Thomas Jefferson Papers

Thomas G. Watkins to Thomas Jefferson, 5 November 1820

From Thomas G. Watkins

Glenmore Novr 5. 1820.

Dear Sir,

I have made this year a small experiment of the probable advantage of raising the mangel Wurtzel of the germans in our part of the country—It is the Disette of the French—scarcity root of the English—Beta altissima of Botanists. Those I send you are not quite the largest I have—one with the leaves weighed 10¾ ℔s without—8 ℔s—I intend to report my experiment to the agricultural society with much exactness as to facts and calculation, & think I shall shew that few articles more valuable for stock &c can be raised among us—if you think it worth while, the largest four sent you, can be buried in a hole under a conical top like turnips, & preserved to bear seed next spring.1 they shou’d be carefully set far away from the common beet, as they wou’d most probably amalgamate with these—The smaller ones sent I shou’d be thankful if the ladies at Monticello, wou’d give a fair trial, as to their esculent qualities—they may require more boiling than the common beet, as they are of a stouter texture

I am with the greatest respect

& affectn yr Obdt Servt

T G Watkins

RC (MHi); dateline at foot of text; addressed: “Mr Jefferson Monticello”; endorsed by TJ as a letter of 6 Nov. 1820 received the following day.

Watkins gave his report on the cultivation of mangel-wurzel in a letter dated Glenmore, 11 Nov. 1820, addressed to Peter Minor, secretary of the Agricultural Society of Albemarle, and printed in the American Farmer 2 (1820): 300. The letter was read at the society’s 7 May 1821 meeting (True, “Agricultural Society,” description begins Rodney H. True, “Minute Book of the Agricultural Society of Albemarle,” Annual Report of the American Historical Association for the Year 1918 (1921), 1:261–349 description ends 293).

1Omitted period at right margin editorially supplied.

Index Entries

  • Agricultural Society of Albemarle; reports sent to search
  • beets search
  • crops; mangel-wurzel search
  • food; beets search
  • livestock; feed for search
  • mangel-wurzel search
  • Minor, Peter; and Agricultural Society of Albemarle search
  • Watkins, Thomas G.; letters from search
  • Watkins, Thomas G.; on mangel-wurzel search