Thomas Jefferson Papers

Thomas Jefferson to Robert Hanna, 16 January 1820

To Robert Hanna

Monticello Jan. 16. 20

A letter from you, dear Sir, comes to me like one from the tombs of the dead, so long is it since I have had any evidence that you were still in the land of the living, and so few are now so who were fellow laborers in the struggle for the liberation of our country. and I rejoice to find that advancing years are the only assailants on your health mentioned in your letter. time as well as ill health bear heavily on me. immediately on the reciept of your letter I forwarded it to the President with the expression of the interest I feel for your gratification, and he will not be slow in proving his attention to revolutionary worthies. I tender you my best wishes for the continuance of your life and health as long as you shall yourself wish them to continue

Th: Jefferson

RC (Christie’s, New York City, 2003); mutilated, with missing text supplied from PoC; addressed (torn): “Genl Robert Hanna Fran[klin] county B[rook]ville I[n]diana”; franked; facsimile reproduced in Sarah A. Hanna, The House of Hanna (1906), 105. PoC (DLC); on verso of reused address cover of Charles Johnston to TJ, 4 Mar. 1819; endorsed by TJ.

Robert Hanna (1744–1821) was born in Virginia and moved by 1765 to South Carolina. There he worked as a surveyor and served a number of times in the militia between 1778 and 1782. Hanna belonged to a company of South Carolinians who established settlements by 1804 in Indiana, where he died (House of Hanna, esp. 26, 44, 46, 115; BDSCHR description begins Walter B. Edgar and others, eds., Biographical Directory of the South Carolina House of Representatives, 1974– , 5 vols. description ends , 3:313–4; Alexander S. Salley, ed., Stub Entries to Indents issued in payment of Claims Against South Carolina [1939], I:55; Brent Holcomb, comp., and Silas Emmett Lucas, ed., Some South Carolina County Records [1976–89], 2:140, 216; gravestone inscription in New Fairfield Cemetery, Franklin County, Indiana).

A missing letter from Hanna to TJ of 20 Nov. 1819 is recorded in SJL as received 9 Jan. 1820 from Franklin County, Indiana. This exchange of letters probably related to James Monroe’s appointment later that year of Robert Hanna Jr. as register of the federal land office for Indiana’s Brookville district (JEP description begins Journal of the Executive Proceedings of the Senate of the United States description ends , 3:209, 211 [1, 5 May 1820]).

Index Entries

  • aging; TJ on his own search
  • Hanna, Robert (1744–1821); identified search
  • Hanna, Robert (1744–1821); letter from accounted for search
  • Hanna, Robert (1744–1821); letter to search
  • Hanna, Robert (1744–1821); seeks TJ’s assistance search
  • Hanna, Robert (1786–1858); federal appointment of search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Health; aging search
  • Monroe, James; and appointments search