Thomas Jefferson Papers

Thomas Jefferson to James L. Jefferson, 19 August 1815

To James L. Jefferson

Monticello Aug. 19. 15.

Dear Lilburne

It was at the President’s in Orange that I recieved your brother’s letter requesting me to be at the next Buckingham court to give evidence on your father’s will. it came to hand the Sunday evening & the next day was that of the court. time and distance therefore rendered my attendance impossible. I set out for Bedford tomorrow morning and shall be there to the 1st of October. I do not know that my evidence can be of any importance; but if it be thought so, I could not attend without being subpoenaed; because the testimony of a person volunteering in a cause is not recieved with the same confidence as [wh]en he attends in obedience to a summons. if it be desired therefore a subpoena may be inclosed by mail1 directed to me ‘at Poplar forest near Ly[n]chburg,’ and if sent soon I shall recieve it in time. Accept the assurance of my friendship and best wishes.

Th: Jefferson

PoC (MoSHi: TJC-BC); on verso of reused address cover to TJ; ink stained; at foot of text: “Mr Lilburne Jefferson”; endorsed by TJ.

James Lilburne Jefferson (d. 1836), who was referred to as Lilburne among family members, was the fifth and youngest-known son of TJ’s brother Randolph Jefferson by his first wife, Anna Jefferson Lewis Jefferson. TJ took a special interest in his nephew, offering to design a course of reading for him in 1813. The younger Jefferson apparently never accepted his uncle’s repeated offers to live at Monticello, both before and after his father’s death. A resident of Columbia in Fluvanna County in 1820, ten years later Jefferson had settled in Lynchburg, where he remained until his death (Bernard Mayo, ed., Thomas Jefferson and His Unknown Brother [1942; repr. 1981], 1–9; Malone, Jefferson description begins Dumas Malone, Jefferson and his Time, 1948–81, 6 vols. description ends , 6:155–6; TJ to Randolph Jefferson, 25 May 1813; Randolph Jefferson to TJ, 21 June 1813; TJ to James L. Jefferson and James L. Jefferson to TJ, both 18 Feb. 1816; DNA: RG 29, CS, Fluvanna Co., 1820; Campbell Co., 1830; Lynchburg Virginian, 11 Oct. 1832; Lynchburg Hustings and Corporation Court Will Book, B:292, 295).

For the 12 Aug. letter to TJ from Thomas Jefferson (ca. 1783–1876), see note to Martha Jefferson Randolph to TJ, 13 Aug. 1815. TJ assisted James L. Jefferson and his brothers in an unsuccessful challenge to their father’s will, which heavily favored his second wife, Mitchie B. Pryor Jefferson (TJ’s Deposition regarding Randolph Jefferson’s Estate, 15 Sept. 1815; Mayo, Unknown Brother, 9).

1Preceding two words interlined.

Index Entries

  • Buckingham County Superior Court of Law, Va. search
  • Jefferson, Anna Jefferson Lewis (TJ’s sister-in-law; Randolph Jefferson’s first wife) search
  • Jefferson, James Lilburne (TJ’s nephew; Randolph Jefferson’s son); and will of R. Jefferson search
  • Jefferson, James Lilburne (TJ’s nephew; Randolph Jefferson’s son); identified search
  • Jefferson, James Lilburne (TJ’s nephew; Randolph Jefferson’s son); letter to search
  • Jefferson, Mitchie Ballow Pryor (TJ’s sister-in-law; Randolph Jefferson’s second wife); and will of R. Jefferson search
  • Jefferson, Randolph (TJ’s brother); first wife of search
  • Jefferson, Randolph (TJ’s brother); will of search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Business & Financial Affairs; and R. Jefferson’s will search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Opinions on; litigation search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Travels; to Montpellier (Madison family estate) search
  • Jefferson, Thomas (TJ’s nephew; Randolph Jefferson’s son); and will of R. Jefferson search
  • Madison, James (1751–1836); TJ visits search
  • Montpellier (Montpelier; J. Madison’s Orange Co. estate); TJ visits search
  • Poplar Forest (TJ’s Bedford Co. estate); TJ plans visit to search