Thomas Jefferson Papers

Thomas Jefferson to Louis A. Leschot, 18 May 1817

To Louis A. Leschot

Monticello May 18. 17.

Th: Jefferson to mr Leschot.

Mr Girardin, a French literary gentleman, & friend of mine, living near Staunton, called on me on his way to Richmond. having a repeating watch which he valued much, but which had been mu[ch] injured by ignorant workmen, he left her with me, on my advice; to get the favor of you to repair her, for which purpose I send her by the bearer. he will call on you about Saturday or Sunday next, in the hope you will be able by that time to have repaired her. he is a gentleman of great worth, and his acquaintance in Staunton will enable him to serve you there.

I salute mrs Leschot and yourself with friendship, and with assurances that we shall be much gratified by your visits whenever you can spare the time. our wishes are that you will come at your own convenience, without the ceremony of particular invitations which might not suit your convenience.

RC (ViU: TJP); torn at folds; addressed: “Mr Leschot.” Not recorded in SJL.

Louis A. Leschot (1779–1838), watchmaker, was born in the village of Les Brenets in the Swiss canton of Neuchâtel. He married into the Montandon family of watchmakers and immigrated to the United States with them about 1815. Leschot and his wife settled in Charlottesville early in 1817 as a result of a multiyear effort by TJ to secure a watchmaker for the town. TJ frequently patronized Leschot, purchasing watches and watch parts and paying him for watch and clock repair. He also bought spoons and spectacles from him. In 1837 Leschot became a naturalized United States citizen. He was buried at Monticello (Catherine B. Hollan, Virginia Silversmiths, Jewelers, Watch- and Clockmakers, 1607–1860, Their Lives and Marks [2010], 458–9, 949; 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 ; DNA: RG 29, CS, Albemarle Co., 1820, 1830; Albemarle Co. Law Order Book [1831–37], 263, 410–1; Albemarle Co. Will Book, 13:151; Shackelford, Descendants description begins George Green Shackelford, ed., Collected Papers … of the Monticello Association of the Descendants of Thomas Jefferson, 1965–84, 2 vols. description ends , 1:261).

Index Entries

  • Girardin, Louis Hue; visits Monticello search
  • Leschot, Louis A.; as watchmaker search
  • Leschot, Louis A.; identified search
  • Leschot, Louis A.; letters to search
  • Leschot, Sophie Montandon (Louis A. Leschot’s wife); TJ sends greetings to search
  • Monticello (TJ’s Albemarle Co. estate); Visitors to; Girardin, Louis H. search
  • slaves; errands by search
  • watches; needing repair search