Thomas Jefferson Papers

Absalom H. Brooks to Thomas Jefferson, 1 August 1822

From Absalom H. Brooks

Staunton August 1st 1822


I received your favor this day Stating that I informd you that I Can put on a Squaire a day. my Self and apprentic never did put on but verry little more than a Squaire in a day nor do I beleave any man can do it, so I must have said wee Could insted of my Self as to the price it was 5 d not 5.75 d as to the Simplisity of the work I beleve a Carefull tinplateworker will Save as mutch tin as will pay any negros wages and a greate deale over if you will put youre self to the troble to Examen the Seames of work don on the west range you will find that thare is a Considerable more tin put on that building then I put on buildings of the Same Sise. the macheine Comes next I have seene it and I would venter all that I posess if disposed to bet that I Can turne more tin in three hours than Can be turnd with it in a day as to the cost of the covering that the negro don I think from the time he was covering the building next the roade thare Could be no calculation made for it was a long time and I think I was in that nabourhood twiste and it was not half done when I was thare last and I think it seven or Eight weeks from the first to the last time I heard Severel Say from the waist of tin and the lenght of time Spent it would be Cheaper to give me my price than otherwise in my other letter I laide down a rule by whitch you Could assertain the difference in time betweene putting tin and wood but you have over looked it Sapose I was to go from home forty or fifty miles to put on 20 Squaire at 2„50 d what would I make it would take my self and a nother hand a bout a month frome the time wee left home till wee returned I Could not get any Jorneman to work out for less than twenty dollars and his board and washing which would Cost me nearley twelve dollars which would be 32 d then I would have 18 d for my months work and traveling Expence[s] which would be if I went in the stage about Seven dollars, and the weare and tarre of Close would bring it down to but a trifle. yess to less than ten dollars besides I must always give one dollar for the carriage of the machene it would bring it down to five dollars in the month than I Earent Every weeke when I worked peace worke in baltemore I would heare mention that five dollars is the least that I have heard of it Should be a good price because it is engoorous to the Eyes no pirson Can work at it unless thare Eys are verry good it has worsted mine some I would not accuse you with aiming at doing me an enjurery no Sir I bleave you would not harme any man if you new it but I must insist upon it that you have not had an opper tunity of Judging what it is worth to Cover with tin because it allways took us both about as many days as thare was squaires and I am Convinced that wee could put more on than any three men.

I am thankfull for your attention and esteem to me and sorry that I hav to troble you so mutch as to ask the Same favour a Second time

I am Sincerely youre friend and well wisher

A. H. Brooks

RC (DLC); edge chipped; endorsed by TJ as received 3 Aug. 1822 and so recorded in SJL. RC (CSmH: JF-BA); address cover only; with Dft of TJ to Stephen Simpson, 27 Oct. 1824, on verso; addressed: “Mr Thos Jefferson Monticello”; franked; postmarked Staunton, 2 Aug.

Index Entries

  • African Americans; and University of Virginia search
  • Brooks, Absalom H.; and University of Virginia search
  • Brooks, Absalom H.; as tinsmith search
  • Brooks, Absalom H.; letters from search
  • building materials; shingles search
  • building materials; tin search
  • carriages; stagecoaches search
  • health; vision loss search
  • machines; for bending tin search
  • tin; roofs search
  • Virginia, University of; Construction and Grounds; African Americans (free and enslaved) employed at search
  • Virginia, University of; Construction and Grounds; roofs search
  • Virginia, University of; Construction and Grounds; tinsmiths search
  • Virginia, University of; Construction and Grounds; West Range search
  • wood; shingles search