Thomas Jefferson Papers

John C. Wells to Thomas Jefferson, 27 March 1820

From John C. Wells

Charlottesv[il]le March 27th 1820

Dear Sir

I hold your bond which has been due some time, I am about to start to Richmond and having been dissappointed in receiving money there, in consequence of this late fire which distroyed the flour for which I was to receive the money, compels me to1 request the favour of you to pay it, or if it would be more convenient, to let me have a draft payable in Richmond at Sight. Necessity is a severe master, and compels me to call on you for the payment, as I am now going to Richmond for the purpose of paying in my proportion of the revenue for the county.2 Your early attention to this, will confer a favour which will be thankfuly acknowledged by sir

Yours most respectfully

John C. Wells

RC (MoSHi: TJC-BC); top edge torn; at foot of text: “Mr Thomas Jefferson”; endorsed by TJ as received 27 Mar. 1820 and so recorded in SJL.

John Clark Wells (1794–1837), the son of TJ’s correspondent Thomas Wells, was born near Fredericksburg. During the War of 1812 he entered the United States Army as an ensign in the 5th Infantry Regiment in 1813 and rose to the rank of third lieutenant before being discharged at war’s end in 1815. Wells reentered the army in 1817 and served in the 4th Infantry Regiment until the following year, ultimately attaining the rank of first lieutenant. He was a deputy sheriff of Albemarle County between 1816 and 1821. When he died Wells owned $1,182 in personal property there, including two slaves (Lottie Wright Davis, Records of Lewis, Meriwether and Kindred Families [1951], 128–9; Heitman, U.S. Army description begins Francis B. Heitman, comp., Historical Register and Dictionary of the United States Army, 1903, repr. 1994, 2 vols. description ends , 1:1017; JEP description begins Journal of the Executive Proceedings of the Senate of the United States description ends , 3:75, 79, 103, 108 [7, 19 Feb., 18, 19 Dec. 1817]; Albemarle Co. Order Book [1816–18], 130, 413; [1820–21], 8, 83, 85, 357; [1821–22], 133, 143; DNA: RG 29, CS, Albemarle Co., 1820, 1830; petition from Wells and other citizens of Albemarle Co., [presented 8 Feb. 1833] [Vi: RG 78, Legislative Petitions, Albemarle Co.]; Albemarle Co. Will Book, 12:426–8, 13:317–8).

In a bond given to Edmund Bacon in July 1819, TJ promised to repay with interest in November 1819 whomever would give Bacon $200. TJ ultimately satisfied this debt by paying Wells $218.32½ on 12 Aug. 1820 (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 , 2:1356, 1367).

1Manuscript: “to to.”

2Omitted period at right margin editorially supplied.

Index Entries

  • Bacon, Edmund; TJ’s promissory note to search
  • flour; destroyed by fire search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Business & Financial Affairs; promissory notes to Edmund Bacon search
  • Wells, John Clark; and TJ’s bond search
  • Wells, John Clark; identified search
  • Wells, John Clark; letters from search