Thomas Jefferson Papers

Thomas Jefferson to Joel Yancey, 6 March 1817

To Joel Yancey

Montic[e]ll[o] Mar. 6. 17.

[De]ar Sir

During the unexampled spell of hard weather which we had [in] Jan. & Feb.,1 I thought it better not to send the waggoners on the road, and especially as Milly and her two young children were to come back with them. but it has been with inexpressible regret that I have been obliged to retain them latterly while these fine ploughing days were passing. but the necessity of bringing corn from a distance to save us from starving, obliged me to keep them till this day. I thought it better to add a 6th mule and carry your waggon as well as ours, and prevent Dick’s having two trips. the quantity of corn I have been obliged to buy here and it’s high price will take all the money of the year nearly; for the June as well as August drought, of which you had only the latter reduced us below the third of an ordinary crop. I have not heard yet whether the flour from Bedford is gone down. the tobo has of course been retarded by the bad weather for handling it. I inclose a bill of scantling which I hope mr Martin will be so good as to saw immediately, as it is what is to employ John Hemings in the autumn. I send by the waggon a box which may be set any where in the house. I expect to be with you about the middle of April, and I believe I left directions for Nace as to the garden. some artichoke roots are sent by the waggon which he must plant in the locks of the fence within the large garden. those we got from mr Clay are not the true kind. they will carry some Pride of China plants which may be planted2 somewhere near the mounds. if we can conveniently fix some Guinea shoats to breed from3 the waggon shall carry a male and two or three females. Accept the assurance of my great friendship and respect

Th: Jefferson

PoC (MHi); on verso of portion of a reused address cover from John Adams or Abigail Adams to TJ; dateline, salutation, and one additional word faint; at foot of text: “Mr Yancey”; endorsed by TJ. Enclosure not found.

Milly’s two young children were Sandy (b. 1813) and Jane (b. 1816) (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 , pt. 1, 131). TJ first grew pride of china plants, also called the chinaberry tree, at Monticello in 1778 (Betts, Garden Book description begins Edwin M. Betts, ed., Thomas Jefferson’s Garden Book, 1766–1824, 1944 description ends , 76, 79, 83).

1Reworked from “Feb. and March.”

2TJ here canceled “any.”

3TJ here canceled “a pair shall go for each place.”

Index Entries

  • artichokes search
  • building materials; timber search
  • chinaberry (Pride of China) search
  • Clay, Charles; and artichoke roots search
  • corn; TJ buys search
  • corn; transportation of search
  • Dick (Yellow Dick) (TJ’s slave; b.1767); as laborer search
  • flour; from Poplar Forest search
  • food; artichokes search
  • Hemmings, John (TJ’s slave; b. ca.1776); as woodworker search
  • Jane (TJ’s slave; b.1816); at Poplar Forest search
  • Martin, James; and TJ’s timber search
  • Milly (TJ’s slave;1797–ca.1819); family of search
  • mules; as draft animals search
  • Nace (TJ’s slave; b.1773); as gardener search
  • pigs; Guinea search
  • Poplar Forest (TJ’s Bedford Co. estate); flour from search
  • Poplar Forest (TJ’s Bedford Co. estate); hogs at search
  • Poplar Forest (TJ’s Bedford Co. estate); slaves at search
  • Poplar Forest (TJ’s Bedford Co. estate); superintendent of search
  • Poplar Forest (TJ’s Bedford Co. estate); TJ plans visits to search
  • Poplar Forest (TJ’s Bedford Co. estate); tobacco grown at search
  • Sandy (TJ’s slave; b.1813); at Poplar Forest search
  • seeds; artichoke roots search
  • slaves; and work plans for Poplar Forest search
  • slaves; travels of search
  • tobacco; grown at Poplar Forest search
  • trees; chinaberry search
  • weather; cold search
  • weather; drought search
  • weather; effect on crops search
  • Yancey, Joel (d.1833); as superintendent of Poplar Forest search
  • Yancey, Joel (d.1833); letters to search