Thomas Jefferson Papers

Thomas Jefferson to James Bowling, 28 July 1820

To James Bowling

Monticello July 28. 20.


I recieved last night only your favor of the 13th. it was the first notice I had of any difficulty in the settlemen[t] with your son. I shall be in Bedford within three weeks from this time and shall readily concur in an amicable arrangement of it: nor can I apprehend any difficulties between reasonable men, acting on just views, and with some spirit of conciliation and concession. should any arise however, good men mutually chosen will decide what is right and bring all to rights. I will give you notice on my arrival at Poplar Forest and in the mean time salute you with respect.

Th: Jefferson

PoC (MHi); on verso of reused address cover of John Laval to TJ, 1 Apr. 1820; edge trimmed; at foot of text: “Mr James Bowling senr”; endorsed by TJ.

James Bowling (1752–1836), soldier and farmer, was born in Saint Marys County, Maryland. Having moved by the outbreak of the Revolutionary War to Amherst County, Virginia, he enlisted there as a private in the autumn of 1775. During service of more than a year, Bowling saw action at the Battle of Great Bridge in December 1775 and at Norfolk shortly thereafter. Later in the conflict he helped guard British and Hessian prisoners of war in Albemarle County. Following the cessation of hostilities, Bowling returned permanently to Amherst County, where he owned ten slaves in 1810 and nineteen in 1830. He left an estate that included 606 acres of land and nine slaves, with his combined real and personal property worth just over $9,000 (National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution, DAR Patriot Index [2003], 1:272; Vi: photocopies of Bowling pension papers; The Pension Roll of 1835 [1835; indexed ed., 1992], 3:748; DNA: RG 29, CS, Amherst Co., 1810, 1830; Lynchburg Virginian, 24 Nov. 1836; Amherst Co. Will Book, 9:311–2).

Bowling’s letter of the 13th July 1820, not found, is recorded in SJL as received 27 July 1820 from “near Lynchbg.” At this time TJ owed Bowling’s son Lewis Bowling $300 plus interest for his recent service as a Poplar Forest overseer (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 , 2:1378).

Index Entries

  • Bowling, James; and TJ’s debt to L. Bowling search
  • Bowling, James; identified search
  • Bowling, James; letter from accounted for search
  • Bowling, James; letters to search
  • Bowling, Lewis; TJ’s debt to search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Business & Financial Affairs; debt to L. Bowling search
  • Poplar Forest (TJ’s Bedford Co. estate); TJ plans visits to search