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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.

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You CAN get here from there, barely.

I tried the road by Ravensworth … 2 miles of it which I think cannot be passed by your carriage without oversetting … you must absolutely come by Fairfax courthouse … till you come to Little’s lane … I passed it yesterday, a waggon being then stuck fast in it, nor do I suppose any four wheeled carriage could then have got through the spot where the waggon was without stalling … [then] the difficulty of your getting up the Bull run hill … there are other bad hills sufficient to make them give you a great deal of vexation. the Bull run hill is really the worst I ever saw on a public road. still let nothing tempt you to go by Centerville as on that rout the whole is cut by waggons into Mudholes … you had better start as soon as you can see to drive … and come on here to dinner. we shall wait for you till 4. aclock.
To James Madison, April 30, 1801

Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Leaders help one another navigate the rough spots.
Jefferson had just returned from Monticello to Washington and found spring rains had made the hilly, muddy and rutted roads almost impassable. His neighbor and Secretary of State designate would now be making the same journey.

He alerted Madison which roads were trouble, which would wear out his horses or  cause them to balk, which to avoid. In what could be a bit of rare, wry humor of a black sort, he wrote, “…let nothing tempt you to go by Centerville …”

And get an early start the last day, as soon as there enough light to travel! He would be expected for dinner. That meal was usually at 3 PM. Knowing the challenges that lay ahead of his friend, he announced that meal would be postponed an hour.

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MO Association for Adult Continuing and Community Education
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It takes HOW LONG to get home?

On the 26th. of Sep. [1789] I left Paris for Havre, where I was detained by contrary winds until the 8th. of Oct. On that day, and the 9th. I crossed over to Cowes, where I had engaged the Clermont, Capt. Colley, to touch for me. She did so, but here again we were detained by contrary winds until the 22d. when we embarked and landed at Norfolk on the 23d. of November.
Autobiography, 1821

Patrick Lee’s Explanation
All leaders are subject to Mother nature! (Some things can’t be hurried.)
Jefferson was America’s ambassador to France for five years. He came home in 1789, to return his two daughters to their native country and attend to business matters before returning to France. This is a firsthand account of international travel in the 18th century.


– Left Paris on September 26, traveling northwest four days by carriage, about 140 miles, to the seaport of Havre on the north coast of France.
– Waited at Havre 10 days for favorable winds to sail west to England.
– From Havre, 26 hours to cross 100 miles of the English Channel to Cowes on the Isle of Wright, off the south coast of England. “Boisterous navigation and mortal sickness,” Jefferson wrote of that portion of the trip home. (Jefferson and the Rights of Man, Malone, P. 236)
– Waited at Cowes 13 days, again for favorable winds.
– Crossing the Atlantic to Norfolk, VA took 32 days.

– The total journey took almost two months: 4 days land by land, 23 days waiting in ports for the right weather, and 33 days on the sea.

There are no direct flights now from Paris to Norfolk. With one intermediate stop, that journey can be accomplished in less than 12 hours.

Did you note his phrase “to touch for me”? The 19th entry for the word “touch” in Webster’s 7th New Collegiate Dictionary is “to make a brief or incidental stop on shore during a trip by water.” Jefferson had arranged his journey in advance. Part of this careful man’s planning included having the Clermont make a brief stop at Cowes to pick him up.

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.

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Travel is not what it used to be!

On the 7th. of May Congress resolved that a Minister Plenipotentiary [Webster’s 7th New Collegiate: “a diplomatic agent invested with full power to transact any business”] should be appointed in addition to Mr. [John] Adams & Dr. [Benjamin] Franklin for negotiating treaties of commerce with foreign nations, and I was elected to that duty. I accordingly left Annapolis on the 11th … proceeded to Boston in quest of a passage. While passing thro’ the different states, I made a point of informing myself of the state of the commerce of each, went on to New Hampshire with the same view and returned to Boston. I sailed on the 5th. of July … after a pleasant voyage of 19. days from land to land, we arrived at Cowes on the 26th … On the 30th. we embarked for Havre, arrived there on the 31st. left it on the 3d. of August, and arrived at Paris on the 6th.
Autobiography, 1821

Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Jefferson was recalled to Congress in late 1782, an attempt by his friends to draw him out of his depression following the death of his wife in September. A year and a half later, he was appointed as a minister to France, to help negotiate commercial treaties. He used his travels from Annapolis to Boston to gain first hand information on the commerce of the states.

His journey to France required these times:
– 19 days from Boston to Cowes, on the Isle of Wright, off England’s south coast
– An overnight to sail 100 miles from Cowes to Havre, on France’s north coast
– Four days coach ride for the 100 miles from Havre to Paris

He spent five years in France, greatly broadening his leadership experience. He would return from that assignment to a much larger stage, Secretary of State for President Washington.

 

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Oklahoma Society of Land Surveyors
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So, you think you’re in control?

I have got so far, my dear Martha, on my way to Philadelphia which place I shall not reach till the day after tomorrow. I have lost one day at Georgetown by the failure of the stages, and three days by having suffered myself to be persuaded at Baltimore to cross the bay and come by this route as quicker and pleasanter. After being forced back on the bay by bad weather in a first attempt to cross it, the second brought me over after a very rough passage, too late for the stage.—So far I am well, tho’ much fatigued.
To Martha Jefferson Randolph, February 28, 1797

Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Some things are simply way beyond a leader’s control.
Jefferson wrote to his elder daughter about his journey to the nation’s Capitol, where he would be inaugurated as Vice-President four days later. It was not an easy trip.

From Monticello, he traveled to what would become Washington City (later Washington, D. C.), but he referred to it as Georgetown, now a region within urban D.C., northwest of the White House. The horse-drawn stages weren’t operating, and he lost one day. Then northeast to Baltimore, where he yielded to another’s advice to cross the Chesapeake Bay and then north to Philadelphia. Bad weather and rough water cost him three more days. He was still at least two days from his destination.
He wrote this letter from Chestertown, MD, east across the Chesapeake from Baltimore.

He asked Martha to relay to her husband the prices that Virginia tobacco, wheat and cider were bringing in the cities.

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