Thomas Jefferson Papers

Thomas Jefferson to Nathaniel Gordon, 1 April 1819

To Nathaniel Gordon

Monticello Apr. 1. 19.


On the 18th of March mr Barbour informed me he had sent a box of books for me to your house to be forwarded by the mail stage to Milton. I hope they reached you safe, and if so, I pray you to send them on by the stage the driver of which knows that mr Vest the postmaster will pay the portage on delivery of the box. if they have not reached you, I pray you to be so good as to inform me that I may have speedy enquiry made for them. I salute you with esteem and respect.

Th: Jefferson

PoC (MHi); on verso of reused address cover of Fernagus De Gelone to TJ, 15 Dec. 1818; at foot of text: “Mr Gordon”; endorsed by TJ as a letter to “Gordon Nathanl” and so recorded in SJL.

Nathaniel Gordon (1763–1820), tavern keeper, was born in Lancaster County. In 1787 he purchased a 1,350-acre plantation in Orange County, and within a few years he was operating a public house there along the stage route. TJ visited Gordon’s establishment often between 1793 and 1813, and in 1802 he termed it “A good tavern.” Although consisting of little more than his residence and the inn, the crossroads was being referred to as “Gordonsville” as early as 1813. Gordon also served as postmaster at Newville, 1802–03, and Gordonsville, 1813–20 (William H. B. Thomas, Gordonsville, Virginia: Historic Crossroads Town [1971], 3–11; MB description begins James A. Bear Jr. and Lucia C. Stanton, eds., Jefferson’s Memorandum Books: Accounts, with Legal Records and Miscellany, 1767–1826, 1997, The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, Second Series description ends , esp. 2:903n, 1293; PTJ description begins Julian P. Boyd, Charles T. Cullen, John Catanzariti, Barbara B. Oberg, James P. McClure, and others, eds., The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, 1950– , 42 vols. description ends , 37:534; Axelson, Virginia Postmasters description begins Edith F. Axelson, Virginia Postmasters and Post Offices, 1789–1832, 1991 description ends , 146; Orange Co. Will Book, 5:355–7, 6:272–9, 7:76–80; gravestone inscription in Maplewood Cemetery, Gordonsville).

Index Entries

  • Barbour, James; and transmission of packages to and from TJ search
  • carriages; stagecoaches search
  • Gordon, Nathaniel; and books for TJ search
  • Gordon, Nathaniel; identified search
  • Gordon, Nathaniel; letter to search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Books and Library; works sent to search
  • Milton, Va.; postmaster at search
  • Milton, Va.; stagecoach to and from search
  • Vest, Charles; as postmaster at Milton search