Thomas Jefferson Papers

Thomas G. Watkins to Thomas Jefferson, 2 September 1821

From Thomas G. Watkins

Glenmore Sepr 2. 1821

Dear Sir,

The Revd Robt Tisdale who bears this letter has been introduced to me by letter from Docr James Minor & Major Watson of Louisa—who both concur in recommending him as a man of worth and unblemished character—he applied to me last year, for relief, under an inveterate disease of the stomach &c—for which after remedies used I advised him to travel through a limestone Country—The Gentlemen who introduced Mr Tisdale to me, state that his disease & other misfortunes have reduced his circumstances, but not the confidence & respect of his acquaintance—His misfortunes, however, and consequent slenderer means, must increase his dependence upon the kindness of strangers, for the facility of pursuing his journey of health—This circumstance has induced him to solicit an introduction to you for the purpose of requesting, a statement of your opinion of the characters who recommend him, from the Baptist church—Knowing myself how much your time and attention is taxed by one application or another for various objects—I cou’d not give Mr Tisdale much encouragement on this subject—but from his character from every quarter to me—and the evidences he bears with him from characters, perhaps, known to you—if it is not incompatible with your usual course; his affliction and misfortunes considered it will I think be serving the cause of humanity to make such expression in his favour, as from his recommendations may be deemed by you proper

most respectfully & sincerely yrs

T G Watkins

RC (DLC); endorsed by TJ as received 30 Sept. 1821 and so recorded in SJL.

Robert Tisdale (1778–1856), Baptist minister, was born near Louisa. Baptized in 1806, he was licensed as a Baptist minister in Charles City County six years later, and ordained in Caroline County in 1814. Tisdale traveled extensively in the western part of Virginia in an attempt to improve his health. In 1819 he moved his family to Monroe County, Virginia (later West Virginia). Tisdale worked as an itinerant missionary for the Baptist General Association of Virginia, later moving to a farm in Harrison County (later West Virginia), from which he traveled as an agent of the American Bible Society. He joined a son in Ohio in 1831 before settling five years later in Adams County, Indiana. Tisdale preached and helped establish Baptist churches throughout northeastern Indiana and northwestern Ohio. He was also a promoter and board member of Franklin College, and in 1841–42 he served one term in the Indiana House of Representatives. Tisdale owned real estate valued at $1,100 in 1850. During the last few years of his life he lived in New Corydon, Indiana. Tisdale died on a visit to Montpelier, Indiana (Virginia Baptist Register 6 [1967]: 275, 281; Garnett Ryland, The Baptists of Virginia, 1699–1926 [1955], 205, 207–9, 211, 214; Jeremiah Bell Jeter, The Recollections of a Long Life [1891], 107, 114–5; Tisdale to Archibald Stuart, 8 Dec. 1826 [ViU: Papers of the Stuart-Baldwin Families]; DNA: RG 29, CS, Va., Harrison Co., 1830, Ind., Adams Co., 1840, 1850; Lynchburg Virginian, 24 June 1833; Journal of the House of Representatives, of the State of Indiana [1841–42 sess.]; M. W. Montgomery, History of Jay County, Indiana [1864], 144, 161; Richmond Religious Herald, 25 Dec. 1856; Adams Co., Ind., Will Book, A:181–5).

TJ recorded in SJL that at Monticello on 30 Sept. 1821 he also received a letter from Tisdale, not found, dated 18 Sept. 1821 from Poplar Forest, which may have covered the above communication.

Index Entries

  • health; stomach ailments search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Correspondence; letters of introduction to search
  • Minor, James (of Louisa Co.); recommends R. Tisdale search
  • Tisdale, Robert; identified search
  • Tisdale, Robert; introduced to TJ search
  • Tisdale, Robert; letter from accounted for search
  • Watkins, Thomas G.; as physician search
  • Watkins, Thomas G.; introduces R. Tisdale to TJ search
  • Watkins, Thomas G.; letters from search
  • Watson, David (1773–1830); recommends R. Tisdale search