Thomas Jefferson Papers

William F. Gray to Thomas Jefferson, 26 March 1819

From William F. Gray

Fredericks burg March 26. 1819


The bearer, Mr Thos Smith, has applied to me for an introduction to you; but not having ever had that honour myself, it may be considered too great a liberty for me to take.—He will no doubt carry with him a much better introduction than my name can give him. I will only say that he has for some time lived my neighbour, and has approved himself a sober and industrious citezen; and in every respect, as far as I have seen or heard is a man of correct conduct. He is considered a good painter.

With much respect Sir, Your Obt. Svt.

Wm F. Gray

RC (ViU: TJP); endorsed by TJ: “Painter & Glazier Smith. Thos.” RC (MHi); address cover only; with PoC of TJ to Chapman Johnson, 4 July 1819, on verso; addressed: “Thomas Jefferson, Esq. Montecello” by “Mr Smith.”

Thomas Smith evidently carried with him the better introduction of Hugh Mercer, Fredericksburg, 25 Mar. 1819, which reads “Mr Smith the Bearer of this, goes to Charlottesville to contract if he can, for Painting & Glazing of the Buildings connected with the University or Central College—Mr Smith has lived here about 12 Months, has done much Work in his Line, & is much approved of by those who have employed him—He appears to be a very steady, correct Man, & I have good Reason for believing he is an excellent Workman; & I have no Doubt he will faithfully execute any Contract he may enter into” (RC in ViU: LRW; addressee not specified).

On 29 Mar. 1819 Smith, writing from Charlottesville to Nelson Barksdale, presented his terms for furnishing the necessary materials and painting and glazing at the University of Virginia (with two words editorially corrected): “all Glazeing that is Square and the Glass is Cut to the Sise ten Cents for Every Square foot the Glass that is not Cut I will Cut to the Diferent Sises Required and Glaze the Same at fifteen Cents Per Square foot—
 all the painting out Side where there are not more than one Collor and the work is plain no Corniced work attached to it twenty five Cents for every Square yard for tw[o] Coats, and for Every additi[o]nal Coat ten Cents. Inside of the Establisshment thirty cents per yard for Every two Coats and twelve Cents for Every additional Coat if no more than one Collor are Required for imitating Mehogony on Doors or Elsewhere and varnishing the same with Copal varnish Seventy five Cents per yard the same price for painting in imitation of Satting wood or Norway Oak—when I mention above all the work that may be finished I mean this Season—I Shel Return to Fredericks’g, to morrow and if those Proposals are Receved or Refused I Shell be Glad to be informd of it as Soon as is Convienient” (MS in ViU: TJP; in Smith’s hand; endorsed by TJ: “Painter & Glazer. Smith Thos to N. Barksdale”).

The University of Virginia seems not to have employed Smith during TJ’s lifetime.

Index Entries

  • Barksdale, Nelson; as University of Virginia proctor search
  • Gray, William Fairfax; letters from search
  • Gray, William Fairfax; recommends T. Smith (of Fredericksburg) search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Correspondence; letters of application and recommendation to search
  • Mercer, Hugh; recommends T. Smith (of Fredericksburg) search
  • patronage; letters of application and recommendation to TJ search
  • Smith, Thomas (of Fredericksburg); seeks employment at University of Virginia search
  • Virginia, University of; Construction and Grounds; painters and glaziers for search
  • Virginia, University of; Construction and Grounds; wages for workmen search