Thomas Jefferson Papers

John Taliaferro to Thomas Jefferson, 4 June 1821

From John Taliaferro

Hagley, near Fredericksburg, 4th of June 1821—

Dear Sir,

You will receive this from Mr Ridgeley a young gentleman of my acquaintance of great respectability & merit from Lexington in the State of Kentucky, who proposes to pass thro’ your neighborhood in his way home, & has expressed an earnest desire to avail himself of the only opportunity which he may have to see you—He calculates on his way to receive a letter of introduction to you from his relative Mr Short, whom you have long known—This is intended to obviate any embarrassment which the failure to receive the letter of Mr Short might produce—With the sincere wish that you may enjoy good health, & that your useful life may be long spared to us, I am dear Sir most respectfully & truly

Your friend & Servt

John Taliaferro

RC (MHi); endorsed by TJ as received “by mr Ridgeley” on 10 June 1821 and so recorded in SJL. RC (ViU: TJP); address cover only; with PoC of TJ to Thomas Mann Randolph, 21 July 1821, on verso; addressed: “Thomas Jefferson esqr Monticello” by “Mr Ridgeley.”

John Taliaferro (ca. 1768–1853), attorney and public official, was a native of King George County. He attended the College of New Jersey (later Princeton University) in 1786. Taliaferro represented King George County in the Virginia House of Delegates for one session, 1800–01. He then served in the United States House of Representatives for nine terms between 1801 and 1843, first as a Republican and later as a Whig. Taliaferro sat in the Senate of Virginia for four terms between 1817 and 1821, and he was elected to the state constitutional convention of 1829–30 but resigned before it completed its deliberations. He died at his home in King George County (Princetonians description begins James McLachlan and others, eds., Princetonians: A Biographical Dictionary, 1976–90, 5 vols. description ends , 1784–90, pp. 292–5; Leonard, General Assembly description begins Cynthia Miller Leonard, comp., The General Assembly of Virginia, July 30, 1619–January 11, 1978: A Bicentennial Register of Members, 1978 description ends ; Jackson, Papers description begins Sam B. Smith, Harold D. Moser, Daniel Feller, and others, eds., The Papers of Andrew Jackson, 1980– , 10 vols. description ends , 6:453–5; King George Co. Will Book, 4:83–4; Washington Daily National Intelligencer, 20 Aug. 1853).

Greenbury William Ridgely (1798–1883), Episcopal clergyman, was a nephew of TJ’s friend William Short. Born in Lexington, Kentucky, he graduated in 1815 from Transylvania University in that city, and he studied law the following year under Tapping Reeve and James Gould in Litchfield, Connecticut. Ridgely was an unsuccessful candidate for territorial secretary of Arkansas in 1819. He subsequently trained at the Princeton Theological Seminary, 1823–24, and entered the ministry. Ridgely then spent some time as a chaplain in the United States Navy, officiated at churches in Pennsylvania, and edited the Philadelphia Episcopal Recorder from 1844–47 before moving to Maryland, where he died (Joseph H. Dulles, comp., Princeton Theological Seminary Biographical Catalogue, 1909 [1909], 55; MdBJ: Ridgely Family Papers; The Litchfield Law School, 1784–1833 [1900], 17; George Green Shackelford, ed., “To Practice Law: Aspects of the Era of Good Feelings Reflected in the Short-Ridgely Correspondence, 1816–1821,” Maryland Historical Magazine 64 [1969]: 342–95; Clay, Papers description begins James F. Hopkins and others, eds., The Papers of Henry Clay, 1959–92, 11 vols. description ends , 2:418, 3:14, 6:660–2, supplement, p. 72; DNA: RG 59, LAR, 1817–25; Callahan, U.S. Navy description begins Edward W. Callahan, List of Officers of the Navy of the United States and of the Marine Corps from 1775 to 1900, 1901, repr. 1969 description ends , 462; A Checklist of Pennsylvania Newspapers [1944], 50; gravestone inscription in Saint Paul’s Cemetery, Hillsboro, Md.).

Index Entries

  • Jefferson, Thomas; Correspondence; letters of introduction to search
  • Ridgely, Greenbury William; identified search
  • Ridgely, Greenbury William; introduced to TJ search
  • Short, William; introduces G. W. Ridgely search
  • Taliaferro, John; identified search
  • Taliaferro, John; introduces G. W. Ridgely search
  • Taliaferro, John; letter from search