Thomas Jefferson Papers

Arabella Graham to Thomas Jefferson, 20 February 1814

From Arabella Graham

Pittsburgh Feb 20th 1814.

Dear Sir

My husband James Graham haveing written to his Excellency J Madison some time cince requesting an apointmint in the Army and not haveing received a reply to that letter I have taking the liberty of Submitting the same request to your concideration trusting that You will use your influence with Mr Madison for the purpose of procureing my husband some imployment at which he would have an opportunity of exerting his tallents for the good of the Country as well as for the suport of his familly

Should You think proper to do any thing for J Graham in that way he would go on to the City with any recommendation that You may advise

From the generosity of your heart which I have alwayes understood was feellingly alive to the distresses of your fellow Creatures I flatter myself that You will Pardon the liberty which I am about to take that of Requesting the loan of 4 hundred Dolls for the purpose of Eastablishing a Morroco hat Store which would inable me to suport my 3 sisters who are all very Young and have no Father friend or protecter in this world but Mr Graham and myself and we hav nothing but what we maede by teaching which would scarcely afford us a subsistance

In this distressing Cituation I aply to you for that council and assistance which I have no means of obtaining but through your means should you favor me with that sum my husband will give you a Bond for the payment of it at1 the end of 4 years Dear Sir for the love of Heaven grant me the means of suporting those destitute orphans who are left under my care by a dying parent trusting that you will Pardon this liberty, I Remain Dear Sir Your Respectfully

Arabella Graham

RC (DLC); between dateline and salutation: “to his Excellency Thomas Jefferson”; endorsed by TJ as received 18 Mar. 1814 and so recorded in SJL.

Arabella Graham and her husband James Graham were teaching in Pittsburgh by April 1812, when they opened adjoining schools on Second Street. He provided “an English and classical education,” while she taught “young ladies … all things requisite to an English education, and a complete knowledge of needle-work” (Sarah H. Killikelly, The History of Pittsburgh: Its Rise and Progress [1906], 273–4).

1Manuscript: “a.”

Index Entries

  • Graham, Arabella; identified search
  • Graham, Arabella; letters from search
  • Graham, Arabella; seeks loan from TJ search
  • Graham, Arabella; seeks military appointment for husband search
  • Graham, James; identified search
  • Graham, James; seeks military appointment search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Correspondence; letters of application and recommendation to search
  • Madison, James; applications to search
  • patronage; letters of application and recommendation to TJ search
  • women; letters from; A. Graham search