Thomas Jefferson Papers

Thomas Jefferson to Craven Peyton, 27 November 1818

To Craven Peyton

Monticello Nov. 27. 18.

Dear Sir

I am very sensible of the kind indulgence expressed in your letter of yesterday1 which lays me under an obligation the more to prevent your suffering by it if in my power, & will still if possible raise the money by a sale of property. my grandson had mentioned to me that a woman of mine who has 5. children and no husband had expressed a wish to be sold. I had a meeting with him yesterday, and authorised him to sell them if he could get what he thought a reasonable value for them. he estimated the 6. at £1000. the woman is a fine handy sensible one, a worker in the crop, 35. years old, with a child of 3. months old (a boy) 2. daughters of 4. and 6. years old, and 2. sons of 11. and 13. the last works well at the plough already. I wish indeed you could take them yourself. if you can accomplish your late purchase without this money, the thing would be easy because half the price would be in your own hands, and the rest might await your convenience in the spring, or longer paying interest. only say the word and they are yours. affectionately your

friend & servt

Th: Jefferson

RC (Mrs. Charles W. Biggs, Lewisburg, W.Va., 1950); addressed: “Craven Peyton esq. Monteagle”; endorsed by Peyton: “Offar to sell Negroes.” PoC (MHi); on verso of a reused address cover from William F. Gray to TJ; endorsed by TJ.

The enslaved woman who expressed a wish to be sold was probably Lucy (b. 1783), who along with her older children Robin (b. 1805), Sandy (b. 1807), Molly (b. 1814), and Melinda (b. 1816) had been leased to Thomas Jefferson Randolph to work at Lego earlier in 1818. On 9 Apr. 1820 TJ traded the family, now including Lucy’s son Nicholas (b. 1818), to Randolph for seven of his slaves (TJ’s Notes on Lease of Tufton and Lego to Randolph, [after 1 Jan. 1818]; Betts, Farm Book description begins Edwin M. Betts, ed., Thomas Jefferson’s Farm Book, 1953 (in two separately paginated sections; unless otherwise specified, references are to the second section) description ends , pt. 1, pp. 130, 160–1).

A letter of this date from Peyton to TJ, not found, is recorded in SJL as received the same day from Monteagle.

1Preceding two words interlined.

Index Entries

  • Jefferson, Thomas; Business & Financial Affairs; account with C. Peyton search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Business & Financial Affairs; buys and sells slaves search
  • Lucy (TJ’s slave; b.1783); proposed sale of search
  • Melinda (TJ’s slave; b.1816); proposed sale of search
  • Molly (TJ’s slave; b.1814); proposed sale of search
  • Nicholas (TJ’s slave; b.1818); traded to T. J. Randolph search
  • Peyton, Craven; account with TJ search
  • Peyton, Craven; letters from accounted for search
  • Peyton, Craven; letters to search
  • Randolph, Thomas Jefferson (TJ’s grandson; Jane Hollins Nicholas Randolph’s husband); as manager of Monticello search
  • Randolph, Thomas Jefferson (TJ’s grandson; Jane Hollins Nicholas Randolph’s husband); TJ conveys slaves to search
  • Robin (TJ’s slave; b.1805); proposed sale of search
  • Sandy (TJ’s slave; b.1807); proposed sale of search
  • slaves; TJ sells search