Thomas Jefferson Papers

John Jefferson to Thomas Jefferson, 23 September 1815

From John Jefferson

Pittsylvaina Co Septr 23rd 1815

Dear Sir

I have the pleasure of informing that I am in good health, and hope you enjoy the same, Mr Arthur Hopkins Grand Son of my Sister Judiths, Will be glad to be Acquainted with you, He is a young Gentleman of the Bar believed of great Talents, the favor you have done for me lays me under the greatest Obligation, Tho, my suit agt Colo James being of so long a date that, my Lawyers, & disinterested Gentlemen of the Bar, after an offer of One thousand Dollars, insisted on me to acceed to it, and that the law was pointedly against me, which I did, but am as much Obliged to you, as if I had gained the whole amount

I am With the greatest Sincerity1 Dr Sir yr Mo. Affect Friend

Jno Jefferson

RC (ViU: TJP-CC); addressed: “Colo Thomas Jefferson Bedford Coty Favored by Mr Hopkins”; endorsed by TJ as received 6 Nov. 1815 and so recorded in SJL.

John Jefferson was a son of TJ’s uncle Field Jefferson. He lived in Cumberland and Pittsylvania counties. TJ occasionally offered Jefferson legal advice, and in 1790 he gave him financial support in his lawsuit against Richard James for payment of a forfeited bond. In 1772 a John Jefferson was appointed collector for Southam Parish in Cumberland County (Tyler’s Quarterly Historical and Genealogical Magazine 7 [1925]: 49–50, 121, 124; Mecklenberg Co. Will Book, 1:4; 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 , 1:6–7, 49–50; PTJ description begins Julian P. Boyd, Charles T. Cullen, John Catanzariti, Barbara B. Oberg, and others, eds., The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, 1950– , 38 vols. description ends , 16:87–8, 181, 20:419; Ann K. Blomquist, The Vestry Book of Southam Parish, Cumberland County, Virginia, 1745–1792 [2002], 227, 271; Lynchburg Weekly Gazette, 13 Oct. 1798).

Arthur Francis Hopkins (1794–1865), attorney, was the grandson of TJ’s first cousin Judith Jefferson Hopkins, a sister of John Jefferson. He was born in Pittsylvania County and studied at the New London Academy, at an academy in Caswell County, North Carolina, and at the University of North Carolina before reading law with William Leigh in Halifax County, Virginia. Hopkins qualified at the bar of Bedford County in 1814 and moved to Alabama in 1816. There he practiced law and was a member of Alabama’s first constitutional convention in 1819 and a state senator, 1822–24. Hopkins was elected to the Alabama supreme court in 1834 and briefly served as chief justice before resigning the judgeship in 1837 to resume his legal practice. He ran unsuccessfully as a Whig candidate for the United States Senate in 1844 and 1849, and in 1861 he represented Alabama’s interests in Virginia in order to coordinate secession. Hopkins served for several years as president of the Mobile & Ohio Railroad and accumulated large landholdings in Alabama and Mississippi (DAB; Walter Lee Hopkins, Hopkins of Virginia and Related Families [1931], 36–8; James Edmonds Saunders and Elizabeth Saunders Blair Stubbs, Early Settlers of Alabama [1899], 87–93; Bedford Co. Order Book, 16:245; William Garrett, Reminiscences of Public Men in Alabama, for thirty years [1872], 377–80, 754, 773, 775, 791; gravestone inscription in Magnolia Cemetery, Mobile).

1Manuscript: “Sincrity.”

Index Entries

  • Hopkins, Arthur Francis; identified search
  • Hopkins, Arthur Francis; introduced to TJ search
  • Hopkins, Judith Jefferson (TJ’s cousin; Field Jefferson’s daughter); family of search
  • James, Richard; and J. Jefferson’s lawsuit search
  • Jefferson, Field (TJ’s uncle); family of search
  • Jefferson, John (TJ’s cousin; Field Jefferson’s son); identified search
  • Jefferson, John (TJ’s cousin; Field Jefferson’s son); introduces A. F. Hopkins to TJ search
  • Jefferson, John (TJ’s cousin; Field Jefferson’s son); letter from search
  • Jefferson, John (TJ’s cousin; Field Jefferson’s son); sues R. James search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Correspondence; letters of introduction to search
  • law; TJ provides legal advice search