Thomas Jefferson Papers

Thomas Freeborn to Thomas Jefferson, 23 June 1817

From Thomas Freeborn

Alexandria 6 mo 23 1817

Respected Friend

I have been trying to make an excuse for severall years to pay thee a vissit—have for a few days past antiscipated the pleasure I Should have in seeing mine & my countrys Friend, but alas I have been disapointed I tried two days to get a Carriage in Fredericks town, to take me out to thy place, but could not succeed—however I hope to see thee & it may be in the fall—I have a letter of Introduction from my Friend doctor Thornton of Wasshington City enclosed I hand it thee, with my card on which thou may see Jethro Woods plough which I have the vending of in the southern States on the atlantic, the one thou hast—I forwarded to Philadelphia & it was by mistake sent thee—I forwarded one at the same time to Alexandria for thee in particular, however as thou hast it it is all well

I am deeply interested in the afore said plough & any communication thou should make to me on the subject would be Gratefully recd at 210 Front St N. York by thy


Thos Freeborn

RC (MHi); between dateline and salutation: “Thos Jefferson”; endorsed by TJ as received 28 June 1817 and so recorded in SJL. RC (ViWC: Mrs. George P. Coleman Collection, 1945); address cover only; with PoC of TJ to Quinette de Rochemont, 30 Sept. 1817, on verso; addressed: “Thomas Jefferson Montacello Varginia”; franked; postmarked Orange Court House, 28 June. Enclosure: William Thornton to TJ, 18 June 1817. Other enclosure not found.

Thomas Freeborn (ca. 1774–1846), merchant and manufacturer, was working as a cooper in New York City by 1800. In 1815, while continuing his cooperage at Crane Wharf, he also operated as a merchant at 210 Front Street. Beginning about 1817 Freeborn manufactured and sold cast-iron plows based on the designs of Jethro Wood. In addition, he operated a foundry until at least 1831. Freeborn served as an officer of the Mercantile Insurance Company and as a director of both the Franklin Bank and the Bank of Washington and Warren (William Wade Hinshaw and others, Encyclopedia of American Quaker Genealogy [1936–50; repr. 1969–77], 3:127; Longworth’s New York Directory description begins Longworth’s American Almanac, New-York Register, and City Directory, New York, 1796–1842 (title varies; cited by year of publication) description ends [1800]: 205; [1815]: 215; [1816]: 213; [1820]: 189; [1823]: 183; [1831]: 284; Peter D. McClelland, Sowing Modernity: America’s First Agricultural Revolution [1997], 251; New York Mercantile Advertiser, 30 Jan., 29 Apr. 1818; Scoville, New York Merchants description begins “Walter Barrett” [Joseph Alfred Scoville], The Old Merchants of New York City, 1863–69, repr. 1968, 5 vols. description ends , 1:241; Washington Daily National Intelligencer, 3 Apr. 1820; New York National Advocate, 5 Feb. 1822 [country ed.], 26 June 1824; New York Evening Post, 9 Dec. 1846).

Index Entries

  • Freeborn, Thomas; and plows search
  • Freeborn, Thomas; identified search
  • Freeborn, Thomas; introduced to TJ search
  • Freeborn, Thomas; letter from search
  • plows; J. Wood’s cast-iron search
  • Thornton, William; introduces T. Freeborn to TJ search
  • Wood, Jethro; plow of search