Thomas Jefferson Papers

Thomas Jefferson to Esther Hutson, 14 November 1821

To Esther Hutson

Natl bridge Nov. 14. 21.


Having found it necessary to reexamine and establish the boundaries of my land at the Natl bridge I engaged Capt Paxto[n] the county surveyor to run the lines according to the patent. on one of these lines, more than a mile long, & where it borders on you we found that your clearing & culture had extended considerably into my lands. as I presume this was done inadvertently I will only request you to be so good as, after you shall have taken off the crop of wheat now growing1 on it, to remove your fence within your line, lest it’s continuance might excite future doubts. Capt Paxton can satisfy you of the exactness of our operations, and there is indeed2 an antient line tree exactly where your fence crosses the line, which Patrick Henry living at the bridge can shew you. I pray you to be assured that I have no disposition to give you trouble or uneasiness as to the past, and only wis[h] to place things at rights for the future and I tender you my best respects


FC (MHi); on verso of left half of enclosure to Littell & Henry to TJ, 24 Sept. 1821; in TJ’s hand; edge trimmed; at foot of text: “Mrs Hudson”; endorsed by TJ.

Esther Hutson (Hudson) was a resident of Rockbridge County by 1820. During a property dispute in 1839 she was deemed to be no longer resident in Virginia (DNA: RG 29, CS, Rockbridge Co., 1820; Vi: RG 48, Personal Property Tax Returns, Rockbridge Co., 1822; Rockbridge Co. Deed Book, Q:323–5; Rockbridge Co. Chancery Order Book [1831–46], 153–4, 182).

Following TJ’s return to Monticello, his granddaughter Virginia J. Randolph (Trist) reported to Nicholas P. Trist on 21 Nov. 1821 that “Grand-Papa returned home yesterday morning having fortunately experienced no ill effects from spending those two cold days at the natural bridge without the protection even of a great coat, for he had forgotten to take his with him, but he suffer’d a good deal with cold yesterday and we are uneasy lest he should still be sick. he lost Wellington on the road, and has supplied his place with a horse equally gentle in the carriage, and which we can ride with safety” (RC in DLC: NPT). TJ recorded that on 19 Nov. 1821 he “Bought of John Flood a mare (Stella) 6. y. old last spring of Janus and Seelah blood. a star, a snip, and 2 hindfeet white. blood bay. 4–10 high. for 80.D. payable Apr. 30” (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 , 2:1381).

1Word interlined.

2Manuscript: “inded.”

Index Entries

  • Flood, John; sells horse to TJ search
  • Henry, Patrick (of Rockbridge Co.); and survey of Natural Bridge search
  • horses; death of search
  • horses; TJ buys search
  • Hutson (Hudson), Esther; identified search
  • Hutson (Hudson), Esther; letter to search
  • Hutson (Hudson), Esther; property dispute with TJ search
  • Janus (horse) search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Health; good health of search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Travels; to Natural Bridge search
  • Natural Bridge, Va.; survey of search
  • Natural Bridge, Va.; TJ visits search
  • Paxton, William; and survey of Natural Bridge search
  • Seelah (Celer; horse) search
  • Stella (horse) search
  • surveying; and Natural Bridge search
  • Wellington (horse) search
  • wheat; at Natural Bridge search
  • women; letters to; E. Hutson search