Thomas Jefferson Papers

Daniel Sheffey to Thomas Jefferson, 30 August 1821

From Daniel Sheffey

Stanton August 30 1821


Dr Horwitz whom I beg leave to introduce to you intends to Visit your part of the country. His object is to obtain a Situation in the University should it be thought expedient, (when that institution goes into operation) to establish a professorship of the oriental Languages

Dr Horwitz has been engaged here for some time as a teacher of the Hebrew Language. He has given great satisfaction to every one of his pupils, several of whom are men of considerable learning. So far as I am capable to Judge, I consider his course of Instruction very excellent. It tends to render the Subject Simple; and produces results which I would Scarcely have believed.

I am very respectfully

Y &

D Sheffey

RC (MHi); endorsed by TJ as received 11 Sept. 1821 and so recorded (with additional notation: “by Dr Horwitz” [Jonas Horwitz]) in SJL.

Daniel Sheffey (1770–1830), attorney and public official, was born in Fredericktown (later Frederick), Maryland, and trained under his father as a shoemaker. Sheffey practiced this trade first in Winchester and then in Wythe County. In the latter place he studied law under Alexander Smyth and began his own practice as an attorney. Sheffey became a prominent local Freemason, represented Wythe County in the Virginia House of Delegates, 1800–04 and 1808–09, was a member of the Senate of Virginia, 1804–08, and served in the United States House of Representatives, 1809–17, where he was among the most prominent and outspoken Virginia Federalists. As a congressman, Sheffey opposed the War of 1812 and supported rechartering the Bank of the United States. He relocated to Staunton around 1817, and he was likely the author, in his role as legal counsel, of the Answer of the President and Directors of the Rivanna Company to TJ’s Bill of Complaint, 7 Apr. 1818. Sheffey returned to the House of Delegates, 1822–23, this time representing Augusta County. He owned ten slaves in 1810 and eight in 1830. Sheffey died suddenly at McClung’s Tavern in Bath County while on his way home from court (Harry K. Smith, “Daniel Sheffey,” John P. Branch Historical Papers of Randolph-Macon College 4 [1916]: 364–71; DNA: RG 29, CS, Wythe Co., 1810, Staunton, 1820, 1830; 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 ; Noble E. Cunningham Jr., ed., Circular Letters of Congressmen to Their Constituents, 1789–1829 [1978], 2:769–76, 816–28; Augusta Co. Will Book, 19:459–64; Staunton City Will Book, 1:252–7, 257–9, 2:2–3; Lynchburg Virginian, 13, 16 Dec. 1830; Lexington Intelligencer, 18 Dec. 1830; Southern Literary Messenger 4 [1838]: 346–7; gravestone inscription in Trinity Episcopal Churchyard, Staunton).

Index Entries

  • Hebrew language; applicants to teach at University of Virginia search
  • Horwitz, Jonas; recommended to TJ search
  • Horwitz, Jonas; seeks position at University of Virginia search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Correspondence; letters of application and recommendation to search
  • language; Hebrew search
  • patronage; letters of application and recommendation to TJ search
  • Sheffey, Daniel; identified search
  • Sheffey, Daniel; introduces J. Horwitz to TJ search
  • Sheffey, Daniel; letter from search
  • Virginia, University of; Faculty and Curriculum; faculty applicants search