Thomas Jefferson Papers

Philip P. Barbour to Thomas Jefferson, 10 September 1822

From Philip P. Barbour

Sept. 10th—22.


I beg leave to introduce to your acquaintance, Mr John Fray, & William Wright of Madison, who have some idea of renting your mill. I am acquainted with them both; I consider them gentlemen of great respectability of character, and of entire sufficiency, to meet any engagement which they may make in relation to the renting of the property.

I am resp’ly your’s &c

P. P. Barbour

RC (MHi); endorsed by TJ as received 11 Oct. 1822 and so recorded (with additional bracketed notation: “Fray & Wright”) in SJL. RC (DLC); address cover only; with FC of TJ to James Breckinridge, 22 Dec. 1824, on verso; addressed: “Thomas Jefferson Esqr. Monticello” by “Messrs Fray & Wright.”

John Fray (1787–1880), merchant and miller, was a native of Madison County. The owner of three slaves in 1810 and eighteen two decades later, he moved early in the 1830s to northern Albemarle County, where he established a mill and general store. Fray possessed twenty-seven slaves in 1840, nineteen slaves plus real estate worth $10,800 in 1850, and property valued at $47,000, including twenty slaves, in 1860. Having retired from business by 1870, he died of “senile decay” at his home in Albemarle County (Florence Virginia Fray Lewis, A History & Genealogy of John Fray (Johannes Frey) of Culpeper County, Virginia [1958], 15–7; DNA: RG 29, CS, Madison Co., 1810, 1830, Albemarle Co., 1840–70, 1850 and 1860 slave schedules; Richmond Daily Dispatch, 22 Apr. 1880).

A young merchant named William Wright owned six slaves in Madison County in 1820. This is presumably the same person who later appears in that county as “William J. Wright,” the owner of three slaves in 1830 and seven in 1840 (DNA: RG 29, CS, Madison Co., 1820–40).

Neither Fray nor Wright rented a mill from TJ.

Index Entries

  • Barbour, Philip Pendleton; introduces J. Fray and W. Wright search
  • Barbour, Philip Pendleton; letters from search
  • Fray, John; and TJ’s Shadwell mills search
  • Fray, John; identified search
  • Fray, John; introduced to TJ search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Correspondence; letters of introduction to search
  • Shadwell mills; J. Fray and W. Wright as prospective renters of search
  • Wright, William (of Madison Co.); and TJ’s Shadwell mills search
  • Wright, William (of Madison Co.); identified search
  • Wright, William (of Madison Co.); introduced to TJ search