Thomas Jefferson Papers

William Clough to Thomas Jefferson, 4 December 1817

From William Clough

Audley, near Berryville, Decr. 4th 1817.

Honoured Sir,

Hoping that this intrusion upon your notice may be viewed in its proper light, I, though unknown to you, have deemed it necessary to beg the favour of a little information, from you, respecting the College, which is erecting, or about to be erected in this State. I have, under my instruction, several young gentlemen, who will, probably, enter this College as soon as it shall commence its operations; perhaps, some of them will not enter immediately, but will prefer waiting till a few months after it shall have commenced.

As we are unacquainted with the plan which may be adopted there, we shall consider ourselves under great obligations to you, if you would inform us at what time the College will be ready for the reception of pupils? Whether there will be an examination, previous to the admission of pupils? If there be an examination, in what studies it will be necessary they should be prepared? By communicating any information upon either, or all of the above queries, you will confer a great obligation upon,

Honoured Sir, Very respectfully Yrs

William Clough A.B.

RC (MHi); at foot of text: “Hon. Thomas Jefferson Esqr. Formerly President of the United States”; endorsed by TJ as received 23 Dec. 1817 and so recorded in SJL.

William Clough (1797–1866), educator, was born in Boston, attended the Boston Latin School, and served in the Massachusetts militia during the War of 1812. He graduated from Harvard University in 1816 and moved to Berryville in Frederick County (later Clarke County) to teach. After a decade Clough returned to Boston, where he was usher of the English High School in 1826 and principal of the Mayhew Grammar School by 1830. Following organized parental complaints about the brutality of his disciplinary methods, in 1833 he moved to Saint Charles County, Missouri, where he operated a school. In 1856 Clough moved to Parkville, Missouri, and served as a notary public in 1860. By 1865 he lived in Leavenworth, Kansas, where he died (NEHGR description begins New England Historical and Genealogical Register description ends 71 [1917]: 188–90; Portrait and Biographical Record of Leavenworth, Douglas and Franklin Counties Kansas [1899], 819–20; Records of the Massachusetts Volunteer Militia [1913], 88; Harvard Catalogue description begins Harvard University Quinquennial Catalogue of the Officers and Graduates, 1636–1925, 1925 description ends , 192; Boston Commercial Gazette, 28 Aug. 1826; Boston Courier, 19 Aug. 1830; Myra C. Glenn, “School Discipline and Punishment in Antebellum America,” Journal of the Early Republic 1 [1981]: 395; DNA: RG 29, CS, Mo., Platte Co., 1860; Kans. state census, Leavenworth, 1865 [KHi]; Boston Daily Advertiser, 17 July 1867, supplement).

Index Entries

  • Central College; opening of search
  • Clough, William; identified search
  • Clough, William; inquires about Central College search
  • Clough, William; letter from search