Thomas Jefferson Papers

Thomas Jefferson to Bernard Peyton, 19 July 1819

To Bernard Peyton

Poplar Forest July 19. 19.

[D]ear Sir

We are here, Ellen, Cornelia and myself for two months to come, & living on plantation fare. this may be considerably improved if you can send us by a Lynchburg boat, addressed to mr Archib. Robertson a keg of tongues & sounds, a small keg of crackers, a small box of raisins, and a good cheese, to which be pleased to add a barrel of shad from my old friend mr Darmsdat, who has supplied me for these 30. years. perhaps the first 4. articles had better be put into an outer case or barrel for greater safety. mr Gibson as usual will have the goodness to pay for them.1 I salute you with constant friendship & respect

Th: Jefferson

PoC (MHi); on verso of reused address cover to TJ; part of one word rewritten by TJ due to polygraph misalignment; at foot of text: “Capt Peyton”; endorsed by TJ.

TJ’s granddaughters ellen W. Randolph (Coolidge) and cornelia J. Randolph accompanied him to Poplar Forest. The previous day Ellen had written to her mother, Martha Jefferson Randolph, that they had “met with no accident on the road, no misadventure of any kind, except being driven into Hunter’s yesterday morning by a shower of rain, which forced us to take a neat comfortable breakfast at half after seven oclock, instead of one both dirty and ill-cooked which we should have found between eleven and twelve at Chilton’s.” She went on to say that “Poplar Forest looks rather more dismal than usual; the long absence of the family, appears to have encreased the wildness and desolation of every thing around. the weeds growing to the very door of the kitchen, as high as your head, the planks of the terrace torn up in places by the violence of the wind, the front of the house offering nothing but the sashes of its windows, except where they were protected by the portico, the dining room darkened by the boarding up of the skylight, and the floors stained and moulded by the entrance of the rain-water; add to this the close musty smell which a house long shut up continues for some time to retain—and yet in spite of all this, I have felt no depression of spirits.” Further on in the letter Ellen remarked that “Grandpapa is so little fatigued by his journey as to have ridden to see his old friend Mr Clay this morning” (RC in ViU: Coolidge Correspondence; partially dated “July 18th”).

1Omitted period at right margin editorially supplied.

Index Entries

  • barrels search
  • boats; carriage to and from Richmond search
  • cheese; TJ orders search
  • Chilton’s Ordinary (Campbell Co.; proprietor Raleigh Chilton) search
  • Clay, Charles; TJ visits search
  • cod; tongues and sounds search
  • Coolidge, Ellen Wayles Randolph (TJ’s granddaughter); visits Poplar Forest search
  • crackers search
  • Darmsdatt, Joseph; and fish for TJ search
  • fish; shad search
  • fish; tongues and sounds search
  • food; cheese search
  • food; cod tongues and sounds search
  • food; crackers search
  • food; raisins search
  • food; shad search
  • Gibson, Patrick; and payments made for TJ search
  • Hunter, Robert; Campbell Co. innkeeper search
  • Lynchburg, Va.; boats traveling to and from search
  • Peyton, Bernard; and goods for TJ search
  • Peyton, Bernard; letters to search
  • Poplar Forest (TJ’s Bedford Co. estate); main house at search
  • Poplar Forest (TJ’s Bedford Co. estate); skylight at search
  • Poplar Forest (TJ’s Bedford Co. estate); TJ visits search
  • Poplar Forest (TJ’s Bedford Co. estate); TJ’s grandchildren visit search
  • raisins; TJ orders search
  • Randolph, Cornelia Jefferson (TJ’s granddaughter); visits Poplar Forest search
  • Randolph, Martha Jefferson (Patsy; TJ’s daughter; Thomas Mann Randolph’s wife); children of search
  • Robertson, Archibald; receives goods for TJ search
  • shad; TJ purchases search
  • weather; rain search
  • weather; wind search