Thomas Jefferson Papers

John H. Cocke’s Description of Central College Board of Visitors Meeting, 25[–28 July 1817]

John H. Cocke’s Description of Central College Board of Visitors Meeting

[25–28 July 1817]

25. Went to Monticello to Breakfast—Accompanied Mr Jefferson with Mr Southal & Mr Garrett to view the site—in which the changes proposed by Mr Jefferson as to the position of the buildings appear to be judicious in as much as they are calculated to save much labor in removing Earth—Returned with Mr Jefferson to dinner—Called in Charlottesville and found the amot of Subscriptions on Mr Leitches list between 22 & 23,000$. Mr Jefferson having written to Major Watson to meet us at Mr Madisons determines to go on in the morng.

Mr Cabell joined us at Monticello after night—This insured a quorum of the Visitors—

26. A fine day—Left Monticello at ¼ after 6 & arrived at Montpelier ¼ after 12 O’Clock—In conference upon the subject of sending subscription into the other Counties. it was in vain urged by Mr Cabell & myself that a joint address from the Visitors to four or five influential Gentlemen in each County requesting their attention & exertions for the promotion of the scheme, wou’d be productive of extensively beneficial results—We finally yielded to Mr Jeffersons suggestion of dividing the Counties among ourselves each taking those wherein he has particular acquaintances & addressing them individually—thus loosing in a very great degree the vast influence of the Names of Jefferson & Madison in promoting the Subscription.—

Application to be made to Doctor Knox of the Balt. Col. to undertake the Professorship of Languages—And to Cooper to fill the next professorship as soon as we can be prepared to receive him—

Mr Jefferson gave us the following history of the introduction of the Cedar into Albemarle: Mr Hickman the fourth settler in that County carried up the first tree—Mr Bolling the Brother in law of Mr J— planted two near the grave of one of his Children who died at Shadwell about the year 1755 from which all in that Neighbourhood came—

MS (ViU: JHC); diary entry entirely in Cocke’s hand; partially dated.

Sometime before this meeting of the Board of Visitors, Joseph C. cabell prepared a proposed list of commissioners to aid in collecting subscriptions for Central College. He generally suggested at least three names each in his alphabetically organized survey of sixty-five counties and five municipalities (leaving Albemarle County blank and naming only George Cabell for Lynchburg), which covered eastern and central Virginia but excluded the western part of the state (undated MS in ViU: JCC; entirely in Cabell’s hand and endorsed by him: “Sketch of Commissioners proposed to be appointed in all the counties east of the Blue Ridge for promoting the subscription to the Central College. Mr Jefferson & Mr Madison did not come into this measure, and it was declined”).

Index Entries

  • Bolling, John (1737–1800) (TJ’s brother-in-law); and Shadwell cemetery search
  • Cabell, George; and Central College subscription search
  • Cabell, Joseph Carrington; visits Monticello search
  • cedar search
  • Central College, Board of Visitors; J. H. Cocke’s Descriptions of Meetings search
  • Central College; professors for search
  • Central College; siting of search
  • Central College; subscription for search
  • Cocke, John Hartwell; descriptions of Central College Board of Visitors meetings by search
  • Cocke, John Hartwell; visits Monticello search
  • Cooper, Thomas; and Central College search
  • Garrett, Alexander; as Central College proctor search
  • Hickman, Mr. (of Albemarle Co.); and cedar trees search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Travels; to Montpellier (Madison family estate) search
  • Knox, Samuel; as educator search
  • Leitch, James; and Central College search
  • Monticello (TJ’s Albemarle Co. estate); Visitors to; Cabell, Joseph C. search
  • Monticello (TJ’s Albemarle Co. estate); Visitors to; Cocke, John H. search
  • Montpellier (Montpelier; J. Madison’s Orange Co. estate); TJ visits search
  • Montpellier (Montpelier; J. Madison’s Orange Co. estate); visitors to search
  • Shadwell (TJ’s estate); cemetery at search
  • Southall, Valentine Wood; as secretary of Central College Board of Visitors search
  • subscriptions, non-publication; for Central College search
  • trees; cedar search