of the Construction of the Buildings
at the University of Virginia, 1817-1828
Frank Edgar Grizzard, Jr.
548. Mumford, "The Universalism of Thomas Jefferson," in The South in
549. TJ to James Madison, 6 January 1823, DLC:TJ; see also Ford, Writings of
Thomas Jefferson, 12:274.
550. Madison to TJ, 15 January, DLC:JM; see also Letters of James Madison,
3:291-94, and Hunt, Writings of James Madison, 9:113-18.
551. TJ to Cabell, 13 January 1823, ViU:JCC; see also Cabell, Early History of the
University of Virginia, 266-68.
552. See Cabell to TJ, 23 January 1823, in ViU:JCC; see also ibid., 268-70.
553. See TJ to Cabell, ViU:JCC; see also ibid., 270-71.
554. See Cabell to TJ, 3 February 1823, in ViU:TJ.
555. Cabell to TJ, 11 February 1823, ViU:TJ; see also ibid., 274-77.
556. Garrett to Cocke, 18 February 1823, ViU:JHC.
557. Neilson to Cocke, 22 February 1823, ViU:JHC. Neilson also said that Thorn
actually did not make the bricks for Pavilions II and IV; he informed Cocke to look
at Pavilion II, Hotel C, and the Proctor's house for samples of Thorn's brickmaking
work (see appendix K).
558. TJ to James Madison, 24 February 1823, DLC:JM.
559. Thorn & Chamberlain, Contract for Laying Brick for the Rotunda, 8 March
560. Brockenbrough to TJ, 11 March 1823, ViU:PP.
561. Dinsmore & Perry, Contract for Carpentry Work for the Rotunda, 11 March,
Brockenbrough to TJ, 11 March, and TJ to Brockenbrough, 12 March 1823, all in
ViU:PP; see also O'Neal, Jefferson's Buildings at the University of Virginia: The
Rotunda, 24-25. Brockenbrough wrote Cocke requesting to hire his "hands" by the
year to help in molding bricks. See Brockenbrough to Cocke, 13 March, 7, 13
April, in ViU:JHC, and Cocke to Brockenbrough, 14 April 1823, in ViU:PP. James
Harris and Robert McCullock, who separately and together operated sawmills in the
area, previously had offered to furnish lumber for the Rotunda. See their letter to
TJ, 16 December 1821, in ViU:TJ, and DNA: Records of the Bureau of Census,
Manufactures of Fredericksville Parish, Albemarle County, 1820.
562. TJ to the Board of Visitors, 12 March 1823 (addressed to John Hartwell
Cocke) ViU:JHC; see also Cabell, Early History of the University of Virginia, 278-79, and O'Neal, Jefferson's Buildings at the
University of Virginia: The Rotunda,
25-26. Jefferson's praise for the two brickworkers can be seen in the letter of
recommendation that he wrote for Abia B. Thorn on 25 September 1824 (see
appendix P). Thorn, TJ said, "has done much of the brickwork of the University of
Virginia, and besides some of the other buildings of the best workmanship himself
and partner executed the walls of the principal edifice the Rotunda, than which I
believe more beautiful and faithful work has never been done in any country. he is
moreover sober, industrious perfectly correct in his habits and conduct of entire
probity & worth, and as such I recommend him for any employ he may sollicit"
(DLC:TJ). On the same day TJ wrote a recommendation for Joseph Antrim, who
did "the whole plaistering of all the buildings of the University of Virginia, which
he has executed with fidelity and a skill of the first order. he is moreover of
perfectly correct habits and conduct, sober, industrious, faithful, and worthy of any
degree of trust which may be reposed in him" (ViU:TJ).
563. Cabell to TJ, 24 March 1823, ViU:TJ; see also Cabell, Early History of the
University of Virginia, 280-82.
564. TJ's Memorandum of Finances, 6 April 1823, ViU:PP.
565. Minutes of the Board of Visitors of the University of Virginia, 7 April 1823,
566. TJ to Cocke, 22 April to 4 May 1823, DLC:TJ.
567. Minutes of the Board of Visitors of the University of Virginia, 7 April 1823,
568. See TJ to Cabell, 4 February 1823, in ViU:TJ. Jefferson was surprised that
Oldham's "self-respect would have permitted him to have attacked an adversary
from behind the mask of an anonymous information," and he defended
Brockenbrough's conduct as bearing "the stamp of the most perfect integrity and
569. See Cabell to Cocke, and Cabell to TJ, both 11 February, in ViU:JCC and
570. See Brockenbrough to the Rector and Board of Visitors, 7 April 1823, in
571. See Minutes of the Board of Visitors of the University of Virginia, 7 April, in
PPAmP:UVA Minutes, TJ to Brockenbrough, 16 April, and TJ to Cocke, 22 April
1823, in DLC:TJ.
572. Many of the letters and other documents surrounding the disagreement can be
found in Oldham v UVA, Staunton Chancery Court Records, and Oldham vs
University of Virginia, ViU:UVA Chronological File; see especially Oldham's
Memorial to the Rector and Board of Visitors, and Oldham's Lawsuit Against the
University of Virginia, both 20 November 1823. For a thorough examination of the
background and eventual settlement of the dispute, see my "`To Exercise a Sound
Discretion': The University of Virginia and Its First Lawsuit," at
573. Cabell to Louis Maxwell Holmes Cocke, 8 April 1823, ViU:JHC.
574. Cabell to Madison, 16 April 1823, DLC:JM.
575. TJ to Madison, 30 April 1823, DLC:JM.
576. Madison to Cabell, 10 May 1823, ViU:JCC.
577. TJ to Brockenbrough, 22 April 1823, ViU:PP; see also O'Neal, Jefferson's
Buildings at the University of Virginia: The Rotunda, 26. Jefferson's original
drawing of the Rotunda's main exterior entablature apparently has not survived. See
Lasala, "Thomas Jefferson's Designs for the University of Virginia, #17-13.
578. See John Neilson to TJ, 5 May, in ViU:TJ, and TJ to Brockenbrough, 16
June 1823, in ViU:PP; see also O'Neal, Jefferson's Buildings at the University of
Virginia: The Rotunda, 26, and Lasala, "Thomas Jefferson's Designs for the
University of Virginia," #00-21, #17-05, and #17-06.
579. TJ to Cabell, 4 July 1823, ViU:TJ. University contractor John M. Perry was
ill during this time, so much so that he sent his son Lilbourn to collect $500 from
Brockenbrough. "I am afraid to turn out in such damp weather," Perry wrote the
proctor, "as I have taken a good deal of medison latterly--is the reason I Send
Lilbourn" (ViU:PP). A receipt attached to Perry's letter indicates that on the
following day Brockenbrough drew a draft on the university bursar for the money
"on acct. of Brickwork on privies & Garden Walls." Perry's illness notwithstanding,
this damp weather was a godsend to the area, for "after a most afflicting drought in
the spring continuing till late in June," Jefferson wrote his former overseer Edmund
Bacon on 10 August, "we have had seasonable weather & have made a midling crop
of wheat, and shall have average crops of corn & tobo. if the fall is favorable. our
University goes on well" (TJ to Edmund Bacon, 10 August 1823, MHi:TJ).
580. Peyton to Brockenbrough, 7 July 1823, ViU:PP. The 16 capitals and 2 half-capitals for Pavilions II,
III, IV, V, VI, and VIII. cost $3,214.04. According to
Brockenbrough's calculations, transportation, custom duties, premiums,
commissions, and etc., accounted for fully one-third of the charges. See
Brockenbrough's Memorandum on Cost of Marble Capitals, 3 July to 26 August, in
ViU:PP, and TJ's Memorandum on Cost of Marble Capitals, ca 4 July 1823, in
581. Actually, it was nearly three months before Jefferson wrote to order the stone
from Appleton. See TJ to Appleton, 8 October 1823, in ViU:TJ.
582. TJ to Appleton, 10 July 1823, DLC:TJ.
583. See Appleton to TJ, 4 May, 22 June, and 12 July 1825, all in DLC:TJ.
584. See TJ to Brockenbrough, 5 May 1826, in ViU:PP, and John Hartwell Cocke
and Alexander Garrett, Demands of the Resources of the University, 31 May 1826,
585. See TJ to E. S. Davis, 27 August, in ViU:TJ, and Peyton to Brockenbrough,
8 September 1823, ViU:PP. Lyman Peck traveled to Richmond for the proctor to
help arrange the transportation of the stones to Scott's Landing and to the university.
See Brockenbrough's Memorandum on Cost of Marble Capitals, 3 July to 26 August
1823, in ViU:PP.
586. Brockenbrough to TJ, 20 September 1823, ViU:PP; see also O'Neal,
"Michele and Giacomo Raggi at the University of Virginia," Magazine of Albemarle
County History, 18:29.
587. TJ to Appleton, 8 October 1823, ViU:TJ; see also O'Neal, Jefferson's
Buildings at the University of Virginia: The Rotunda, 28-29.
588. TJ to Trumbull, 15 July 1823, privately owned (1992); see Sotheby's Auction
Catalog (16 December 1992, no. 73).
589. TJ apparently wanted to discuss setting the gymnasia under the Rotunda's
terraces for cover. See Martha Jefferson Randolph to Nicholas P. W. Trist, 4 April
1824, in NcU:Trist Papers (discussed below).
590. Cabell to Brockenbrough, 17 July 1823, ViU:PP.
591. Brockenbrough to Cabell, 27 July 1823, ViU:JCC.
592. See TJ's two short epistles to Brockenbrough about details of the Rotunda,
10, 11 August 1823, in ViU:PP; see also O'Neal, Jefferson's Buildings at the
University of Virginia: The Rotunda, 27. On 10 August Jefferson wrote to Edmund
Bacon, Monticello's former manager who had departed for Kentucky several months
earlier: "we had here from the time of your departure the finest weather possible,
and were every day remarking how lucky you were in your weather. our family is
all well and has been generally so, except myself. with me it has been a year of bad
accidents. in Nov. I broke my arm & dislocated my wrist, and have still very little
use of that hand. as soon as I was able to ride I got a fall from my horse. next after
that he fell with me into the river in water to his belly, and being alone I was near
drowning. lately I have had a fever of 3. weeks, from which I am recovered but still
weak. the milldam I was building when you left us was soon after swept away by a
fresh, leaving not a particle of timber, and I am just now going about another. this is
my history since your departure. . . . our University goes on well" (MHi:TJ). On 13
August TJ drafted a letter of recommendation for Richard Ware: "The bearer mr
Richd. Ware Carpenter & House-joiner has been an Undertaker of the Carpentry &
Housejoinery of some of the best buildings at the University. he has executed his
work faithfully, skilfully and to our entire satisfaction. his conduct while here has
been entirely correct, and I can recommend him to employment as an honest man
and excellent workman" (DLC:TJ).
593. Neilson to Cocke, 23 August 1823, ViU:JHC. Neilson's letter contained
specifications for the Fork Union Meeting House built later this year. See the
miscellaneous material concerning the meeting house located in the end of the year
material for 1823 in ViU:JHC, including Cocke's Meeting House Memorandum, 12
July 1823, William Galt to Cocke, 13 August 1823, A Bill of Prices for a Church,
1823, and Bill of Timbers for a Church, 1823.
594. TJ to Davis, 27 August 1823, ViU:TJ; see also ibid.
595. TJ to Short, 8 September 1823, DLC:TJ.
596. Minutes of the Board of Visitors of the University of Virginia, 6 October
1823, PPAmP:UVA Minutes; see also O'Neal, Jefferson's Buildings at the
University of Virginia: The Rotunda, 28. Cocke and Cabell planned to meet in
Charlottesville before the meeting on 4 October to "examine & settle the Accounts
of the Proctor & the Bursar" following Cabell's short visit to White Sulphur Springs
in the second half of September (Cabell to Cocke, 9, 16 September 1823, privately
597. For Raggi's contract to furnish marble, see TJ to Brockenbrough, 2, 17
September, and Raggi and Brockenbrough, Agreement, 8 September 1823, in
ViU:PP; see also O'Neal, "Michele and Giacomo Raggi at the University of
Virginia," Magazine of Albemarle County History, 18:27-30. Thomas Appleton
wrote Jefferson the following June to inform him that in making the contract, Raggi
"was in error, from the expence of excavation, to the last polish of the marble, and
without counting his own labour, he must Still be a loser by the contract . . .
Postscriptum . . . I have learnt from my Sculptor at Carrara, of a Distressing
misfortune which has befallen Giacomo Raggi, who fell from his chair while asleep
after Supper, & has broken the left clavicle which will probably prevent him the use
of his arms for 3 months. The bases were in full progress, & are now Directed by
my Sculptor.--notwithstanding they are Deprived of his labour" (Appleton to TJ,
10-25 June 1824, DLC:TJ).
598. See TJ to Appleton, 8 October 1823, in ViU:TJ; see also O'Neal, Jefferson's
Buildings at the University of Virginia: The Rotunda, 28-29.
599. Appleton to TJ, 8 February 1824, DLC:TJ.
600. See TJ to Appleton, 17 May 1824, in ViU:TJ; see also ibid., 30-31. On 7
June the proctor wrote to Philip Sturtevant to ask how much he would charge to
carve from wood the composite capitals for the interior of the Rotunda's dome room.
Ten days later Sturtevant sent an answer from Richmond, saying that he would
"Carve the Composit Capitals in Cluding the Neck Moulding in Every respect Out
of the Best Timber and in the Best Manner after the Plan of Palladio in his first
Book Plate xxx for 75 Seventy five Cents Per inch Measured By Girting the Collum
or Capital at the Neck[.] I Realy am So anxsious to Cut them that I must Beg of you
Not to dispose of the work with out Leting Me Know and I must Honestly Say that I
Could furnice them Something Lower Rather than Miss of the Job But thay are So
Extremly Low that I Think you will Not Hesitate to Give me the work" (Sturtevant
to Brockenbrough, 17 June 1824, ViU:PP; see also appendix K). Brockenbrough
calculated a column of figures totaling $1,290 on the coversheet of Sturtevant's
letter, apparently indicating his estimate of the amount that Sturtevant's labor for
carving all the capitals would cost the university.