The American Gardener (J. Gardiner and D. Hepburn) search