Thomas Jefferson Papers

John McKinney to Thomas Jefferson, 21 May 1818

From John McKinney

Green Creek Bourbon County Kentucky May 21st 1818—

Dear Sir

After my best Respects to you, I would just inform you, I Never have had it in my power to procure to you, the Panther skin, you Requested Me to have with it’s head & Teeth, feet & Nails (or Claws) all to it, & to be as near in form, as possible like as if it was alive—But I still Look out to have it: as soon as possible & if I Do, I will forward it to you, with all speed—

Also, I now have in my care Six Elks, Three Bucks & three Does—Belonging to my Son, who lives in Missouri Territory, he brought1 them up about two or three2 years Ago—(however he brought up three Bucks & one Doe, & the3 Doe, has had Two fawns, both Does,4 Since) I have lately Recd a letter from my Son, Requesting me to Sell them; & Remit the money to him, as quick as possible, as he Stands in Need of it—& not to fail Selling them; the first chance I could have—Now Sir—I have had Several applications for them But a Gentleman, who inform’d me a few Days ago, that, he hear’d you Wishe,d, to purchas some of that Specious—& Requested me to let you know, so that if you want them, you could get them—A Gentleman in this state had Some, he Sold a Buck5 & Doe for $600—& a short time before he sold a Single Buck; for five hundred.—Now Sir—if you wish to purchas them, & will Write me a Line, & what you are willing to give; if The price will justify my Taking them to you, I will either Take, or have them Taken to you, as soon as the Nature of Cases; will permit—That is to Say I will Deliver Two of the Bucks; & three Does—(as a gentleman has the Lent of one, of the Bucks, to his Two Does6—& perhaps, will wish to keep him another Season—or altogether—) The Description of them are as follows (Towit) The Two Bucks now at home—here, is (I believe) about four years old—this Summer—the oldest Doe, is about five years old, She is with fawn, & I Expect the next Doe, which is now in next month, Two years old—may be with fawn too, But not certain—The Third Doe, is one year old, in next month—all very thriving ones—Now Sir—If they Suit you—& you wish me to forward them to you, you will be So good, as to Drop me a line by male—to Paris, where I can get it & if you do write I will thank you to do it Immediately, as I Shall Sell Immediately, if appertunity Serves—After giving you Time to write—I am with7 every Centiment of Esteem; your Sincere frend in affinity &c

John MKinney

RC (MoSHi: TJC-BC); at foot of text: “The Honle Thos Gefferson Esqr Albemarl Cty Virga state”; endorsed by TJ as received 11 June 1818 and so recorded in SJL.

John McKinney (d. 1825), teacher, public official, and land investor, was a native of Augusta County. Severely wounded during Lord Dunmore’s War at the 1774 Battle of Point Pleasant, by 1785 he had moved to Kentucky. Except for a stay of several years in Missouri, McKinney remained in Kentucky thereafter. While it was still a part of Virginia, he represented Bourbon County in the House of Delegates in 1790. When Kentucky became a state in 1792, McKinney represented his county in the resulting constitutional convention and supported an unsuccessful effort to remove guarantees of slaveholding from the new charter of government. In 1783, while serving as a schoolteacher, he reportedly killed a mountain lion that had attacked him in his classroom, thereby acquiring the nickname of “Wildcat” (Otto A. Rothert, “John D. Shane’s Interview with Mrs. John McKinney,” Filson Club History Quarterly 13 [1939]: 157–66; Sylvia Pettit Welch, “Pioneer John McKinney,” Filson Club History Quarterly 14 [1940]: 103–16; Henry R. McIlwaine and John Pendleton Kennedy, eds., Journals of the House of Burgesses of Virginia, 1619–1776 [1905–15], 1773–76 vol., pp. 182, 204, 229; DNA: RG 15, RWP; Leonard, General Assembly description begins Cynthia Miller Leonard, comp., The General Assembly of Virginia, July 30, 1619–January 11, 1978: A Bicentennial Register of Members, 1978 description ends , 179; Journal of the First Constitutional Convention of Kentucky, Held in Danville, Kentucky, April 2 to 19, 1792 [1942], v, 10; KyBgW-K: McKinney Papers).

1Manuscript: “brought brought.”

2Preceding two words interlined.

3Manuscript: “the the.”

4Superfluous closing parenthesis editorially omitted.

5Manuscript: “Book.”

6Manuscript: “Dows.”

7Manuscript: “with with.”

Index Entries

  • deer; offered for sale search
  • elk search
  • McKinney, John; and panther skin for TJ search
  • McKinney, John; family of search
  • McKinney, John; identified search
  • McKinney, John; letters from search
  • McKinney, John; offers to sell deer and elk to TJ search
  • panthers; skins of search