To Thaddeus Norris
Sep. 17. 15.
Two persons of the name of Millar have offered themselves to me as overseers at farms which I have in Bedford, where we cultivate both wheat and tobacco. they say they are from the neighborhood of Fauquier C. H. & have been brought up there. but they are provided with no recommendations. their appearance bespeaks labor and industry, and their conversation intelligence. I have agreed with them, with a reserve of being off if on enquiry I find their characters amiss. they tell me they are known to you; and this makes me take the liberty of this letter to request of you such information about them as you possess yourself or can get without inconvenience, which, will come to me in time if sent by mail, addressed to me at Monticello near Milton. the inconvenience of employing men whose characters may be bad for ought I know will I hope apologise for the trouble I propose to you, with an assurance of my great esteem and respect.
PoC (MHi); most line endings faint and enhanced by TJ; at foot of text: “Mr Norris”; endorsed by TJ on verso as a letter written to Thaddeus Norris from Poplar Forest, with canceled partial endorsement by TJ at head of recto.
Thaddeus Norris (d. 1823) operated a tavern in Fauquier Court House (later Warrenton) at which TJ occasionally stopped while traveling between Washington and Monticello during his presidency. By 1819 he had been declared insane, though Norris himself denied the categorization and was apparently of sound mind while writing his will in 1823. He left a personal estate valued at $3,826.50, including eight slaves (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 , 2:1148, 1201, 1203; James Edmonds Saunders and Elizabeth Saunders Blair Stubbs, Early Settlers of Alabama , 364; Warrenton Palladium of Liberty, 26 Nov. 1819, 3 Nov. 1820; petitions of heirs of Septimus Norris, [presented 21 Dec. 1819], and of citizens of Warrenton, [presented 12 Dec. 1821] [Vi: RG 78, Legislative Petitions, Fauquier Co.]; JHD description begins Journal of the House of Delegates of the Commonwealth of Virginia description ends [1821–22 sess.], 113 [9 Jan. 1822]; Fauquier Co. Will Book, 8:462–3, 9:21; Nancy Chappelear Baird, Fauquier County, Virginia, Tombstone Inscriptions , 183; Washington Daily National Intelligencer, 10 July 1827).
From 1816 to 1821 TJ employed Robert Miller (millar) as overseer at his Bear Creek plantation in bedford County, and he engaged William J. Miller at Tomahawk in 1816 and 1817. They each received £50 a year (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 , esp. 2:1332).
A missing and presumably misdated letter from Norris of 2 Sept. 1815 is recorded in SJL as received 15 Dec. 1815 from Fauquier Court House.
- Bear Creek plantation (part of TJ’s Poplar Forest estate); overseer at search
- Jefferson, Thomas; Travels; from Washington search
- Miller, Robert (overseer); at Bear Creek plantation search
- Miller, William J. (overseer); at Tomahawk plantation search
- Norris, Thaddeus; and references for R. and W. J. Miller search
- Norris, Thaddeus; identified search
- Norris, Thaddeus; letter from accounted for search
- Norris, Thaddeus; letter to search
- overseers; hiring of search
- Poplar Forest (TJ’s Bedford Co. estate); Overseers at; hired search
- Tomahawk plantation (part of TJ’s Poplar Forest estate); overseer at search