Thomas Jefferson Papers

Thomas Jefferson to Martha Jefferson Randolph, 6 June 1814

To Martha Jefferson Randolph

Poplar Forest June 6. 14.

My dear Martha

I have for some time been sensible I should be detained here longer than1 I had expected, but could not till now judge how long. Chisolm will finish his work in about 10. days, and it is very essential that I should see the walls covered with their plates, that they may be in a state of preservation. this will keep me 3. or 4. days longer, so that I expect to be here still about a fortnight longer. there have not been more than 2. or 3. days without rain since I came here, and the last night the most tremendous storm of rain, wind & lightening I have ever witnessed. for about an hour the heavens were in an unceasing blaze of light, during which you might at any moment have seen to thread a needle. they had been deluged with rain before I came; and the continuance of it threatens injury to our wheat, which is indifferent at best. I have not seen a pea since I left Albemarle, and have no vegetable but spinach and scrubby lettuce. Francis and Wayles Baker are with me. my journey was performed without an accident. the horses & postilions performed well. James will be an excellent driver, and Israel will do better with more strength and practice. you will always be perfectly safe with their driving. if Wormly & Ned should get through the ha! ha! and cleaning all the grounds within the upper roundabout, they should next widen the Carlton road, digging it level and extending it upwards from the corner of the graveyard up, as the path runs into the upper Roundabout, so as to make the approach to the house from that quarter on the North side instead of the South. present me affectionately to all the family, and be assured of my warmest love

Th: Jefferson

RC (NNPM); at foot of text: “Mrs M. Randolph”; endorsed by Martha Jefferson Randolph. PoC (MHi); endorsed by TJ.

A ha-ha (ha! ha!) is a sunken fence in a garden or park that does not interfere with the view from within and is invisible until closely approached (OED description begins James A. H. Murray, J. A. Simpson, E. S. C. Weiner, and others, eds., The Oxford English Dictionary, 2d ed., 1989, 20 vols. description ends ). In September 1812 TJ recorded construction of the carlton “path on the high mountain, thro’ the woods & exceedingly steep. Wormley & Ned did about 50. yds a day, 4 f. wide. which is 25. yds apiece” (Betts, Farm Book, description begins Edwin M. Betts, ed., Thomas Jefferson’s Farm Book, 1953 (in two separately paginated sections; unless otherwise specified, references are to the second section) description ends 1st section, 70). Carlton was the farm adjoining Monticello where TJ’s granddaughter Ann C. Bankhead and her husband Charles L. Bankhead lived (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 , 2:1269–70n).

1Manuscript: “that.”

Index Entries

  • Baker, John Wayles (TJ’s grandnephew); at Poplar Forest search
  • Bankhead, Ann (Anne) Cary Randolph (TJ’s granddaughter; Charles Lewis Bankhead’s wife); Carlton estate of search
  • Bankhead, Charles Lewis (Ann Cary Randolph Bankhead’s husband); Carlton estate of search
  • Carlton (Bankhead estate); road to search
  • Chisholm, Hugh; plastering at Poplar Forest search
  • Eppes, Francis Wayles (TJ’s grandson); and Poplar Forest search
  • Gillette, Ned (TJ’s slave; b.1786); and earthworks at Monticello search
  • Hughes, Wormley (TJ’s slave; b.1781); and earthworks at Monticello search
  • James (TJ’s slave) search
  • Jefferson, Israel Gillette (TJ’s slave; b.1800) search
  • Montalto (part of TJ’s Monticello estate) search
  • Monticello (TJ’s estate); earthworks at search
  • Monticello (TJ’s estate); roads at search
  • Poplar Forest (TJ’s Bedford Co. estate); and F. Eppes search
  • Poplar Forest (TJ’s Bedford Co. estate); builders at search
  • Poplar Forest (TJ’s Bedford Co. estate); garden at search
  • Poplar Forest (TJ’s Bedford Co. estate); weather at search
  • Poplar Forest (TJ’s Bedford Co. estate); wheat grown at search
  • Randolph, Martha Jefferson (Patsy; TJ’s daughter; Thomas Mann Randolph’s wife); letters to search
  • weather; effect on crops search
  • wheat; at Poplar Forest search
  • wheat; effect of weather on search
  • women; letters to; M. J. Randolph search