Blog posts may be reprinted without permission,
provided a link to www.JeffersonLeadership.com is included.

Category Archives: Monticello

Was Jefferson GREEN?

…  I should ask the favor of you to select for me in Philadelphia 3. of the handsomest stoves, of the kind called Open stoves, or Rittenhouse stoves, which are in fact nothing more than the Franklin stove …  the Rittenhouse stove is the one commonly used in Philadelphia …  the taste is left to yourself … debit me with them in their account.
To Benjamin Henry Latrobe, November 3, 1804

Patrick Lee’s Explanation
All leaders have to stay warm!
Latrobe (1764-1820), America’s first professional working architect, emigrated from England in 1796. He quickly gained a following and was appointed by President Jefferson as Surveyor of Public Buildings in 1803. He also served as superintendent for the construction of the U.S. Capitol.

Jefferson wanted to improve the efficiency of the fireplaces at Monticello. Well-familiar with Latrobe and his design sense, he asked the architect to secure for him “3. of the handsomest stoves” in Philadelphia. They were to be Rittenhouse stoves, an improved design of the one created decades before by Benjamin Franklin. Both stoves brought in cold air for combustion, returned heated air to the room and slowed the exhaust of fumes and smoke.

Rittenhouse (1732-1796), noted mathematician, inventor, and astronomer, was the second president of the American Philosophical Society, the nation’s premier intellectual organization of scientists. Benjamin Franklin was one of APS’s founders in 1743, the year of Jefferson’s birth, and its first president. The third APS president, following Rittenhouse’s death, was Thomas Jefferson, an office he would hold and chererish for 20 years.

True to form, when Jefferson wanted something, he just bought it. He did not inquire the price of the three stoves, only directing the bill be sent to his agent.

“You are an amazingly talented man …
we are grateful for what you did for us.”
President, National Speakers Association
Your audience will be grateful for Thomas Jefferson’s message.
Invite him to speak. Call 573-657-2739
1 Comment Posted in Architecture, Monticello Tagged , , , , , , , , , , |

This has to stop! Help me, please.

[This post marks #900 since the blog’s inception in February, 2011!]

Craven & Lillie at last have come to an open rupture: a desperate battle took place between them 4 days since: it terminated without serious injury to either but a bruising and languor to both which will keep them apart a long time I think. Both claim the victory and both look like defeat.
Thomas Mann Randolph to Thomas Jefferson, October 11, 1804

I have learnt with extreme concern the rupture between Craven & Lilly, and percieve that it will become extremely embarassing & prejudicial to my affairs unless it can be made up. this can only be done by an oblivion [choice to not remember] of the past without going into any enquiry which was most in the wrong.
To Thomas Mann Randolph, October 28, 1804

Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Absentee leaders have the deck stacked against them.
Lilly was the overseer of non-agriculture activities at Monticello. Craven was an adjoining landowner who also leased some of Jefferson’s Monticello lands. The two men had come to blows, perhaps over the President’s livestock that had made their way onto Craven’s property.

As long as the Presidency forced Jefferson to be an absentee landowner, he was seriously dependent on both men to keep his home operation running smoothly. He saw no way forward unless each man would choose to forget the offense and move on. He would impress that point on each man. He also thought the combatants would benefit from the efforts of a mediator, and he asked Mann, his son-in-law, to fill that role.

“It was again a pleasure to host your performance …
you have again developed a believable authentic personification …”
Runge Nature Center Manager, Missouri Department of Conservation
Your audience will be convinced they are in the presence of Thomas Jefferson!
Invite him to speak. Call 573-657-2739
1 Comment Posted in Agriculture, Human nature, Monticello Tagged , , , , , , , , , , |

WHAT was he thinking?

to cover with sheet iron in ridges & gutturs
let the ridges be 6. I. high & 5. times that in span=30 I.
then the slope will be 16.15 and adding 1.85 I. for the lap the sheets of iron must be 18. I. wide
consequently 18 I. of sheet clears only 15. I. horizontal, and if the sheets cost 18. D. the square, the cost of a horizontal square will be as 15 I.:18 I.::18 D.:21.6 D
(note the thickest tin is 18. D a box of 100. sheets 16¾ by 12¼=142. sq. feet the thin tin is 18 D a box of 225 sheets 14 I. by 10 I.=220. sq. feet.)
method of doing it.
place your joists 30. I. apart from center to center. let them be …
Notes and Drawings … Iron for Ridges and Gutters, 30 September 1804

Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Every leader needs some escape the pressures of work.
This excerpt, atypical for Jefferson Leadership Blog posts, is a different look inside the mind of Thomas Jefferson. It is a small segment of a lengthy list of measurements and directions for fabricating new iron ridges and gutters for the roof of his beloved home.

A leaky roof was a continual problem at Monticello. So was a convenient water source for a home located on top of a hill, distant from springs and rivers. Eventually, a new roofing and gutter system minimized both problems, effectively shedding the rain from the roof and collecting it in cisterns. These notes may have been been part of Monticello’s evolution from both leaky yet water-deprived to dry but water at hand.

Take a brief look at the full text, available through the link above. Like me, you will probably understand very little of it. Also like me, you might be impressed at the complexity and specificity of his mind.

“You … enthralled our general session …
And our members loved it all.”
Director of Member Services & Education, Minnesota Rural Electric Association
Your members will love Thomas Jefferson.
Invite him to speak. Call 573-657-2739
1 Comment Posted in Architecture, Monticello Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , |

He is a very good man. Help him, please.

… James Oldham … is an able workman … skilled in the orders of architecture, honest, sober and industrious. he wishes to get into business on a larger scale than that of merely monthly wages and I have recommended Richmond … taking an interest in his success, and knowing that a first introduction is the most difficult step, I have taken the liberty of making his character known to you, and of asking your advice and influence on his behalf towards getting himself under way. …you may rely on his acquitting himself of his undertakings so as to do justice to your recommendation.
To John  Harvie, September 27, 1804

Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Empowering leaders help their subordinates move out and up.
Oldham was a joiner, a workman skilled in fashioning every kind of high-quality finished woodwork. Jefferson had employed him for over three years at Monticello. Oldham wanted to better himself, and his patron suggested taking his skills to Richmond. He sent this letter of introduction to an old family friend there.

Jefferson listed Oldham’s qualities. He was:
– Skilled
– Hard working
– Honest
– Sober

Jefferson assured his friend that any work he helped the joiner find would bring credit back to Harvie for the recommendation.

“Your presentations hit the fine line between human interest and factual information.
You are able to present leading themes and messages
without overloading us with unnecessary data.”

Executive Director, National Coal Transportation Association
Invite Thomas Jefferson to speak.
Call 573-657-2739
Leave a comment Posted in Miscellaneous, Monticello Tagged , , , , , , , , , , |

These are not good places to stay. The others are worse.

… all roads appear bad to the traveller …[but I] recommend to you the Threenotched road through the whole way. it is well known by that name. it … crosses few streams, & offers few hills. your first stage should be at Leek’s, 20 miles from Richmond. the only one afterward’s at which you can lodge is Price’s about 35. miles from Leek’s. the next morning you have 22. miles to breakfast here … the two houses I have recommended, Leek’s & Price’s are bad enough, but less bad considerably than any others on the road.
To John Page, August 14, 1803

Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Leaders sometimes have to recommend the best out of multiple poor choices.
Page (1743-1808), just 15 days younger than his lifelong friend Jefferson, was a noted Virginia politician and Governor of Virginia at the time of this letter. When the President learned his old friend would be bringing his family for visit at Monticello, he was quick to recommend the route to travel the 77 miles from Richmond.

“Threenotched road” was the best one to use. It would require spending two nights at boarding houses en route. The two he recommended, Price’s and Leek’s, were bad places, but they weren’t as bad as all the alternatives.

“Many in the audience were impressed by the fact
that you had ‘done your homework about us’.”
Executive Vice President, American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science
Mr. Jefferson will research your organization
and tailor his remarks to the interests of your audience.
Invite him to speak. Call 573-657-2739
Leave a comment Posted in Monticello, Travel Tagged , , , , , , , , |

Was Thomas Jefferson just a very smart snake?

THIS POST WAS SUPPOSED TO GO OUT JULY 4, BUT I’VE HAD A MAJOR GLITCH WITH MY BLOG. 😥

 

On our nation’s 242nd birthday, I’m addressing the increasing tide of criticism leveled against Thomas Jefferson. While commended for his accomplishments, he is belittled for being highly flawed, a hypocrite, a racist, perhaps even a rapist.

This latter view was on full display in a June 15 column in the Washington Post. To their credit, my local newspaper, the Columbia (MO) Daily Tribune published my rebuttal. The links below offer both editorials.

A very smart snake

Very smart, and not a snake at all 

Happy Birthday to the marvelous work-in-progress that is the USA!

Happy Birthday to one of its Founding Fathers, Thomas Jefferson.

There! I feel better already!

The real Thomas Jefferson
… the one who is principled, moral, spiritual and generous …
would be honored to share his experiences with your audience.
Invite him to speak. Call 573-657-2739
Leave a comment Posted in Monticello, Sally Hemings, Slavery Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , |

Google Maps, Thomas Jefferson Style

NOTE: Glance over the text then skip to the explanation

From Edgehill to Gordon’s 18. miles.  

 

A good tavern, but cold victuals on the road will be better than any thing which any of the country taverns will give you. lodge at Gordon’s go

to Orange courthouse 10. miles to breakfast. a good tavern. on leaving Orange courthouse be very attentive to the roads, as they begin to be difficult to find.
Adams’s mill 7. miles. here you enter the flat country which continues 46. miles on your road.
Downey’s ford 2. here you ford the Rapidan. the road leads along the bank 4 miles further, but in one place, a little below Downey’s, it turns off at a right angle from the river to go round a gut. at this turn, if not very attentive, you will go strait forward, as there is a strait forward road still along the bank, which soon descends it & crosses the river. if you get into this, the space on the bank is so narrow you cannot turn. you will know the turn I speak of, by the left hand road (the one you are to take) tacking up directly towards some huts, 100 yards off, on a blue clayey rising; but before getting to the huts, your road leads off to the right again to the river. no tavern from Orange courthouse till you get to
Stevensburg 11. miles. you will have to stop here at Zimmerman’s tavern (brother in law of Catlett) to feed your horses, and to feed yourselves, unless you should have brought something to eat on the road side, before arriving at Stevensburg. Zimmerman’s, is an indifferent house. you will there probably see mr Ogilvie: he will certainly wish to be sent for to see mr Randolph.
mr Strode’s 5. miles. it will be better to arrive here in the evening. on stopping at his gate, you will see Herring’s house about 2 or 300 yards further on1 the road. you had better order your servants (except your nurse) horses & carriage & baggage (not absolutely wanting at night) to go straight there, where those sent from here will be waiting for you.
Bronaugh’s tavn. at Elkrun church. 13. miles. the only tavern you will pass this day. obliging people.
Slate run church. 14 ½ miles. here you leave the flat country & engage in a very hilly one.
Brown’s tavern 5 ½ miles. here you will have to dine & lodge being the first tavern from Bronaugh’s.2 a poor house, but obliging people.
Fairfax court house 15. miles. you can either breakfast here, or go on to
Colo. Wren’s tavern 8. miles. a very decent house and respectable people.
George town ferry 6. miles.

Enclosure to Martha Jefferson Randolph, June 3, 1802

Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Detail-obsessed leaders/fathers/grandfathers just can’t help themselves.
In an accompanying letter, Jefferson wrote his daughter that he was at Monticello, and she and her family should join him there soon. He warned her the measles were everywhere, so they were in no greater danger with him than someplace else. He described the itinerary in general, calling attention to where the road was narrow, obscure, and when she’d have to get out of the carriage and walk.

He enclosed this detailed breakdown of the 115 mile trip from Edgehill, where the Randolph’s lived, to the George town ferry, where he would send horse and carriage for her. It appears they would have to lodge five or six nights on their journey.

“Thanks again for the wonderful presentation by President Jefferson.”
Program Committee Chair, National American Wildife Enforcement Officers Association
Let Mr. Jefferson make a wonderful presentation for your audience!
Invite him to speak. Call 573-657-2739
Leave a comment Posted in Family matters, Monticello, Travel Tagged , , , , , , , , |

Toilets are more important!

I recieved your favor of the 16th. by the last post, whereby I observe you are engaged on the N. Western cornice of the house. I would much rather have the 2d. and 3d. air-closets finished before any thing else; because it will be very disagreeable working in them after even one of them begins to be in use. I shall be at Monticello within a fortnight from this time.
To James Oldham, April 24, 1802

Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Leaders, like everyone else, must consider life’s most basic needs!
James Oldham was a joiner, one skilled in making things from wood, employed at Monticello from 1801-04. Twenty five years after Jefferson started construction, his mansion was still a work-in-progress. Oldham reported he was working on an architectural molding (cornice). Jefferson responded that he wanted the additional toilets (air-closets) done first.

His plan included three interior toilets, a private one off his bedroom, already in existence, and two others accessible from the first and second floors. At the very least, the toilets had pots under the seat which a slave would have emptied daily. Waste may have gone to the basement level to be emptied from there. Some of Jefferson’s earlier plans included piping water from a higher elevation into the house for some type of flushing system, but there is no indication that function was completed. His air-closets included skylights for illumination and ventilation shafts to carry away odors. Most evidence of the toilets and their operation disappeared decades ago with Monticello’s early restoration and the addition of a heating and cooling system.

It appears all three toilets would use the same ventilation system. Since Jefferson was in Washington City, his toilet was not in use. Oldham would encounter no odor problems installing the others. Jefferson told his joiner he would be home in two weeks. In other words, get them done before I return, and working conditions will be much more favorable for you.

For more than you ever wanted to know about Monticello’s air-closets and privies, read this.

“Everyone, to a person, commented on how thorough you were
and how every detail that was possible to recreate was covered.”
President, Cole County Historical Society
Mr. Jefferson’s thoroughness and attention to detail will delight your audience!
Invite him to speak. Call 573-657-273
Leave a comment Posted in Monticello Tagged , , , , , , , |

What I have is the opposite of what I wanted.

my strongest predilections are for study, rural occupations, & retirement within a small but cherished society. born, as I unfortunately was, in an age of revolution, my life has been wasted on the billows of revolutionary storm. the sweet sensations & affections of domestic society have been exchanged with me for the bitter & deadly feuds of party: encircled with political enemies & spies, instead of my children & friends. time however & the decay of years is now fast advancing that season when it will be seen that I can no longer be of use, even in the eyes of those partial to me: and I shall be permitted to pass through the pains & infirmities of age in the shades of Monticello.
To Madame De Corny, April 23, 1802

Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Committed leaders play the hand dealt to them.
De Corny was one of a small number of cultured, educated women Jefferson came to admire during his ambassadorship to France, 1784-89. They resumed a correspondence in 1801 after a decade of self-imposed silence, though he had periodically inquired about her and sent regards to her through others. Her letter to him a year before was full of sadness over a lack of communication from him and her greatly diminished existence in post-revolutuionary France.

Prehaps Jefferson wanted to commiserate with De Corny by contrasting the life he would have preferred with the one thrust on him by events. He had to forego the joys of home, family, friendship, farming and books for the thankless task of politics, governing, and enemies at every turn.

Not 14 months into his Presidency that would consume seven more years, he was already looking forward to retirement, when through time and decrepitude, “I can no longer be of use.” Only then could he enjoy what was left of his life at Monticello, where he would have preferred to spend all of it.

“I have now hired you three times to present your characters to my annual conference…
Each brought value and a unique, inspiring message to our group.”
Executive Director, National Coal Transportation Association
Thomas Jefferson and his compatriots, Daniel Boone & William Clark,
will bring unique, valuable and inspiring messages to your audience.
Invite them to speak. Call 573-657-2739
Leave a comment Posted in Monticello, Personal preferences, Politics Tagged , , , , , , , |

They have problems? WE had bigger ones! Get over it.

the dissensions between two members of the cabinet are to be lamented. but why should these force mr Gallatin to withdraw? they cannot be greater than between Hamilton & myself, & yet we served together 4. years in that way. we had indeed no personal dissensions. each of us perhaps thought well of the other as a man. but as politicians it was impossible for two men to be of more opposite principles. the method of separate consultation, practised sometimes in the cabinet, prevents disagreeable collisions.
To Joel Barlow, January 24, 1810

Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Leaders need wisdom to manage talented but feuding subordinates.
Barlow (1754-1812) was a lawyer, editor, acclaimed writer, public official, friend and confidante. He reported on a dispute between two men in President Madison’s cabinet. The disagreement had reached the point where the Secretary of the Treasury, Albert Gallatin, was about to be driven out by the Secretary of State, Robert Morris.

Jefferson asked why a disagreement should force Gallatin to withdraw? He cited his own example of continually butting heads with Alexander Hamilton in President Washington’s cabinet, yet the two of them co-labored for four years. (Hamilton and Jefferson held the same two posts as Gallatin and Smith.) Their differences were political and philosophical but not personal, and they respected each other as individuals. Couldn’t Gallatin and Smith reach the same accommodation?

Jefferson suggested the practice “of separate consultation” with cabinet members. Rather than having opponents in the room together, Mr. Madison could confer with each man separately. He would have the benefit of each man’s counsel while avoiding the conflict that would inevitably arise if opponents were face-to-face.

It had been 16 years since Hamilton and Jefferson had served together in Washington’s cabinet and 5 1/2 years since Hamilton’s death in a duel with Vice-President Aaron Burr. Time must have softened Jefferson’s judgment or his memories. In the early 1790s, Jefferson had nothing positive to say about Hamilton. One of the reasons Jefferson resigned from Washington’s cabinet at end of 1793 was his continual conflict with the other man.

“You were great as President Jefferson …
Your remarks … could not have been more impressive or appropriate …”
Interim Director, Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center, Nebraska City, NE
Mr. Jefferson will be both appropriate and impressive for your audience!
Invite him to speak. Call 573-657-2739
1 Comment Posted in Monticello Tagged , , , , , , , , |