of the Construction of the Buildings
at the University of Virginia, 1817-1828
Frank Edgar Grizzard, Jr.
19. Lewis Mumford, "The Universalism of Thomas Jefferson," in The South in
Architecture, 43, 72.
20. TJ to Littleton Waller Tazewell, 5 January 1805, ViU:TJ; see also Norma Lois
Peterson,Littleton Waller Tazewell, 37-39. Littleton Waller Tazewell (1774-1860),
who was born in Williamsburg, was prominent in public service for nearly four
decades: Virginia House of Delegates, 1798-1801, 1804-1806, 1816-1817; United
States House of Representatives, 1800-1801; United States Senate, 1824-1832;
Virginia Constitutional Convention, 1829/1830; governor of Virginia, 1834-1836;
died in Norfolk. Tazewell is buried at Elmwood Cemetery in Norfolk.
21. TJ to Hugh White, c. 1810, DLC:TJ; see also Mulligan, Virginia: A History
and Guide, 132-33.
22. Minutes of the Trustees of Albemarle Academy, 19 August 1814, ViU:TJ.
23. The drawings are in ViU:TJ. For a description of the drawings, which were
one time thought to date from 1817, see Sherwood and Lasala, "Education and
Architecture: The Evolution of the University of Virginia's Academical Village," in
Wilson, Thomas Jefferson's Academical Village, 12-13, and Lasla, "Thomas
Jefferson's Designs for the University of Virginia," #00-01, and #00-02. Facsimiles
of the drawings can be found in ibid., and see also Nichols, Thomas Jefferson's
Architectural Drawings, 26.
24. Minutes of the Board of Visitors of Central College, 5 May 1817, ViU:TJ.
25. The specifications for Pavilion VII, ca August 1814, are in ViU:TJ; see also
Sherwood and Lasala, "Education and Architecture: The Evolution of the
University of Virginia's Academical Village," in Wilson, Thomas Jefferson's
Academical Village, 11-14. One-time Monticello farm manager Edmund Bacon did
not overstate the case when he recalled that "Mr. Jefferson was very particular in the
transaction of all his business. He kept an account of everything. Nothing was too
small for him to keep an account of" (Bear, Jefferson at Monticello, 78).
26. TJ to Peter Carr, 7 September 1814, ViU:TJ. A polygraph copy of the letter is
in DLC:TJ; see also Cabell, Early History of the University of Virginia, 384-90,
Niles Register, 10:34-35, and Lipscomb and Bergh, Writings of Thomas Jefferson,
19:211-21. The letter appeared in the Richmond Enquirer the following year after
Cabell wrote to TJ seeking permission to publish it (see Cabell to TJ, 24 January
1816, in ViU:TJ, and TJ to Cabell, 2 February 1816, in ViU:JCC; see also ibid., 50-51, 52-56). In late February 1816 Cabell informed TJ that he
had at last retrieved
the original letter from the newspaper's editor (see Cabell to TJ, 26 February 1816,
in ViU:TJ, and ibid., 60-61).
27. Malone, Jefferson and His Time: The Sage of Monticello, 247-48.
28. David Watson, a member of the university's first Board of Visitors,
"determined from some cause or other that they should not be presented" to the
legislature (see Cabell to TJ, 5 March 1815, in ViU:TJ; see also Cabell, Early
History of the University of Virginia, 38-41).
29. See TJ to Cabell, 5 January 1815, Cabell to TJ, 5 March 1815, TJ's Bill for
Establishing a College in the County of Albemarle, 1815, and Cabell to TJ, 14
February 1816, in ViU:TJ; see also Cabell, Early History of the University of
Virginia, 35-38, 38-41, 391-93 (appendix D), and 56. Joseph Carrington Cabell
(1778-1856) of Amherst (later Nelson) County, the brother of Virginia governor
and judge William H. Cabell, served in the Virginia Senate from 1810 to 1829 and
in the House of Delegates from 1831 to 1835. He single-handedly won legislative
support in the General Assembly on behalf of the university, and for part of his
thirty-seven years as a Board of Visitor member he served as university rector.
Cabell also zealously promoted internal improvements in the state and served as
president of the James River and Kanawha Canal Company, and his family estate at
Warminster on the James River was the seat of one of central Virginia's busiest
communities in the first half of the nineteenthth century. For more on Cabell's role
in founding the university, see Cabell, Early History of the University of Virginia,
Patton, Jefferson, Cabell, and the University of Virginia, Bruce, History of the
University of Virginia (vol. 1), and Tanner, "Joseph C. Cabell, 1778-1856."
30. TJ to Wilson Cary Nicholas, 2 April 1816, DLC:TJ; see also Lipscomb and
Bergh, Writings of Thomas Jefferson, 14:446-56. Wilson Cary Nicholas
(1761-1820), who was born in Williamsburg, spent three decades in public service:
Virginia House of Delegates, 1784-1786, 1788, 1789, 1794-1800; Virginia
Convention, 1788; United States Senate, 1800-1804; United States House of
Representatives, 1807-1809; and governor of Virginia, 1814-1816. Nicholas died
at Tufton, Milton, and is buried at Monticello.
31. TJ to the Board of Visitors of the Central College, 10 March, 1817, in
ViU:TJ. Ironically, all but Madison, who attended the College of New Jersey
(Princeton University), were alumni of the College of William and Mary (see A
Provisional List of Alumni, Grammar School Students, Members of the Faculty, and
Members of the Board of Visitors of the College of William and Mary in Virginia,
from 1693 to 1888, 9, 10, 13, 23, 39).
32. See John Hartwell Cocke to TJ, 26 March, in CSmH:TJ, Madison to TJ, 10
April, in ViU:TJ, and TJ to Monroe, 13 April 1817, in DLC:TJ.
33. The act establishing the college required the board of visitors to meet on the
days of the commencement of the spring and fall terms of the Albemarle circuit
court, and made provision for occasional meetings as may be called from time to
time by any three members, giving effectual and timely notice to the others.
34. John M. Perry, who was born in the late 1770s and who died in Missouri in
the late 1830s, was a major contractor for both carpentry and brickmasonry work at
the university. The owner of considerable property, including thirty-seven slaves by
1820, Perry received over $30,000 for his work at the university, more than any
other contractor. See Lay, "Charlottesville's Architectural Legacy," Magazine of
Albemarle County History, 46:40-43, 45, 48.
35. Minutes of the Board of Visitors of the Central College, 5 May 1817,
PPAmP: UVA Minutes; see also Cabell, Early History of the University of Virginia,
393-96, and Cunningham, In Pursuit of Reason, 338. Only three members of the
Board of Visitors, Madison, Monroe, and Cocke, joined TJ at the May meeting. At
the meeting Garrett was appointed treasurer for the college, a post he held after
relinquishing the proctorship in July 1817. Valentine W. Southall was appointed the
board's secretary, and Jefferson and Cocke were appointed "a committee on the part
of the Visitors with authority jointly or severally to advise and sanction all plans and
the application of monies for executing them which may be within the purview and
functions of the Proctor for the time being." The symbolic importance of the
visitors' first meeting was not lost on Jefferson's contemporaries, as evidenced by a
news release printed in the Richmond Enquirer on 13 May: "On the 5th of this
month, three men were seen together at Charlottesville (county of Albemarle), each
of whom alone is calculated to attract the eager gaze of their Fellow Citizens--We
mean, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and James Monroe. . . . They have been
friends for years, and are as sincere friends at this moment. . . . The appearance of
three such men together at a village where the citizens of the county had met to
attend their court, is an event, which for its singularity, deserves the notice of a
passing paragraph" (quoted in Malone's discussion of the visitors' meeting in
Jefferson and His Times: The Sage of Monticello, 254-57, and reprinted in the
Washington, D.C., Daily National Intelligencer, 23 May 1817).
36. Bear, Jefferson at Monticello, 31-32. Edmund Bacon (1785-1866), who was
in Jefferson's employment from 29 September 1806 to 15 October 1822, migrated
west in search of cheap lands in the winter of 1822-1823 after postponing the move
for several years. After living in Kentucky for only a year Bacon's wife died and he
considered returning to Virginia; he appealed to Jefferson from Christian County on
22 August 1824 to find him a farm "of good quality" or "any other situation which I
am capable of. manageing perhaps some sort of business connected with the
University might be a tempory station untill I could make further arrangements. I
could bring two good waggons and teams with me" (MHi:TJ). Jefferson offered to
assist Bacon but in the end Bacon remained in Kentucky (see TJ to Bacon, 9
October 1824, in CSmH:TJ). For a summary of Bacon's life and relationship with
Jefferson, see Martin, "Thomas Jefferson and Edmund Bacon," Magazine of
Albemarle County History, 50:1-27. John H. Craven owned an area sawmill (see
DNA: Records of the Bureau of Census, Manufactures of Fredericksville Parish,
Albemarle County, 1820).
37. TJ to Dinsmore, 25 June 1817, ViU:TJ.
38. George Wythe Randolph to J. L. Cabell, 27 February 1856, ViU: Cabell
Papers, and Malone, Jefferson and His Time: The Sage of Monticello, 255.
39. For the extensive building and architectural legacy that James Dinsmore (c.
1771-1830) and John Neilson (c. 1775-1827) left in the Virginia Piedmont, see
Lay, "Charlottesville's Architectural Legacy," Magazine of Albemarle County
History, 46:32-40, Lay, "Dinsmore and Neilson: Jefferson's Master Builders,"
Colonnade, 6 (Spring 1991), 9-13, Cote, "The Architectural Workmen of Thomas
Jefferson in Virginia," 21-28, 71-72, 84-90, 93, and Lay, "Jefferson's Master
Builders," University of Virginia Alumni News, 80 (October 1991), 16-19. Both
men were born in Northern Ireland and began working for Jefferson shortly after
becoming naturalized citizens in Philadelphia, Dinsmore in 1798 and Neilson in
1804. Dinsmore executed the carpentry work at Pavilions III and V and, with John
M. Perry, Pavilion VIII; Neilson the same at Pavilion IX; and the partnership of
Dinsmore & Neilson performed the carpentry work at both the Rotunda and the
Anatomical Hall (ViU:PP, Ledgers 1 and 2). Both men met untimely deaths not
long after completing their work at the university; and material relating to their
estates and families can be found in the ViU: George Carr Papers.
40. TJ to James Dinsmore, 13 April 1817, ViU:TJ.
41. Dinsmore to Thomas Jefferson, 22 April 1817, ViU:TJ. Jefferson's overseer
Edmund Bacon recalled in 1862 that James Dinsmore lived with Jefferson "a good
many years" and "was the most ingenious hand to work with wood I ever knew. He
could make anything. He made a great deal of nice mahogany furniture, helped
make the carriage, worked on the University, and could do any kind of fine work
that was wanted" (Bear, Jefferson at Monticello, 70).
42. TJ to Thornton, 9 May 1817, ViU:TJ. Facsimiles of this letter can be found
in Wilson, Thomas Jefferson's Academical Village, 16, and in Stearns and Yerkes,
William Thornton: A Renaissance Man in the Federal City, 46-47. For Thornton's
role in designing the capitol, see Scott, Temple of Liberty: Building the Capitol for
a New Nation, 36-37, 50-52, 68-71, and Jeanne F. Butler, "Competition 1792:
Designing a Nation's Capitol," Capitol Studies, 4 (1976), 63-70. TJ sent a similar
letter to Benjamin Henry Latrobe of 12 June.
43. Lasla, "Thomas Jefferson's Designs for the University of Virginia," #00-06.
The pavilion facade drawings, which have been separated from the letter they were
enclosed, are in ViU:TJ. For a discussion of TJ's adaptation of the top sketch for his
final design for Pavilion VII, see Lasala's description of #00-06, and for descriptions
of Jefferson's studies for Pavilion VII, see Lasla, #07-01 through #07-05.
44. Thornton to TJ, 27 May 1817, DLC:TJ. On 9 January 1821 Thornton
complained to TJ that "I have never been honoured with a line from you since your
favor of the 9th. of May 1817. which I answered on the 27th. relative to the College
about to be established in your Vicinity.--I am in hopes my Letter reached you, not
so much from any advantage it could possibly offer you, as to shew my desire to
fulfil to the utmost of my ability every wish with which you have honored me.--I am
in hopes that your long silence may arise more from your retirement from active life,
than from any disinclination to preserve my name in the list of your friendship: for
it has been almost the only consolation of my life that I have been honored with the
friendship of the good & great" (DLC:TJ).
45. TJ to Latrobe, 12 June 1817, DLC:TJ; see also Van Horne, Correspondence
and Miscellaneous Papers of Benjamin Henry Latrobe, 3:901-3.
46. See Latrobe to TJ, 28 June 1817, in DLC:TJ; see also ibid., 904-7.
47. TJ to Latrobe, 16 July 1817, DLC:TJ; see also ibid., 907-10.
48. Operations at and for the College, 18 July 1817, ViU:TJ, and TJ to Latrobe, 3
August 1817, DLC:TJ; see also ibid., 900-901, 916, and Malone, Jefferson and His
Times: The Sage of Monticello, 257-61. In his letter of 3 August Jefferson
informed Latrobe that he would leave the north end of the square open in case the
"state should establish there the University they contemplate, they may fill it up with
something of the grand kind."
49. Patton, Jefferson, Cabell and the University of Virginia, 186.
50. When depicting an enlarged version of the Pantheon for the United States
Capitol in the early 1790s, Jefferson placed the "Passages and Stairs" in a central
hall surrounded by four oval rooms. See Scott, Temple of Liberty: Building the
Capitol for a New Nation, 48-49.
51. See Patton, Jefferson, Cabell and the University of Virginia, 187. Wilson
gives the dimensions of the spacing of the pavilions (as provided by James Murray
Howard, the University of Virginia Architect for the Historic Buildings and
Grounds): "The first four numbers--I-III on the west, and II-IV on the east--are 53
feet and 64 feet apart respectively. Number V on the west is 89 feet from III, and
number VI on the east is 90.5 feet from IV. The next on the west, VII, is 104 feet,
then IX is 122 feet, and for the east, numbers VIII and X, nearly the same
dimensions hold. The small differences result from the different widths of the
pavilions" ("Jefferson's Lawn: Perceptions, Interpretations, Meanings," in Wilson,
Thomas Jefferson's Academical Village, 90). Wilson also asserts that the illusion of
perspective was not by design but resulted from the "constraints of the site and the
need to provide more pavilions for the professors" (ibid., 71).
52. John M. and Frances T. Perry, Land Indenture to Alexander Garrett, 23 June
1817, ViU:TJ. See also Alexander Garrett, Micajah and William Woods,
Commission and Certificate of Examination for Frances T. Perry, 7 July 1817, in
ViU:TJ. Perry apparently used part of the proceeds from the land sale to pay off a
debt of $1,066.81 to John Winn (see Perry to Alexander Garrett, 23 June 1817, in
ViU:PP). Perry received the balance of the money due him from Garrett on 16
September 1817, for which receipts are in ViU:PP.
53. TJ to James Dinsmore, 25 June 1817, ViU:TJ. Alexander Garrett wrote
James Madison on 24 June to inform him of Perry's obstinacy in requiring a
building contract as part of the settlement of the land sale: "After you left this, a
difficulty occured in obtaining the title to the lands purchased for the Central
College, that difficulty was not removed untill yesterday, when a title was obtained"
(DLC:JM). When writing to Joseph Carrington Cabell on 8 July, Garrett used the
same phrase, adding that "this difficulty retarded the progress of the Proctor in
executeing the plans and designs of the Visitors" (ViU:JCC).
54. John M. Perry, Agreement with Central College, 23 June 1817, ViU:TJ; see
also appendix F.
55. TJ to James Dinsmore, 25 June 1817, ViU:TJ.
56. Alexander Garrett to Joseph Carrington Cabell, 8 July 1817, ViU:JCC.
57. TJ to Dinsmore, 25 June 1817, ViU:TJ. Hugh Chisholm, who was born in
the 1770s, began working for Jefferson as a bricklayer at Monticello in 1796. He
worked not only as a brickmason but as a carpenter and plasterer at Montpelier,
James Madison's Orange County home, and at Poplar Forest, Jefferson's Bedford
County home. See Lay, "Charlottesville's Architectural Legacy, Magazine of
Albemarle County History, 46:43, Cote, "The Architectural Workmen of Thomas
Jefferson in Virginia," 28, 63, and Lay, "Jefferson's Master Builders," University of
Virginia Alumni News, 80 (October 1991), 16-19. In 1812 Chisholm, for $28, laid
the 7,000 bricks of the Tuscan-styled Palladian temple linking the mansion house at
Monticello with the vegetable garden, and later he laid the brick walls at Poplar
Forest, Jefferson's octagonal country home at Bedford (see Elizabeth Langhorne,
Monticello: A Family Story, 161, 202). Following his work as the principal
brickmason for Pavilion VII, for which he received $1,780, Chisholm worked as a
plasterer on Pavilions I, III, V, IX; he received $1,804.50 between 19 March 1819
and 18 November 1821 (ViU:PP, Ledger 1).
58. See TJ to Benjamin H. Latrobe, 16 July 1817, DLC:TJ, and TJ to John
Hartwell Cocke, 19 July 1817, ViU:JHC; see also Van Horne, Correspndence and
Miscellaneous Papers of Benjamin Henry Latrobe, 3:907-10.
59. Operations at and for the College, 18 July 1817, ViU:TJ; see also Malone,
Jefferson and His Time: The Sage of Monticello, 6:257-61, and Cunningham, In
Pursuit of Reason, 338-39.
60. TJ to John Hartwell Cocke, 19 July 1817, ViU:JHC. On 4 August Jefferson
informed William Branch Giles that "the buildings are begun, those for one
professorship, embracing several branches of learning, are expected to be
compleated by the next spring, and a professor will be engaged to commence
instruction at that time, and we hope to be able to erect in the ensuing summer two
or three others professorships, which will take in the mass of the useful sciences.
the plan of this institution has nothing local in view. it is calculated for the wants,
and the use of the whole state, and it's centrality of situation to the population of the
state, salubrity of climate, and abundance and cheapness of the necessaries of life,
present it certainly with advantage to the attention of parents and guardians
throughout the state, & especially to those who have not in their immediate vicinity
a satisfactory establishment for general science. whatever we do will have a
permanent basis, established on a deposit of funds of perpetual revenue adequate to
it's maintenance" (WiHi: Simon Gratz Autograph Collection).
61. Latrobe to TJ, 24 July, DLC:TJ; see also Van Horne, Correspondence and
Miscellaneous Papers of Benjamin Henry Latrobe, 3:914-17. Facsimiles of the
letter can be found in O'Neal, Pictorial History of the University of Virginia, 13, and
O'Neal, Jefferson's Buildings at the University of Virginia: The Rotunda, 18. For a
description of the drawing, see Lasala, "Thomas Jefferson's Designs for the
University of Virginia," #00-08.
62. See TJ to Latrobe, 3 August 1817, in DLC:TJ; see also Van Horne,
Correspondence and Miscellaneous Papers of Benjamin Henry Latrobe, 3:917.
63. Latrobe to TJ, 12 August 1817, DLC:TJ; see also Van Horne,
Correspondence and Miscellaneous Papers of Benjamin Henry Latrobe, 3:928-34.
64. Jefferson retreated to Poplar Forest, "one of his most consummate
architectural works," for up to four times a year from 1806 to 1823, when he deeded
it to his grandson, Francis Wayles Eppes. See McDonald, "Poplar Forest: A
Masterpiece Rediscovered," Virginia Cavalcade, 42 (1993), 112-21.
65. TJ to Latrobe, 24 August 1817, DLC:TJ; see also Van Horne,
Correspondence and Miscellaneous Papers of Benjamin Henry Latrobe, 3:933.
66. Nelson Barksdale served as proctor at the Central College and at the
University of Virginia until Arthur Spicer Brockenbrough was hired to fill the
position in the spring of 1819. Barksdale supplied plank, scantling, and sawing for
university carpenters working at Pavilions VI, VIII, and X, Hotels D and F, the
Rotunda, and some of the dormitories on the west range (ViU:PP, Ledgers 1 and 2).
67. Minutes of the Board of Visitors of the Central College, 28 July 1817,
PPAmP: UVA Minutes.
68. "I have engaged a young man of the name of Johnson," wrote Latrobe on 25
July, "to undertake your Stone Cutting, should the terms be approved. He is not
only capable to cut a Doric Capital, or a Base, but to execute the common
Architectural decorations, as foliage & Rosettes, with great neatness & dispatch, for,
in the scarcity of Carvers, I have, for some time past, put him under Andrei, & have
lately employed him to carve the rosettes in the Caissons of the cornice of the H. of
Rep. which he has done quite to my satisfaction. He also possesses that quality, so
essential to the workmen, you employ, good temper, & is besides (which is not
always compatible with good temper) quite sober. His terms are 2.50 a day, finding
himself. This is what our journeymen earn here, in Summer. If he is to have the
charge of more men, he will expect his wages to be encreased, and he expects
constant employment while engaged, & well, & that his actual expenses to the spot,
& back again (should he return to Washington) shall be paid. He is ready to depart
at a few days notice. I observe in the newspaper a letter from a gentleman in
Virginia dated July 20th, mentioned his visit to Monticello, & that you were then at
your Bedford Estate. If so I cannot expect an early answer to this letter or to my
last, but I shall keep Johnson for you whenever I do hear from you" (DLC: Latrobe
Papers; see also Van Horne, Correspondence and Miscellaneous Papers of
Benjamin Henry Latrobe, 3:910).
69. Jefferson to William Short, 8 September 1823, DLC:TJ.
70. TJ's undated draft of the article for the Richmond Enquirer, and the
polygraph copy of the letter it was enclosed in, TJ to Ritchie, 28 August 1817, are in
71. TJ to Chisholm, 31 August 1817, ViU:TJ.
72. TJ to Martha Jefferson Randolph, 31 August 1817, quoted in Betts and Bear,
Family Letters of Thomas Jefferson, 418-19. Alexander Garrett married Evelina
Bolling, the granddaughter of TJ's sister Mary Jefferson Bolling, in 1808.
73. See Bruce, University of Virginia, 1:183-90.
74. TJ to Samuel J. Harrison, 5 October 1817, in ViU:TJ. TJ informed Harrison
that following the cornerstone ceremony "we are then ready for mr [David] Knight
and hope he will come off the morning after he recieves this, as the front wall will
be kept back for him. I ask your friendly influence if necessary to urge his
75. Bear, Jefferson at Monticello, 32-33.
76. Ibid., 33. Bear says that Jefferson's hair at this time was "not white but a
soft, sandy reddish color" (ibid., 130).
77. See TJ to David Knight, 5 October 1817, DLC:TJ. Knight contracted with
TJ to "Work faithfully, upon the Central College at the rate of five Dollars per Day
& his Diet found," plus traveling expenses (David Knight's Agreement for
Bricklaying, 11 October 1817, in ViU:PP). Garrett rendered Knight's account for
work on Pavilion VII on the verso of the agreement, indicating that Knight earned
$142.50 for 28½ days work and was allowed $28 for traveling expenses for 4 days.
Knight, who also worked on three dormitories with Matthew Brown, received
payments of $30 and $140.50 cash on 25 October and 12 November 1817, for a
total of $170.50 (see TJ to Nelson Barksdale, 11 November 1817, and Ledger 1, in
78. The description of the cornerstone ceremony on 6 October 1817 is taken
from Alexander Garrett's undated Outline of Cornerstone Ceremonies, in ViU; see
also Malone, Jefferson and His Time: The Sage of Monticello, 265. The Richmond
Enquirer published a brief account of the ceremony in its 10 October 1817 issue:
"We understand, that agreeably to appointment the first stone of the Central College
was laid, at Charlottesville, on Monday last, (the 6th,) and that with all the ceremony
and solemnity due to such an occasion. The society of Free Masons, and a large
company of citizens, attended. The scene was graced by the presence of Thomas
Jefferson and James Monroe, late Presidents of the United States, and of James
Monroe, the actual President" (quoted in Cabell, Early History of the University of
79. Minutes of the Board of Visitors, 7 October 1817, PPAmP: UVA Minutes.
80. Latrobe to TJ, 6 October 1817, DLC:TJ; see also Van Horne,
Correspondence and Miscellaneous Papers of Benjamin Henry Latrobe, 3:955-56.
"You will perceive that the pavilions are only sketches," Latrobe continued, "but
they have been perfectly studied, & I can furnish drawings in detail of any of them
which may please You. Of the long range I have a copy, but not of the others: but
the slightest reference to them will be sufficient to enable me to send you the
81. The death on 3 September of Henry Sellon Boneval Latrobe (1792-1817),
who had served as his father's assistant on the Capitol in Washington before
"making a name for himself as an architect and builder" on the New Orleans
waterworks project, had a devastating effect on Latrobe (see Hamlin, Benjamin
Henry Latrobe, 427, 449, 473, 477, and Latrobe to his sister-in-law Martha Sellon,
15 November, in ibid., 600-602; see also Latrobe to John Trumbull, 10 October, and
Latrobe to James Monroe, 22 October, in 951-55, 956-57). Jefferson sent Latrobe
his condolences when he replied to Latrobe on 12 October, "I sincerely console with
you on your great and irreparable loss. experienced myself in every form of grief, I
know what your's is. but time & silence being it's only medicine, I say no more,
assuring you always of my sincere sympathy, esteem & respect" (DLC:TJ; see also
ibid., 955-56). For the obituary notice of Henry Sellon Boneval Latrobe, see the
Washington, D.C., Daily National Intelligencer, 1 October 1817, and ibid., 945-48.
82. Latrobe, says his biographer Talbot Hamlin, realized that the sketch of the
university that Jefferson sent him lacked focus and thus began thinking about the
group of buildings "as a whole--its large size, its opportunity for monumental
composition. To him the pavilions must above all be parts of the whole, and their
design must be developed in accordance with it. Especially he felt that the pavilions
should be large in scale, to count at the great distances involved. . . . He used a
monumental order running from ground to roof and carried the columns in front of
the general line of the plan to count as strong rhythmic verticals in contrast with the
long horizontals of the colonnades in front of the students' rooms." Jefferson
adopted Latrobe's designs for Pavilions V, VIII, and X, modified some others, and,
most importantly, says Hamlin, realized the "advantages, practical and artistic and
symbolical," of focusing the entire scheme upon a central domed building (Hamlin,
Benjamin Henry Latrobe, 468-70).
83. See Nicholas' Appointment of Central College Board of Visitors, 18 October
1817, in DLC:TJ. All members of the board were reappointed.
84. TJ's undated draft for his Bill for Establishing a System of Public Education,
is in ViU:TJ, and a contemporary printed copy is in ViU:JHC. Cabell wrote a note
on the first page of the draft that reads: "This Bill was written by Mr. Jefferson: and
has been rejected by a large majority in the House of Delegates, in favor of a bill
providing for the poor only. J.C.C."
85. TJ to Cabell, 24 October 1817, ViU:TJ.
86. TJ's letters to Latrobe and Carstairs are in DLC:TJ; see also Van Horne,
Correspondence and Miscellaneous Papers of Benjamin Henry Latrobe, 3:977. For
Carstairs, see Dos Passos, "Builders for a Golden Age," American Heritage, 76, and
Butler, "Competition 1792: Designing a Nation's Capitol, Capitol Studies, 4 (1976),
73. The Philadelphia Price Book, published by Mathew Carey as The House
Carpenters' Book of Prices, and Rules for Measuring and Valuing all their Different
Kinds of Work (Philadelphia, 1812), was based on a carpenter's rule book that was
published originally in 1786 and revised and republished in 1801, 1812, and 1819.
The Winterthur Museum owns an original copy of Carey's edition, a photocopy of
which is in The Library Company of Philadelphia. Cote discusses the Philadelphia
Price Book in "The Architectural Workmen of Thomas Jefferson in Virginia," 64-65.
87. For Latrobe's attempts to get a copy of the Philadelphia Price Book, see
Latrobe to TJ, 20 November, and 6 December, and William Thackara to Latrobe, 22
December 1817, all in DLC:TJ; see also Van Horne, Correspondence and
Miscellaneous Papers of Benjamin Henry Latrobe, 977. Latrobe finally sent a price
book (possibly the Pittsburgh price book, based on the Philadelphia Price Book) to
Jefferson on 7 March 1818 (see Latrobe to TJ, and 7 March, and TJ to Latrobe, 19
May 1818, both in DLC:TJ; see also ibid., 975-77, 987-89).
Thackara, who did the "Plaisterer's work, so much & deservedly admired, of the
Capitol," told Latrobe that "there is an express rule of the Carpenter's Company that
the book is not to be seen out of the pale of their Church." Thackara later came to
Charlottesville to measure work when James Oldham sued the University of
Virginia in a dispute about his contract for Pavilion I.
88. Carstairs to TJ, 26 January 1818, DLC:TJ. Jefferson had written Carstairs
again on 16 January 1818 (DLC:TJ). For Carstairs and the United States Capitol
building, see Jeanne F. Butler, "Competition 1792: Designing a Nation's Capitol,"
in Capitol Studies, (1976), vol. 4., no. 1, 87.
89. Oldham to Brockenbrough, 20 June 1819, in ViU:PP. James Oldham (c.
1770s-1843), who was apprenticed in Philadelphia, worked at Monticello from
1801 to 1808. He manufactured over three dozen doors for Monticello in
Richmond, where he had moved in search of his fortune, and where he submitted
plans for a powder magazine for the state penitentiary. Oldham considered moving
to St. Louis in 1818 but decided instead to return to Charlottesville, where he
contracted for the carpentry work for Pavilion I, Hotels A and D, and thirteen
dormitories. While working on these buildings Oldham argued with university
Proctor Arthur Spicer Brockenbrough and eventually he filed a lawsuit against
Brockenbrough and the university over misunderstandings surrounding the terms of
his contracts. Oldham, who owned a small brick house on the corner of 3d and I
streets in Richmond, purchased several tracts of land in Albemarle County after
completing his university work and later ran an ordinary west of Ivy on land that he
purchased from Benjamin Hardin's estate in 1828. See my "`To Exercise a Sound
Discretion': The University of Virginia and Its First Lawsuit," at
Cote, "The Architectural Workmen of Thomas Jefferson in Virginia," 26-29, 82-83,
101-9, and Lay, Charlottesville's Architectural Legacy," Magazine of Albemarle
County History, 46:28-95.
90. TJ to Madison, 15 November 1817, DLC:JM.
91. See Madison to TJ, 29 November 1817, in DLC:JM, and TJ to Madison, 30
December 1817, in ViU:JM.
92. Joseph Antrim, Proposal for Plastering, 17 December 1817, ViU:TJ.
93. Antrim's earnings included up to $588.53 for plaster and stucco work at the
pavilions and $21,177.18 for the Rotunda. See ViU:PP, Ledger 1, and Lay,
"Charlottesville's Architectural Legacy," Magazine of Albemarle County History,
46:28-95, and Lay, "Jefferson's Master Builders," University of Virginia Alumni
94. Brown to TJ, 10 December 1817, ViU:TJ.
95. Brown to TJ, 20 December 1817, in ViU:TJ.
96. The Franklin Hotel underwent renovation in the early 1850s and from then
until its closing and demolition in 1885 it operated as the Norvell House. See
Chambers, Lynchburg: An Architectural History, 44-45, 269.
97. TJ to Cabell, 19 December 1817, ViU:TJ.
98. TJ to Madison, 30 December 1817, ViU:JM.
99. Advertisement for Bids for Work on Central College, December 1817,
ViU:TJ. TJ later wrote beneath this advertisement: "1818. Feb. 3. in this note I had
omitted grouting. but in my verbal agreemt. with mr Brown when I met him in
Lynchbg, I stated it to him as an article; and on his visit to me this day he agrees he
understood he was to grout in the presence of Clifton Harris."
100. The report to the governor is contained in TJ's letter to Preston of 6 January
1818, located in ViU:TJ. In the long letter Jefferson gives Preston a succinct history
of the building to date when he writes that the visitors "adopted a scale,
accomodated in the first instance, to the present prospect of funds, but capable of
being enlarged indefinitely to any extent, to which more general efforts may
hereafter advance them. they purchased at the distance of a mile from
Charlottesville, and for the sum of 1,518.75 Dollars 200. acres of land, on which
was an eligible site for the College; high, dry, open furnished with good water, &
nothing in it's vicinity which could threaten the health of the students. instead of
constructing a single & large edifice, which might have exhausted their funds and
left nothing or too little for other essential expences, they thought it better to erect a
small and separate building or pavilion, for each professor they should be able to
employ, with an apartment for his lectures, and others for his own accomodation,
connecting these pavilions by a range of Dormitories, capable each of lodging two
students only, a provision equally friendly to study as to morals & order. this plan
offered the further advantages of greater security against fire and infection; of
extending the buildings in equal pace with the funds, and of adding to them
indefinitely hereafter, with the indefinite progress of contributions, private or public:
and it gave to the whole, in form and effect, the character of an Academical village,
workmen were immediately engaged to commence the first pavilion: but the season
being advanced, it will not be finished till the ensuing spring, when one or two
others will be begun, together with the contiguous ranges of dormitories, two or
three sets of 20 for each pavilion, & sufficient consequently for the accomodation of
from 80 to 120 students. these we count on finishing in the course of the ensuing
summer & autumn."
101. TJ to the Board of Visitors, ca 2 January 1818, ViU:JHC.
102. Cabell to TJ, 5 January, and Christopher Tompkins to Cabell, 4 January
1818, in ViU:TJ. Tompkins lived in Richmond at the house he built in 1810 at 604
East Grace Street, which was sold in the 1830s to city attorney William H.
Macfarland. The Tompkins-Macfarland House was an excellent example of many
early 19th-century residences with its entrance high above the ground and off to one
side, a pair of roof dormers, a high gabled roof and diaphragm wall, and a large hall
running through its interior, flanked by two large rooms on either side and a
staircase in the back; the house was torn down in 1908 to make room for a
Y.M.C.A. building, itself since demolished (see Scott, Old Richmond
103. TJ to Brown, 15 January 1818, ViU:TJ.
104. Brown, who worked with carpenter John M. Perry on these buildings,
received $7,000 for brickwork between 7 April 1821 and 22 August 1821,
$2,006.88 for Pavilion III and $3,993.12 for the west lawn dormitories nos. 10 to
26, (ViU:PP, Ledger 1). Brown did not begin laying bricks at Pavilion III until 18
June 1818, according to Perry, who wrote Jefferson on that date: "The Brick layers
got here yesterday and will begin to lay Some time this evening. I Should be glad
you Could make it Convenient to Come to the building to day--the dormetories will
be laid of to day--the Circle next the road is Staked of So that you Can See how to
fix on the level" (ViU:TJ).