Tag Archives: Granddaughter
|Miss Eleanor W. Randolph to Th: Jefferson D.[ebit]|
|1805.||May 21.||To a letter which ought to be written once in every 3. weeks, while I am here, to wit from Jan. 1. 1805. to this day, 15. weeks||5.|
|Feb. 23.||By one single letter of this day’s date 1|
|Letters Balance due from E. W. Randolph to Th:J. 4
So stands the account for this year, my dear Ellen, between you and me. unless it be soon paid off, I shall send the sheriff after you.
To Ellen W. Randolph, May 21, 1805
Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Leaders need the encouragement of news from home.
Jefferson prepared a chart indicating that he expected a letter every three weeks from the recipient, for a total of five letters due since the first of the year. So far, he had received only one. The recipient was delinquent four letters and threatened with arrest unless the imbalance was corrected.
Who was the laggard letter-writer? Jefferson’s nine-year old granddaughter. He subsequently lightened the tone, inquiring about the flowers at Monticello, for a report on mumps afflicting the family, and asking her to convey his affection to her parents and siblings.
Being away from Monticello was a sacrifice Jefferson accepted. More correspondence from everyone at home was a frequent request, one never acted upon to his satisfaction.
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Mr. Jefferson is always relevant, even at a 21st century medical conference.
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My Dearest Ellen –
I owe a letter to you & one to your sister Anne. but the pressure of the day on which this is written, and your Papa’s departure permits me to write only to you, to inclose you a poem about another namesake of yours, and some other pieces worth preserving. as I expect Anne’s volume is now large enough, I will begin to furnish you with materials for … a new volume … I am called off by company therefore god bless you, my dear child, kiss your Mama and sisters for me, and tell them I shall be with them in about a week from this time.
To Ellen Wayles Randolph, March 4, 1805
For some time, I have excerpted the significant letters written by Jefferson during his first full year as President. To change it up a bit, I’m now turning the clock ahead to the first year of his second term. That begins with this letter written March 4, 1805.
Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Wise leaders make time for their grandchildren!
Eight year old Ellen Randolph (1796-1876) was Jefferson’s fourth grandchild from his daughter, Martha. He was sending her poems and other writings to begin a new scrapbook with material he would supply. He had done the same for her 15 year old sister Anne (his first grandchild) and wanted to continue the tradition with Ellen. In time, she would become one of her grandfather’s favorites.
He had to squeeze this grandfatherly duty in before the “pressure of the day” overwhelmed him. The company calling for him was to escort him to his 2nd inauguration as President of the United States.