Thomas Jefferson Papers

Thomas Jefferson to William Bain, 12 July 1820

To William Bain

Monticello July 12. 20.


My grandson has made a last effort to get hi[s]1 tenant to give up the grounds at the Secretary’s ford. but the tenant2 appears to be entirely unwilling to part with it and would requir[e] in exchange such a sacrifice of the adjacent fields as would destroy the value of the remainder. I fear therefore that that ground is not to be obtained. as you seemed anxious to have some certain resource on the approaching expiratio[n] of your term at Bleinheim, you may consider yourself as free to take the place at Ingraham’s meadow of which we spoke. I should require 2.D. an acre for the meadow part only, and nothing for the highlands you might occupy. after the expiration of August I would assist you in erecting any log buildin[gs] you might need, and in the winter in enclosing the grounds. a lease for 5. years, no rent for the 1st year, and probab[ly] that for the following years would be taken out mostly in serv[ice] and vegetables. on all this you will determine as you please and when you please and accept my best wishes.

Th: Jefferson

PoC (MHi); on verso of a reused address cover from Thomas Mann Randolph to TJ; edge trimmed; damaged at seal, with one word rewritten by TJ; at foot of text: “Mr Baine”; endorsed by TJ as a letter to “Baine” and so recorded in SJL.

William Bain (b. ca. 1792), farmer and gardener, was a native of Scotland. In the summer of 1820 he was working at Blenheim, a plantation located about five miles south of Monticello. There is no evidence that Bain leased the nearby Ingraham’s tract from TJ. He moved with his family to Maryland by the latter half of the 1820s, settled in Baltimore, and made his living there as a gardener and nurseryman from early in the 1840s until at least 1860 (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 , 1:76n, 372n; DNA: RG 29, CS, Albemarle Co., 1820, Md., Baltimore, 1850, Ga., Clarke Co., 1860 [entry for son William A. Bain]; Matchett’s Baltimore Director, or Register of Householders, corrected up to June, 1842 [(1842)], 71; Woods’ Baltimore City Directory [(1860)], 28).

TJ’s grandson was Thomas Jefferson Randolph.

1Word faint.

2Preceding two words reworked from “he.”

Index Entries

  • Bain, William; and lease of Albemarle Co. land search
  • Bain, William; identified search
  • Bain, William; letter to search
  • Blenheim (Albemarle Co. estate) search
  • food; vegetables search
  • Ingraham’s tract (TJ’s Albemarle Co. property) search
  • Randolph, Thomas Jefferson (TJ’s grandson; Jane Hollins Nicholas Randolph’s husband); as manager of Monticello search
  • rent; from Ingraham’s tract search
  • rent; paid in service and vegetables search
  • Secretary’s Ford (Albemarle Co.); TJ’s property at search