Thomas Jefferson Papers

Thomas Jefferson’s Account with Absalom H. Brooks, [July 1821]

Account with Absalom H. Brooks

1821 Thomas Jefferson Esqr In a/c
July with A H Brooks
To Cuting and machening 4 boxes and 55 Sheets of tin a $1 pr box $ 4. 25
To Covering 5 Square 75 feet   a $5 pr Square 28  75
$33. 00
By 1 Straw nife 3.
By Boarding

Recd Payment A H Brooks

MS (DLC: TJ Papers, 220:39351); in Brooks’s hand; partially dated; endorsed by TJ (with Brooks’s given name rendered so as to mimic his signature: ); with calculations by TJ on verso:

“5.75   33.00 ( 5.74
28 75
  4 250
  4 025

Absalom H. Brooks (1786–1845), tinsmith, learned his trade in Baltimore. By 1810 he was a resident of Augusta County, and he lived the majority of his life in Staunton. Brooks was first employed at the University of Virginia in the summer of 1819 and continued to work there until 1822, applying tin roofing to multiple pavilions, hotels, and dormitory buildings. Between 28 and 31 July 1821 TJ paid him a total of $42 for putting a tin roof on the North Pavilion at Monticello, but eventually he found his fees too high. In 1826, however, Brooks was TJ’s first choice to repair the leaking dome of the university’s Rotunda. He also constructed gutters for Western State Hospital in Staunton in 1830 and covered a domed roof with zinc at that facility in around 1833. Brooks owned no slaves in 1810 and 1820 and one in 1830 and 1840 (Joseph A. Waddell, Annals of Augusta County, Virginia [1886], 258; DNA: RG 29, CS, Augusta Co., 1810, Staunton, 1820–40; James Dinsmore’s Report on Tin to Central College Board of Visitors, 10 Nov. 1818; Dinsmore to Arthur S. Brockenbrough, 2 July 1819, and Proctor’s Ledgers [both in ViU: PP]; 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 , 2:1377; TJ to John Patterson, 8 Aug. 1821; TJ to Charles Yancey [1770–1857], 12 July 1822; Brooks to TJ, 25 July, 1 Aug. 1822; TJ to Brooks, 28 July 1822; TJ to John H. Cocke, 20 May 1826; Brooks to Brockenbrough, [received 13 June 1826], 19 June 1826 [ViU: PP]; JHD description begins Journal of the House of Delegates of the Commonwealth of Virginia description ends [1830–31 sess.], appendix, document 34, p. 5; [1833–34 sess.], appendix, document 40, p. 2; Augusta Co. Will Book, 26:410–1, 27:63; gravestone inscription in Thornrose Cemetery, Staunton).

Index Entries

  • Brooks, Absalom H.; as tinsmith search
  • Brooks, Absalom H.; identified search
  • Brooks, Absalom H.; TJ’s account with search
  • building materials; tin search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Business & Financial Affairs; account with A. H. Brooks search
  • knives; straw search
  • Monticello (TJ’s Albemarle Co. estate); roofs at search
  • tin; roofs search
  • tools; straw knives search