Thomas Jefferson Papers

Thomas Jefferson McLain to Thomas Jefferson, 21 February 1820

From Thomas Jefferson McLain

21st Feby 1820

Honrd Sir

By the advice of my democratic friends I make free to adress these few lines to you to let you know my situation & what my family and name is. my Father was a Laz B McLain son of the Old Patriot James McLain who assisted in Making our present constitution &c and at the time Our County was divided my father was appointed Prothonatary &c &c of the County and on account of his firm attachment to the republican cause was wronged out of measure & put out of office by a set of designing federalists who always held him at an ill will on account of his forwardness in the Republican cause however he was commissioned as a Justice of the peace & held his commission for about twenty years till his decease which was on the 28th of March last, he left a widow & five sons (to lament his decease) James, John G McLain, Laz B Thomas Jefferson & David Bard. he left a considerable property in land but the times here are so hard, that there is no money can be raised out of Personal Estates & I have heard of some good opportunities of getting in to partnership in the tanning business and learning the trade, and drawing half the income If I could raise about five or six hundred Dollars and I have heard such favourable accounts of your principals that I flatter myself that you will consider, & own me as your namesake as I was calld for you Immediately after you took the precedential chair and my expectations is that if you would be so charitable as for to accomodate me with the above sum that perhaps in the course of a few years I could return you your money with Gratitude &c &c Sir if you think the foregoing worthy of your notice, or me worthy of being considered as your namesake you will please to write a few lines to me in order to let me know what you think of the affair, you may if you please direct your lines to the Williamsburg Post Office Huntingdon County Pennsylvania & if I have made to free on account of my name I would desire to be excused and at the same time will

Remain your Humble Servt

Thomas Jefferson McLain

NB you will confer a favour1 by writing answer whether the affair corresponds with your wishes or no

Thos Jefferson McLain

RC (MHi); endorsed by TJ as received 10 Mar. 1820 from “Willamsbg Pensva.” and so recorded in SJL.

Thomas Jefferson McLain (1801–91), publisher, attorney, and banker, was a native of Huntingdon County, Pennsylvania. He moved to Ohio in 1828 and settled permanently two years later in the town of Warren, where he edited the Warren News-letter from that year until 1839. McLain was admitted to the bar in 1842, and from then until 1845 he served as postmaster of Warren. He also worked as a banker, 1840–76, under his own name and in the firm of T. J. McLain & Son, and he later sold insurance. McLain served as mayor of Warren, 1857–58, as a trustee of the town, 1866–67, and as president of the Mahoning Valley Historical Society. In 1870 he owned real estate valued at $60,000 and personal property worth $40,000 (History of Trumbull and Mahoning Counties, with Illustrations and Biographical Sketches [1882], esp. 1:196; DNA: RG 29, CS, Ohio, Warren, 1840–80; Banker’s Magazine, and Statistical Register, 3d ser., 10 [1876]: 577; Magazine of Western History 7 [1888]: 585; gravestone inscription in Oakwood Cemetery, Warren).

McLain’s grandfather James McLene (james mclain) was a delegate to Pennsylvania’s 1789–90 constitutional convention (Joseph S. Foster, “The Politics of Ideology: The Pennsylvania Constitutional Convention of 1789–90,” Pennsylvania History 59 [1992]: 128).

1Manuscript: “favou.”

Index Entries

  • charity; requests to TJ for search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Correspondence; with namesakes search
  • McLain, David Bard; family of search
  • McLain, James; family of search
  • McLain, John Gemmill; family of search
  • McLain, Lazarus Brown (1765–1819); career of search
  • McLain, Lazarus Brown (1798–1879); family of search
  • McLain, Mary Ann Gemmill; family of search
  • McLain, Thomas Jefferson; identified search
  • McLain, Thomas Jefferson; letter from search
  • McLain, Thomas Jefferson; requests loan from TJ search
  • McLene, James; as delegate to Pa. constitutional convention search
  • tanning; careers in search