Thomas Jefferson Papers

Levi Hollingsworth to Thomas Jefferson, 31 January 1818

From Levi Hollingsworth

Baltimore January 31. 1818


I am pretty largely engaged in refining and rolling Copper into Sheets bolts &c. I have been principally supplied with the crude copper of Spanish Americæ. We have long heard that on Lake Superior there is abundance of Copper ore. And I have been told that about the Year 1805 the Government sent a person there to explore those regions for that metal. I have made enquiry at Washington and cannot obtain any information there on the Subject.

It would be with me an important object to get access to a mine if there is any such, and I take the Liberty to ask you to do me the favour to write to me whether you have any recollection of the result of any enquirys respecting copper mines on Lake Superior. I have enquired at the War department which I am told is the proper place to obtain Such information but can get none

I am sir Your obt set

Levi Hollingsworth

RC (DLC); endorsed by TJ as received 11 Feb. 1818 and so recorded in SJL. RC (MHi); address cover only; with PoC of TJ to de Bure Frères, 5 Apr. 1818, and enclosure to that letter on verso and recto, respectively; addressed: “Thomas Jefferson Esqr Monticello”; franked; postmarked Baltimore, 2 Feb.

Levi Hollingsworth (1765–1822), merchant, copper manufacturer, and public official, was born in Cecil County, Maryland. He sat for his home county in the Maryland House of Delegates, 1795–99, and represented the Western Shore in the state senate, 1811–16. A merchant in Baltimore from 1803, Hollingsworth also served for a time as a director of the Bank of Baltimore. He opened a copper-rolling mill about ten miles from town in 1804 and within less than a decade was annually refining and shaping one hundred tons of copper there. Under its later incarnation as the Gunpowder Copper works, Hollingsworth manufactured copper sheeting, sheathing for ship hulls, boiler plating, bolts, nails, and spikes. He died in Baltimore (William B. Hollingsworth, Hollingsworth Genealogical Memoranda in the United States, From 1682 to 1884 [1884], 18; Papenfuse, Maryland Public Officials description begins Edward C. Papenfuse and others, eds., An Historical List of Public Officials of Maryland, 1990– , 1 vol. description ends , 1:444; Cornelius William Stafford, The Baltimore Directory, for 1803 [Baltimore, (1803)], 67; Federal Gazette & Baltimore Daily Advertiser, 5 Dec. 1803; Board of World’s Fair Managers of Maryland, Maryland: Its Resources, Industries and Institutions [1893], 115; ASP, Finance, 2:602; Commercial Directory [Philadelphia, 1823], 71, 76; Baltimore Patriot & Mercantile Advertiser, 8 May 1819, 4 Sept. 1822).

Index Entries

  • copper; from Latin America search
  • copper; manufacture of search
  • copper; mines search
  • Hollingsworth, Levi; and copper mines search
  • Hollingsworth, Levi; copper manufacturer search
  • Hollingsworth, Levi; identified search
  • Hollingsworth, Levi; letter from search
  • Lake Superior; copper mines along search
  • War Department, U.S.; and copper mines search