Thomas Jefferson Papers

Duncan Forbes Robertson to Thomas Jefferson, 12 November 1821

From Duncan Forbes Robertson

Danville Kentucky1 Nov 12th 1821

Dear Sir,

You will no doubt be surprised as well as amazed should you ever receive this scrawl, the purport of which is a request; that if granted will be duly appreciated by me. I have declined making it for some years for fear of giving offence, but calling to mind your age, and that in a short time the opportunity will be forever gone, I can no longer forbear, hoping to be forgiven if considered presuming. The request is this, a small lock of your hair to be left to my children as a memorial of him whose name can never die, and whose many virtues shine so conspicuous, that malice nor envy can never tarnish them. The request would be made in person did not the demands of a large family claim my every exertion for a support. I am a son of Doct Andrew Robertson formerly of Virginia, my eldest sister wife to Doct James Ewell of Washington City, with whose father Col Jesse Ewell I have been informed you were acquainted.

yours with respect

Duncan F Robertson

RC (ViW: TC-JP); addressed: “The Hon, Thomas Jefferson Albemarle County Virginia”; franked; postmarked Danville, Ky., 18 Nov.; endorsed by TJ as received 9 Dec. 1821 and so recorded in SJL; with Dft of TJ to Robertson, 11 Dec. 1821, on address leaf.

Duncan Forbes Robertson (1784–1849), schoolteacher, lived in and near Danville, Kentucky. In 1840 he owned four slaves. He died of cholera in Danville (Hartley Robertson Herman’s 1943 membership application in Sons of the American Revolution archive, Louisville, Ky.; Le Roy J. Halsey, Memoir of the Life and Character of Rev. Lewis Warner Green, D.D. [1871], 5, 6; Jefferson Johnson Polk, Autobiography of Dr. J. J. Polk: to which is added his Occasional Writings and Biographies of Worthy Men and Women of Boyle County, Ky. [1867], 217–20; WMQ description begins William and Mary Quarterly, 1892–  description ends , 2d ser., 14 [1934]: 95; DNA: RG 29, CS, Ky., Lincoln Co., Crab Orchard, 1820, Lincoln Co., 1830, Danville, 1840; Lexington Observer & Reporter, 8 Sept. 1849).

1Remainder of dateline adjacent to signature.

Index Entries

  • Ewell, James; family of search
  • Ewell, Jesse; family of search
  • Ewell, Margaret McIntosh Robertson (James Ewell’s wife); family of search
  • hair; lock of TJ’s requested search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Correspondence; requests for locks of TJ’s hair search
  • Robertson, Andrew; family of search
  • Robertson, Duncan Forbes; and lock of TJ’s hair search
  • Robertson, Duncan Forbes; family and friends of search
  • Robertson, Duncan Forbes; identified search
  • Robertson, Duncan Forbes; letters from search