Thomas Jefferson Papers

Joseph Gilmore to Thomas Jefferson, [ca. 14 June 1820]

From Joseph Gilmore

[ca. 14 June 1820]


I made a trial the other morning to Raise The End of the house to Get it off the hurst floore and Raised it about 3 Inches with one prise with the weight of Twelve men on it all of which I suppose weighed about 1500 w with A prise of about 24 feet in length Giveing about 18 Inches power & I thought it quite Practicable to Raise it with about 4 more Prises of the same power provided that I had a Good Foundation to Raise on I think that Peirs of [Stone?] will do as time is scarce but I Think my first plan best of haveing a wall But I find time will not1 admit of it I shoul be Glad to have the hands on monday morning to Get in the hurst & tell them to bring all the Spades they have to Clean out the pit to get in the Back Sill

RC (DLC: TJ Papers, 235:42108); undated, with conjectural date based on beginning of Gilmore’s work repairing TJ’s mill; one word illegible; at head of text: “J Gilmore To Thos Jefferson”; addressed: “Mr Thos Jefferson Esqr Montocello”; endorsed by TJ: “Mill. power necessary to raise it.”

Joseph Gilmore (d. 1821), boatman and millwright at Milton, may have served for a time as interim miller at TJ’s Shadwell mills while Thomas Mann Randolph was away on military service during the War of 1812. He transported goods to and from Richmond for TJ from at least 1816 and, from 14 June to 23 Oct. 1820, worked for TJ, at a rate of $30 a month, repairing damage to TJ’s mills caused by settling walls and sinking floors. Gilmore also rented a piece of land in Albemarle County from TJ during the last year of his life (TJ to Randolph, 14 Nov. 1813; Betts, Farm Book description begins Edwin M. Betts, ed., Thomas Jefferson’s Farm Book, 1953 (in two separately paginated sections; unless otherwise specified, references are to the second section) description ends , pt. 1, p. 107; TJ to Patrick Gibson, 2 Jan. 1816; 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, 2 vols., The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, Second Series description ends ; TJ to Joel Yancey, 15 Aug. 1821; Woods, Albemarle description begins Edgar Woods, Albemarle County in Virginia, 1901, repr. 1991 description ends , 401).

A hurst is the “frame of a pair of millstones,” while a prise is a lever (OED description begins James A. H. Murray, J. A. Simpson, E. S. C. Weiner, and others, eds., The Oxford English Dictionary, 2d ed., 1989, 20 vols. description ends ).

1Word interlined.

Index Entries

  • Gilmore, Joseph; and repair of TJ’s mills search
  • Gilmore, Joseph; identified search
  • Gilmore, Joseph; letter from search
  • levers search
  • machines; levers search
  • scientific instruments; levers search
  • Shadwell mills; repairs to search
  • spades search
  • tools; spades search