Thomas Jefferson Papers

Alexander Garrett and Valentine W. Southall to Thomas Jefferson, 20 September 1817

From Alexander Garrett and Valentine W. Southall

Charlottesville, Sep. 20th ‘17.


Our respective lodges feeling, with the public, much solicitude for the erection and success of the Central College, have nominated us, with others, as committees in behalf of our respective institutions, to make the necessary arrangements for carrying into effect your very kind and polite reply to the wish expressed by some of their members, that we might be permitted, as is usual with our societies on like occasions, to plant the first stone of that edifice.

It would be, to us, a real and gratifying service: but, whilst our wishes lead us to accept, upon reflection, prudence and our deep interest in the institution advise us to decline, the honor. The committees of conference finding so many difficulties presenting themselves, which it would require time to surmount, together with the early day on which, they understand, it is contemplated to lay the brick, and the indisposition on their part to retard its progress, are the reasons which influenced them in the above determination.

We pray you, sir, to accept our sincere thanks for your goodness, our hopes for the happy completion of the great work in which you are engaged, and the assurance of our best wishes for your health & happiness.
Alex: Garrett in behalf of
the Committee for the Charlottesville Lodge
V W southall, in behalf of
the committee for the Widow’s Son’s Lodge.

RC (CSmH: JF); in Southall’s hand, signed by Garrett and Southall; endorsed by TJ as a letter from Garrett and Southall received 22 Sept. 1817 and so recorded (with mistaken composition date of 12 Sept. 1817) in SJL.

The Masonic was organized around 1812 and held its last meeting in 1821. The Widow’s Sons’ Lodge No. 60 was established at Milton in 1799, moved to Charlottesville in 1816, and has remained active (Robert E. Simpson, Widow’s Sons’ Lodge No. 60, Ancient Free & Accepted Masons, Charlottesville, Virginia: A Bicentennial History, 1799–1999 [(1999)], 9–10, 15, 28).

Index Entries

  • Central College; and Freemasons search
  • Central College; cornerstone laying search
  • Charlottesville, Va.; Freemasons of search
  • Charlottesville Lodge No. 90 (Masonic); and Central College cornerstone laying search
  • Freemasonry; and Central College search
  • Garrett, Alexander; and Central College cornerstone laying search
  • Garrett, Alexander; letters from search
  • Southall, Valentine Wood; and Central College cornerstone laying search
  • Southall, Valentine Wood; letters from search
  • Widow’s Sons’ Lodge No. 60 (Masonic); and Central College cornerstone laying search