Thomas Jefferson Papers

Joseph E. McIlhenney to Thomas Jefferson, 21 December [1816]

From Joseph E. McIlhenney

charlottsville Decr 21st

Honoured Sir

Taking every thing into consideration I think my return to Winchester will be to my advantage. This place as I have been informed by many will not afford sufficient employment for more than one in our buisness and of course I would run a risk which my circumstances will not admit of. If I should commence in opposition to this young man who perhaps may posess equal abilities to myself as respects our buisness it would take some time before we could assertain who should have the “palm”—. Another inducement for my not attemting an opposition is my remote distance from home and not having it in my power to furnish myself with goods. The young man I would be opposed to has a partner at Staunton with a capital to supply him with what good he may require. Taking these consideration into view I think you will excuse my abrupt departure after the repeated marks of friendship manifested by yourself and grandson. I shall remember your solisitude for my success with heart felt gratitude.

I remain respectfully yours &C.

Jos E McIlheny

P.S. I shall leave this place for Winchester in the morning—

RC (MHi); partially dated; addressed: “The Honoure Thoms Jefferson Monticello”; endorsed by TJ as a letter of 21 Dec. 1816 received 24 Jan. 1817 and so recorded in SJL.

this young man was an employee or partner and likely a relative of a Staunton clockmaker named Logan. The latter was probably John Logan (TJ to Charles Willson Peale, 24 Dec. 1816; James Leitch to TJ, 17 Jan. 1817; Catherine B. Hollan, Virginia Silversmiths, Jewelers, Watch- and Clockmakers, 1607–1860, Their Lives and Marks [2010], 472–3). TJ’s grandson was Thomas Jefferson Randolph.

Index Entries

  • Charlottesville, Va.; watchmaker needed in search
  • Logan, Mr. (of Staunton); as watchmaker search
  • McIlhenney, Joseph E.; as watchmaker search
  • McIlhenney, Joseph E.; letters from search
  • Randolph, Thomas Jefferson (TJ’s grandson; Jane Hollins Nicholas Randolph’s husband); mentioned search
  • Staunton, Va.; watchmakers in search