Thomas Jefferson Papers

Thomas Jefferson to Isaac Miller, 14 September 1822

To Isaac Miller

Monticello Sep. 14. 22.

Dear Sir

The inclosed packet was directed to mr Dabney Terril under the belief that it would find him in the state of Kentucky & residing chiefly with you. it has been since suggested that he may be gone to N. Orleans. as the object of the letter is only to ask him to do the friendly act of committing the packet inclosed to particular or other proper counsel at law, I will take the liberty of requesting you, in case of his absence to open the papers addressed to him, and to consider them as addressed to yourself. when once disposed of as is therein recommended, they will leave no other trouble incumbent on you. the bearer mr Greene will put into the hands of mr Terril or yourself the sum of 100. Dollars, Virginia money, as a compensation in part, to the counsel to be employed.   the executors of the late Wilson C. Nicholas are the formal parties, but my grandson Thomas J. Randolph, is the only one of them personally interested; and, altho’ my name can have nothing to do in the suit, yet as I was joint security with him for mr Nicholas, I am in reality equally interested. the case is indeed of immense consequence to us both which I hope will apologise for my asking eventually of you to take the trouble here proposed.   Your friends in this neighborhood are generally well, except mrs Lewis, on whom age and the gout are continually pressing. altho’ of about the same age, I have more health & activity. I am able to walk but little, but can ride 15. or 20. miles without fatigue. I hope you enjoy the good health you had while here & I pray you to accept the assurance of my continued friendship & respect.

Th: Jefferson

P.S. a line on the reciept of these papers assuring me of their safe receipt will relieve me from anxious suspence.

PoC (MHi); on verso of a reused address cover from Bernard Peyton to TJ; at foot of text: “Mr Isaac Miller”; endorsed by TJ. Enclosed in TJ to John H. Peyton, 14 Sept. 1822.

Isaac Miller (ca. 1766–1844), planter and public official, was born in Chester County, Pennsylvania, but relocated while young to Charlottesville, where he married a daughter of TJ’s friends Nicholas Lewis and Mary Walker Lewis. He served as the town’s postmaster, 1792–97, became a magistrate in 1801, owned a tavern and operated a tannery, frequently transacted business with TJ, and sat on a committee to draw up plans for Albemarle County’s new courthouse in 1803. A year later Miller moved his family to Kentucky, settling just outside of Louisville in Jefferson County. The owner of more than a thousand acres and between thirty and forty-five slaves, he served as a federal tax collector, 1814–17, supported Andrew Jackson’s presidential candidacy in 1828, and was a judge on the local circuit court (Warren Kellar Frederick, “Cemeteries and Churches in Jefferson County” [1920 typescript in KyLo], 116; J. Stoddard Johnston, Memorial History of Louisville from its first settlement to the year 1896 [1896], 504–5; Woods, Albemarle description begins Edgar Woods, Albemarle County in Virginia, 1901, repr. 1991 description ends , 81, 252–3, 311, 377, 389; Axelson, Virginia Postmasters description begins Edith F. Axelson, Virginia Postmasters and Post Offices, 1789–1832, 1991 description ends , 3; 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 ; Henry Duncan to TJ, 22 Apr. 1806 [DLC]; Richmond Virginia Gazette, and General Advertiser, 2 Sept. 1807; DNA: RG 29, CS, Ky., Jefferson Co., 1810–40; JEP description begins Journal of the Executive Proceedings of the Senate of the United States description ends , 2:531, 533, 3:71 [1, 5 Oct. 1814, 16 Jan. 1817]; Louisville Western Courier, 19 Sept. 1816; Frankfort Argus of Western America, 16 Jan. 1828).

The inclosed packet, not found, may also have been enclosed in the missing letter of 28 Aug. 1822 from TJ to Dabney C. Terrell (see note to TJ’s letter of that date to Henry Clay). the suit was that of the executors of Wilson Cary Nicholas versus James Morrison and Thomas Deye Owings.

Index Entries

  • gout search
  • Greene, Mr.; and W. C. Nicholas’s estate search
  • health; gout search
  • horses; TJ rides search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Business & Financial Affairs; endorses notes for W. C. Nicholas search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Health; debility search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Health; good health of search
  • Lewis, Mary Walker (Nicholas Lewis’s wife); health of search
  • Miller, Isaac; andWilson Cary Nicholas’s Administrators v. James Morrison and Thomas Deye Owings search
  • Miller, Isaac; identified search
  • Miller, Isaac; letter to search
  • Morrison, James; and W. C. Nicholas’s estate search
  • Nicholas, Wilson Cary (1761–1820); estate of search
  • Nicholas, Wilson Cary (1761–1820); TJ endorses notes for search
  • Owings, Thomas Deye; and W. C. Nicholas’s estate search
  • Randolph, Thomas Jefferson (1792–1875) (TJ’s grandson; Jane Hollins Nicholas Randolph’s husband); and W. C. Nicholas’s estate search
  • Terrell, Dabney Carr (TJ’s grandnephew); andWilson Cary Nicholas’s Administrators v. James Morrison and Thomas Deye Owings search
  • Wilson Cary Nicholas’s Administrators v. James Morrison and Thomas Deye Owings; and I. Miller search
  • Wilson Cary Nicholas’s Administrators v. James Morrison and Thomas Deye Owings; and legal counsel for plaintiffs search