Thomas Jefferson Papers

Thomas Jefferson to John Graves, 5 March 1821

To John Graves

Monticello Mar. 5. 21.


It being as convenient to me to pay my note to you, now as it will be at the end of it’s term, I am ready to do it by an order on Richmond. I would have sent the order in this letter, but do not know your post office, or how far it might be safe. if you will advise me by letter how I may send the order to you, or to whom I might deliver it for you, it shall be done on the reciept of your letter. Accept the assurance of my esteem and respect.

Th: Jefferson

RC (ViLxW: Thomas Jefferson Collection); addressed: “Mr John Graves Louisa C.H,” with TJ’s additional notation that “mr Graves’s nearest post office not being known, the Postmaster at Louisa C.H. is requested to forward this to the proper post office”; franked; postmarked. PoC (MHi); on verso of reused address cover of Joseph C. Cabell to TJ, 25 Jan. 1821; endorsed by TJ.

John Graves (d. 1843), planter, married Mary Ragland in Louisa County in 1795. At his death he owned numerous tracts of land in Virginia and Kentucky and personal property valued at $11,965, including at least thirty-nine slaves (Louisa Co. Marriage Bonds, 24 Aug. 1795; Charles James Ragland, The Raglands: The History of a British-American Family [1978–87], 2:291; Louisa Co. Will Book, 11:33–9, 72–4).

In his financial records for 6 Nov. 1820, TJ recorded the purchase from Graves for which he had given my note: “Bought of John Graves of Louisa a horse (the Eagle) for 250.D. and gave my note payable the 30th. of Apr. next. The horse is a fine bay, abt. 16. hands high, 6 y. old last spring, a star in his forehead, 2 hind feet white, a scar below his left eye. Got by Diomede on a Spread-eagle mare of Fearnought blood,” with TJ’s additional notation in left margin: “5 f.—2¾ I. high.” TJ paid Graves with a 22 Mar. 1821 order on Bernard Peyton (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 , 2:1371, 1373).

A response of 13 Mar. by Graves, not found, is recorded in SJL as received 20 Mar. 1821 from “Louisa C.H.”

Index Entries

  • Diomede (TJ’s horse) search
  • Eagle (TJ’s horse) search
  • Graves, John; identified search
  • Graves, John; letter from accounted for search
  • Graves, John; letter to search
  • Graves, John; TJ purchases horse from search
  • Graves, John; TJ’s debt to search
  • horses; TJ buys search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Business & Financial Affairs; debt to J. Graves search
  • Peyton, Bernard; payments made for TJ search