Thomas Jefferson Papers

Micah Sterling to Thomas Jefferson, 7 May 1819

From Micah Sterling

Washington City 7th May 1819—

Honored Sir

I hereby transmit in behalf of the Agricultural Society of the County of Jefferson, State of New York a Diploma of honorary membership confered upon you by the unanimous voice of the Society—

When I left Watertown, my place of residence in that County1 I flattered myself with the honor of delivering it in person, but circumstances prohibit me from enjoying that high gratification.

We flatter ourselves that our humble but Spirited efforts in the cause of agriculture will meet the cordial approbation [o]f the distinguished men of the Nation—

With sentiments of high respect

I am yours &c

M Sterling.

RC (MoSHi: TJC-BC); hole in manuscript; endorsed by TJ as received 15 May 1819 and so recorded in SJL. Enclosure not found.

Micah Sterling (1784–1844), attorney and public official, was born in Lyme, Connecticut. In 1804 he graduated from Yale College (later Yale University), where he began a lifelong friendship with John C. Calhoun. Sterling then studied law in Litchfield, secured admission to the bar in 1809, and moved to Jefferson County, New York, where he opened a law office. He served as treasurer of Watertown in 1816, corresponding secretary of the Jefferson County Agricultural Society, a Federalist member of the United States House of Representatives, 1821–23, president of the Jefferson County Bank, 1833–34, and state senator, 1836–39. Sterling died in Watertown of scarlet fever and an inflammation of the lungs (Dexter, Yale Biographies description begins Franklin Bowditch Dexter, Biographical Sketches of the Graduates of Yale College, 1885–1912, 6 vols. description ends , 5:710–1; Joel H. Monroe, Through Eleven Decades of History: Watertown [1912]; Biog. Dir. Cong. description begins Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, 1774–Present, online resource, Office of the Clerk, United States House of Representatives description ends ; Connecticut Town Birth Records [Ct: Lucius Barnes Barbour Collection]; Catalogue of the Officers and Graduates of Yale University … 1701–1910 [1910], 82; Calhoun, Papers description begins description ends ; Hudson, N.Y., Northern Whig, 5 Sept. 1809; Albany Plough Boy, 10 June 1820; DNA: RG 29, CS, N.Y., Watertown, 1820, 1830; The New York Civil List [1861], 154–5; New York Herald, 17 Apr. 1844; gravestone inscription in Brookside Cemetery, Watertown).

The Jefferson County Agricultural Society was founded in Watertown late in October 1817 (Franklin B. Hough, A History of Jefferson County in the State of New York [1854], 401–5).

On this day Sterling sent a similar letter to James Madison (Madison, Papers, Retirement Ser., 1:452).

1Manuscript: “Country.”

Index Entries

  • agriculture; Jefferson County Agricultural Society (New York) search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Honors and Memberships; Jefferson County Agricultural Society (New York), membership search
  • Jefferson County Agricultural Society (New York); founding of search
  • Jefferson County Agricultural Society (New York); J. Madison elected to search
  • Jefferson County Agricultural Society (New York); TJ elected to search
  • Madison, James (1751–1836); and Jefferson County Agricultural Society (New York) search
  • Sterling, Micah; and Jefferson County Agricultural Society (New York) search
  • Sterling, Micah; identified search
  • Sterling, Micah; letter from search