Jefferson's Nephews: A Frontier Tragedy

By Boynton Merrill Jr. | Go to book overview

9
THE PLAN TO EMIGRATE

WHEN Colonel Lewis lost his fortune, his two youngest sons, Charles and Isham, shared the disaster with him. The land that Colonel Lewis had given Charles could have provided the young man with a modest livelihood, but he had sold it for five thousand dollars, which he soon spent. The Colonel's gift of land to Isham was little more than a token, and, like young Charles, Isham soon lost possession of his portion of the old Buck Island plantation. The education of these two sons appears to have been mediocre. They had no occupational skills, and their training and experience in business was limited to observing their father lose his fortune. The prospects for the future of these young men were not encouraging.

Charles was a little better off than Isham, however, for in 1806 Jefferson gave young Charles a commission as a lieutenant in the army. The story of Charles's army career is found in five letters from Jefferson's correspondence. The first was sent to Jefferson by Charles while the new lieutenant was in Baltimore waiting transfer to his first duty assignment.

Baltimore 29 Apl 1806

Dear Sir

At the request of my Mother I have purchased for her in this place
a few articles, and knowing the uncertainty of their being safely
conveyed in the mail, I have taken the liberty, (for which I hope
you will pardon me) to send them to Washington by Colo Berbeck,
with a request that you will let your servant carry them to
Monticello, to which place I imagine you will shortly go.
Uninteresting as it may be to you Sir, I cannot avoid presenting to
your acceptance my respectful thanks for the commission with
which you have lately honored me, and be assured that however
thoughtless I may have been heretofore, it shall be my constant
study so long as I continue in the U. S. service, to do that which will
be most to my interest, and the interest of those by whom I have
been promoted.

I am Sir respectfully
YrObt. Servt.
Ch. Lewis'

-84-

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Jefferson's Nephews: A Frontier Tragedy
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vi
  • Constructing Jefferson's Nephews ix
  • Preface xxv
  • Preface to First Edition xxix
  • Acknowledgments xxx
  • 1: Colonial Days 3
  • 2: The Fight for Freedom 12
  • 3: A Colonel in the Militia 20
  • 4: Prosperity 29
  • 5: The Virginia Planter 38
  • 6: The Shipwreck of the Fortunes 44
  • 7: Craven Peyton, Thomas Jefferson, and the Hendersons 55
  • 8: Jefferson and the Lewises 71
  • 9: The Plan to Emigrate 84
  • 10: The Trip to Kentucky 97
  • 11: The Land and Towns 111
  • 12: Houses and Crops 123
  • 13: The Smithland Neighbors 134
  • 14: Issues in West Kentucky, 1808 143
  • 15: The County Court 151
  • 16: The Year of Trouble, 1809 163
  • 17: Lilburne Enters Public Life 175
  • 18: The Church in West Kentucky 189
  • 19: The Presbyterian Lewises 203
  • 20: Insecurity 215
  • 21: Community Affairs, 1810 226
  • 22: Slavery in Livingston 234
  • 23: Tremors in the Dynasty 240
  • 24: Annus Mirabilis 248
  • 25: The Murder 256
  • 26: After the Murder 266
  • 27: The First Grand Jury 274
  • 28: The True Bill 285
  • 29: The Graveyard 293
  • 30: The Orphans 303
  • 31: During the War 312
  • 32: The Aftereffects 322
  • 33: The Epilogue 329
  • Appendix 1 - Notes on Lewis Genealogy 339
  • Appendix 2 - The Colle Sale 348
  • Appendix 3 - The Interview with Matilda 351
  • Appendix 4 - Medical Notes 353
  • Appendix 5 - Lilburne Lewis's Estate 359
  • Index 441
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