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Records Relating to Pre-National Zoological Park Purchases

Document Date Contents Notes Source

1790's to 1833

Maryland Census Record for Dr. Philip Thomas 1/1/1790 Dr. Philip Thomas in Frederick County, Maryland"5 free white males 16 and over"1 free white male under 16"2 free white females==4 slaves Dr. Philip Thomas was the father of Catherine Thomas who married Dr. Ashton Alexander in 1799. He was also Elizabeth Thomas' (Roger Johnson's wife) uncle, thereby establishing a link between the Alexander and the Johnson families. Alexander may have purchased Holt House from the Johnson's because of their familial connection. Maryland Historical Society Library, 1790 Maryland Census Index
Land Transfer Deed"early land grants owned by the Beall family 1703-60 Beall family grants forming 'Pretty Prospect'" "1703 'Rock of Dumbarton' patented to Ninian Beall==1720 'Addition to Rock of Dumbarton' patented to George Beall==1741 'Bealls Lott' patented to George Beall==1760 'Gift' patented to Samuel Beall The Beall family owned vast tracts of land throughout the state of Maryland, including these patents which were sold by Thomas Beall to Benjamin Stoddert on January 30, 1795."Since the DC Recorder of Deeds only has records dating from 1790 onward, this information was gathered from Beall family histories at the DAR Library in DC and the Maryland State Archives in Annapolis. SI, AHHP Archives, Holt House files, report by Ethel Traylor Howard, 1936 (DC deeds start 1792)
Quaker Society Miscellaneous Collection re: Jonathan Shoemaker in Pennsylvania November 19, 1779"marriage announcement of Jonathan Shoemaker to Hannah Lukens, p. 50==September 25, 1787"Jonathan Shoemaker elected Justice of the County Court of Montgomery County, PA by Commission, signed by Charles Biddle==October 14, 1789"Jonathan Shoemaker elected member of the Convention for Montgomery County, signed by Robert Shannon, Alex Saller, and Isaiah Davis==October 5, 1800"letter to Jonathan Shoemaker from Joseph Habersham"appointing Shoemaker as post-master at Cala[?]== Jonathan Shoemaker was active as a justice, local politician and manager of the Pennsylvania Hospital (1781-90) during his adult years in Pennsylvania. Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Geneological Division, Family Record Books
Land Transfer Deeds from George Beall to Benjamin Stoddert 1/30/1793 'Between George Beall of Montgomery County of the one part, and Benjamin Stoddert of Georgetown of the other part.'==Stoddert paid the sum of 6,908 pounds for the land=='To the three following Tracts of land, to wit: The Rock of Dumbarton, Addition of Rock of Dumbarton and Bealls Lott lying and being in Montgomery County near Georgetown..."together with all and singular the rights, property and appertenances thereunto belonging...==the quantity of 863 1/2 acres land clear of Elder surveys in and of the said tracts.' Benjamin Stoddert was a land speculator for the new federal city and purchased many large tracts of land in and around Washington, DC including this large parcel. His main residence was in Georgetown where he had a mercantile business. Note that there is no mention of any buildings or improvements on the land. DC Recorder of Deeds, Land Records Liber A1 Part 1, District of Columbia, folio 255-257.
"Report on Beall's Pleasure (1794), Benjamin Stoddert's residence, by unknown author and date Report described Stoddert's country home near Bladensburg, Maryland. Stoddert built a brick house on the property in 1794, which resembled other Georgian-style country houses in Charles County, Maryland (especially Mount Republic). Stoddert retained ownership of the property for nineteen years. Since Stoddert's main residence was in Georgetown (Halycon House) and his country home (Beall's Pleasure) was near Bladensburg, it seems unlikely that he would have built Holt House. Also, neither Benjamin nor Rebecca Stoddert mentioned a house on the 'Pretty Prospect' land in their letters. U.S. Navy Archives, Officer Files, Benjamin Stoddert file
Personal letter to Eliza Gantt (relative) from Rebecca Stoddert regarding their mill 8/4/1799 Rebecca Stoddert lamented the lack of rain in DC which caused their mill to stop grinding for the summer. She wrote from Philadelphia where they resided during Stoddert's term as Secretary of the Navy. Rebecca Stoddert did not specify which mill she meant. It may have been the Columbia Mills or another mill on one of their tracts of land. Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Personal Papers of Rebecca S. Stoddert
Maryland Census Records for the Ashton Alexander family 1/1/1800 Dr. Ashton Alexander"1 white male btwn 16-26 yrs"1 white male btwn 26-45 yrs"1 white females under 10 yrs"1 white female btwn 16-26 yrs==1 slave" Ashton Alexander was 31 yrs old in 1800. He married Catherine Thomas in 1799 so it is unclear who the other male member of his household was. Nat'l Archives, Microfilm Room, Baltimore, MD, M-32, Roll 9, p. 125
DC Census Records for the Benjamin Stoddert family 1/1/1800 Benjamin Stoddert family living in Georgetown "1 male between age of 45-60 yrs."1 female between age of 26-40 yrs."1 boy between age of 10-16 yrs."1 girl between age of 10-16 yrs."3 girls under age 10"3 boys under age 10"11 slaves" Benjamin Stoddert lived in Georgetown in 1800. MLK Library, Washingtoniana Division, Census Records, 1800, Dt. of Col.-872-31001-31010-0(11)
Maryland Census Record for the Roger Johnson family 1/1/1800 Roger Johnson in Frederick County, Maryland"2 white males btwn ages of 16-26;"3 white males btwn ages of 26-45;"2 white males btwn ages of 45-100;"1 white female btwn ages of 10-16;==8 slaves - gender and age distribution not listed; Roger's wife Elizabeth was not listed in this entry despite the fact that they had married in 1781. Nat'l Archives, Microfilm Room, Frederick Co. MD, M-32 Roll 10, p. 145
"Pennsylvania Census Record for the Jonathan Shoemaker family 1/1/1800 Jonathan Shoemaker in Cumberland County, PA"2 free white males under age 10"1 free white male btwn ages of 16-26"1 free white male btwn ages of 26-45"1 free white female btwn ages of 26-45==no slaves or other household members This record may refer to the correct Jonathan Shoemaker who was 44 yrs old in 1800. If so, two of his sons and his daughter were not accounted for. Nat'l Archives, Microfilm Room, 1800 PA Census for Cumberland Co, M-32 Roll 38, p. 294
Land Transfer Deed from Benjamin Stoddert to Walter Mackall 12/1/1800 'Being part of a tract or parcel of land called 'Pretty Prospect' lying and being within the Territory of Columbia, Prince George's County aforesaid... "Containing and laid out for 42 1/2 acres of land, being the whole of the aforesaid tract of land to which the said Benjamin Stoddert has any title to, lying in the East side of Rock Creek excepting that part heretofore contracted to be sold by Uriah Forrest to Gustavus Scott and Richard A. Contee bounding the said part on the South... "Together with all and singular the buildings, improvements, priviledges, advantages and appurtenances to the said part of a Tract of land hereby bargained and sold.' Benjamin Stoddert sold 'Pretty Prospect' in various parcels to different buyers. The portion of land on which Holt House was later built was now reduced to 42 1/2 acres under Mackall's ownership. It is important to note that already buildings and improvements are mentioned, indicating that the mills and/or Holt House were built by Stoddert. DC Recorder of Deeds, Land Records Liber F6, District of Columbia, folio 95-97.
Letter to James McHenry, Esq. from Benjamin Stoddert regarding land values in DC 10/31/1803 Stoddert discussed at length the merits of owning certain parcels of land in the Washington, DC area and their potential value, especially over time. "He suffered from accumulated debts and lamented not being able to gain financial return from his land investments. Stoddert donated approximately half of his land holdings in the Washington, DC area for the creating of the new federal city, thereby loosing a lot of money. Land parcels which he did try to sell did not gain enough of a return for him to pay off his debts. Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Personal Papers of Benjamin Stoddert
Land Transfer Deed from Walter Mackall to Jonathan Shoemaker 1/2/1804 'Between Walter Mackall now of Washington County and the District of Columbia of the one part and Jonathan Shoemaker of the same County and District of the other part."Witness that the said Walter Mackall for and in consideration of the sum of $5,800 current money of the U.S. to him in hand paid by said Jonathan Shoemaker at or before the ensealing and delivery of the presents the receipt whereof is hereby acknowledged hath given granted... unto said Jonathan Shoemaker his heirs and assign all that part of a tract of land lying and being in Washington County and the District of Columbia aforesaid called 'Pretty Prospect' which was conveyed by Benjamin Stoddert, Esquire to the said Walter Mackall by deed ... containing 42 1/2 acres of land ... together with all and singular the Mills, Mill seats, way waters, buildings, improvements, priviledges...' Jonathan Shoemaker purchased the land with existing mills. DC Recorder of Deeds, Land Records Liber K10, District of Columbia, folio 117-118.
Quaker Society Miscellaneous Collection re: Jonathan Shoemaker at Shadwell Mill, Virginia 7/26/1806 letter to Jonathan Shoemaker from Thomas Jefferson"'I find my mill considerably less advanced than was expected. She will not be ready by a month or two as soon as had been promised. I would advise therefore that your son should not come on till further notice from me, which you shall certainly receive in due time."The drought here is beyond everything known in the history of this country. I pass five rivers from the Potomac to this place, not one of which passes as much water as will turn a mill. I have known the river on which mine is, intimately, for 50 years."There never was a time before when it had less than four times its present current of water. After taking off what now turns my toll-mill, there is not more left in the stream than would turn another."Its navigation is entirely over, nor, with even seasonable weather, can it be expected to be so recruited as to afford navigation till midwinter. Both merchants and millers refuse to receive wheat, which will therefore all be on the farmers' hands 'till the river is replenished."Our hope is that as nothing like this was ever seen before, so it will never be seen again. I salute you with esteem and respect."Thomas Jefferson' Jonathan Shoemaker wanted to send one of his sons to operate the Shadwell Mills for Thomas Jefferson as early as 1806, only two year after moving to Pretty Prospect himself. Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Geneological Division, Family Record Books
Thomas Jefferson's Garden Book, 1766-1824, re: J. Shoemaker's management of Shadwell Mills 12/12/1806 p. 328 "Letter from James Walker to Thomas Jefferson"'Mr. Shoemaker has been here sometimes and seeing the prospect so gloomy is getting out of patience and unless the weather moderates so that the canal can be made safe enough to let in water he talks of returning back to Washington and not having anything to do with the Mills. He expects his Miller on every day and says he cannot afford to be on expenses here all winter and nothing coming in he seems anxious to be at business and if we can get the mill in tolerable order will be satisfied for this season.' Although Jonathan Shoemaker did return to the Columbia Mills in DC (leaving his son Isaac in charge at Shadwell), this entry shows that he had contemplated moving to Shadwell as early as 1806. Monticello Research Center, book annotated by Edwin Morris Betts, Philadelphia, PA, 1944.
Thomas Jefferson's Garden Book, 1766-1824, re: J. Shoemaker's management of Shadwell Mills 1/16/1807 p. 365"Letter from Thomas Jefferson to Jonathan Shoemaker"'What I hear from my neighbors induces me to write this letter to you and to press your coming on. There is great dissatisfaction among them as to the quality of the flour received from the mill, that which they have sent to Richmond having been passed chiefly as midlings, and the best part but as fine, tho from wheat of extraordinary quality. They suppose your son unskilful in the business; the alarm has got among them, and prevents much from going there... I know nothing but what I hear from them: but always feeling the interest of a tenant as my own, I think myself bound to communicate to you what I hear, and particulary that the accounts from Richmd. confirm the ill character of the flour sent there, and the unfavorable effect which such a beginning has had on the character of the mill. Wishing myself to give umbrage or uneasiness to nobody I pray you to consider this as confidential, and for yourself alone.' Thomas Jefferson requested Jonathan Shoemaker to take over the management of Shadwell Mills personally since his son, Isaac, proved such a failure at it. Jonathan Shoemaker, at this time, had been owner of the Columbia Mills for three years. Monticello Research Center, book annotated by Edwin Morris Betts, Philadelphia, PA, 1944.
Thomas Jefferson's Garden Book, 1766-1824, re: J. Shoemaker's management of Shadwell Mills 4/24/1807 p. 366-367"Letter from Jonathan Shoemaker at Columbia Mills to Thomas Jefferson"'Thine of the 15th Instant was yesterday handed me by Dougherty and is now before me, and I am sorry to observe what the[e] says about the Carracter of the Flour made at the mills, altho my son does not profess to be master of the manufactoring business himself I Expected he had got an hand that was, but if it is as thy Neighbours has stated wich I have no Reason to doubt, I confess I am somewhat disappointd."Altho' I am Sensible there is some difficulty in Starting all new mills to get the Stones in proper dress for grinding to suit the texture of the boulting Cloaths, then there is a Certain degree of Velocity proper for the Stones to have and if they much Exceed that point or fall much below it, the flour will not be of the best Quality, likewise if the Boults run too fast too much of the coarse flour will pass through the Cloath and the flour will be Streaky and on the other hand if they run too slow the Cloath will furr up and flour will not pass through it, so that from the above Facts thou will concieve there is at least some dificulty in getting a new Mill to do as good work as one could Wish, and altho my son's Miller may be a good Manufactores in an old Mill which I believe he is, altho he may not be possesed of a small portion of Philosophy which he out to be to sett a new Mill to work to advantage for a Wile."I do not know that I can be of much Service to them on the Subject but if my family Should be Well I shall try to be at Monticelo by the 6th or 8th of May at furthest.' Jonthan Shoemaker was well informed about the milling operation. His son, Isaac, had hired a miller who perhaps was not knowledgable on the new milling innovations used at Shadwell, causing some of the problems in production. Jonathan Shoemaker was unable to travel to Shadwell Mills as requested, perhaps because his wife's health had already failed. Hannah Lukens Shoemaker died later that same year. Monticello Research Center, book annotated by Edwin Morris Betts, Philadelphia, PA, 1944.
Land Transfer Deed from Jonathan Shoemaker to the Friend's Meeting for a Friends' Burying Ground 1/2/1808 'Jonathan Shoemaker of Washington County in the District of Columbia of the one part and Samuel Lukens, Samuel Snowden, Roger Brook, Joseph Schoolfield, William Thomas, and Samuel Hutchinson of the Society of Friends commonly called Quakers of the other part... assigns forever the following described piece or lot of land lying with Washington County aforesaid being part of a tract or parcel of land called 'Pretty Prospect', beginning for the piece or lot hereby conveyed at the south west corner of a lot of the said Jonathan Shoemaker enclosed by a post and rail fence and running thence south 87 degrees west 6 perches thence north 26 degrees 10 minutes west 6 perches thence north 87 degrees east 6 perches thence south 26 degrees 10 minutes east 6 perches to the beginning together with the priviledges, improvements and appertenances..."Hereby granted and conveyed for the purpose of being used and occupied at all times hereafter as common burying ground or place of inturment for the Society of Friends or Quakers their families and descendants.'"Jonathan Shoemaker's wife, Hannah, was present for the transfer of deed, agreeing to its terms. Jonathan and Hannah Shoemaker together offered a piece of their land for a Quaker cemetery. Hannah Shoemaker is known to have died shortly thereafter, and in 1837 Jonathan was buried beside her at the cemetery. The Quaker community used the cemetery from 1808 until approximately the 1850s. Note that the cemetery was fenced in. DC Recorder of Deeds, Land Records Liber T19, District of Columbia, folio 81-82.
Thomas Jefferson's Garden Book, 1766-1824, re: J. Shoemaker's managament of Shadwell Mills 3/2/1809 p. 369-370"Letter from Martha Jefferson Randolph to Thomas Jefferson, her father"'I am afraid you will be very dissappointed in your expectations from Shoemaker [Isaac]. It is the opinion of the neighbourhood that it would be better for you to get the mill back upon any terms than to let him keep it. In the first place he is not a man of business. His bargains are ruinous to himself and more over he has not one spark of honesty. His credit is so low that nothing but necessity induces any one to trust him with their grain; and the general complaint is that it cannot be got out of his hands... From some circumstances I am afraid you have been decieved in the character of his Father. There are strong doubts of his honesty in the minds of many here. In short My Dear Father disagreable as it is to tease you with tales of the kind I think it my duty to tell you the opinion of the whole neighbourhood of the man and your prospects from him. If the bargain was made with the Father perhaps you may secure your self though even that is doubted. As for the son your chance is I fear desperate for certainly a greater rascal or a more bitter personal enemy to you does not exist.' Martha Jefferson Randolph used strong language to describe Isaac Shoemaker's inability to run Shadwell Mills properly, however as later letters indicate, when her husband later took over the operation, he failed to do much better. Her account does offer insight to Isaac's character and the trust and faith her father felt for Jonathan Shoemaker. Monticello Research Center, book annotated by Edwin Morris Betts, Philadelphia, PA, 1944.
Thomas Jefferson's Garden Book, 1766-1824, re: J. Shoemaker's management of Shadwell Mills 4/6/1809 p. 370-371"Letter from Thomas Jefferson to Jonathan Shoemaker"'It is with great regret that I write you a letter which I am sure must give you pain... I have encouraged the expectation that you would come on and establish yourself there and then all could go right, and such is the distress of the neighborhood for want of a mill, that they fix their hope on this. But be assured, Sir, you have no time to lose to prevent avowed bankruptcy. Come and inform yourself... But the sooner you come and look to it, the more practicable is recovery of the affairs of the concerned may be. I shall say nothing of myself. Within a month, they [Isaac Shoemaker] will have had the mill 2 years and not a cent of rent paid. I could distrain, but this would bring all their creditors on them in an instant, and I trust more to your good faith than to the law, which I abhor. You were the person to whom alone I trusted so an important a portion of my interest as the mill. I knew you, but I knew nothing of your son. It was your wish to have him in partnership, to which I did not object, because I had entire confidence in you. I write you this to excite your attention to this concern, because no one else will do it. I wish it for your reading only, because I do not wish to have any quarrel with your son. Yet when you come I will state facts to enable you to enquire.' Thomas Jefferson's generous nature allowed him to retain faith that Jonathan Shoemaker could fix all the problems his son had created at Shadwell Mills. Jonathan Shoemaker was in the process of selling Columbia Mills, an effort which was finalized in July, 1809. After the sale he did go to Shadwell Mills. Monticello Research Center, book annotated by Edwin Morris Betts, Philadelphia, PA, 1944.
Thomas Jefferson's Garden Book, 1766-1824, re: J. Shoemaker's management of Shadwell Mills 6/15/1809 p. 371-372"Letter from Thomas Jefferson to Jonathan Shoemaker"'Your favor of the 5th was recieved on the 11th and recieved with great joy. I had begun to dispair of your coming, and in that case I must have proposed the rescinding the lease, for that it is a concern compleatly bankrupt everybody in the neighborhood seems convinced... I wrote myself to your son two months ago for a paiment of rent, and altho two years are due and not a copper paid he has never condescended to give me a word of answer... I take patience however under the expectation of your coming and I have given such assurances in the neighborhood that you will put all to rights, that I think they will await your coming. The total discredit into which the mill is brought will lay you under disadvantages, but a good disposition towards yourself prevails. You must take the concern however into your own hands entirely, and the entire separation of your son from it can alone give confidence in it... It is painful to me to say these things to you. But others who have not the same interest in the mill as I have, will not give you the information. It's importance to me is too great to let you be ignorant of the true state of things.' Jonathan Shoemaker was in the process of selling Columbia Mills and had made plans of come to Shadwell Mills. Monticello Research Center, book annotated by Edwin Morris Betts, Philadelphia, PA, 1944.
Land Transfer Deed from James S. Morsell, Walter Mackall's administrator, to Jonathan Shoemaker 7/6/1809 'Between administrator of the estate of Walter Mackall, late of Calvert County in the state of Maryland deceased on the one part and Jonathan Shoemaker of Washington County and the District of Columbia on the other part... ==Jonathan Shoemaker made final and full payment of $3,800 to James Morsell on the same day he sold the property to Roger Johnson. The total payment came to $9,600.==All that part of a tract of land lying and being in the same county and District containing 42 1/2 acres of land, which was conveyed by Benjamin Stoddert to the said Walter Mackall, who conveyed it to the said Shoemaker, reference being had to the said Mortgage and conveyances... "And whereas the said Shoemaker hath fully satisfied and paid to him the said Morsell administrator aforesaid, the above sum of money and the interest thereon, he the said James S. Morsell administrator aforesaid doth agree to execute this instrument of writing, as a full release of the above mentioned land together with all and singular the Mills, Mill seats, way waters, buildings, improvements, priviledges.'== Jonathan Shoemaker maintained a mortgage on the property until he sold it to Roger Johnson. DC Recorder of Deeds, Land Records Liber W22, District of Columbia, folio 112.
Land Transfer Deed from Jonathan Shoemaker to Roger Johnson 7/6/1809 'Between Jonathan Shoemaker of Washington County and the District of Columbia of the one part, and Roger Johnson of Frederick County in the State of Maryland of the other part..."part of a tract or parcel of land called 'Pretty Prospect'... lying and being in the County of Washington and the District aforesaid... laid out for 42 1/2 acres of land, together with all and singular the buildings, improvements, priviledges, advantages and appurtenances to the said part of a tract of land... except however so much of said land which has heretofore been sold by the said Shoemaker for a Quaker burying ground.' Although the acreage remained the same between the deed transfers from when Shoemaker purchased and sold 'Pretty Prospect', mention is made that the transfer excluded the land given to the Quaker community. It is of interest to note that the mills are not mentioned as they were when Shoemaker purchased the property. DC Recorder of Deeds, Land Records Liber W22, District of Columbia, folio 109-111.
Land Transfer Deed from Anthony Holmead to Roger Johnson - adjoining land to Columbia Mills 7/6/1809 'Between Anthony Holmead of Washington County and the District of Columbia of the one part, and Roger Johnson of Frederick County and state of Maryland of the other part..."conveys part of 'Larmars Outlet' now called 'Pleasant Plains', lying and being in Washington County and the District aforesaid..."containing 3 acres and 38 Poles together with all and singular the improvements, woods, way waters, water courses, rights, liberties, priviledges and appurtenances.'==Roger Johnson paid $226.62 for the land. Roger Johnson purchased this adjoining lot to the Columbia Mills on the same day he purchased the Columbia Mills from Jonathan Shoemaker. The additional three acres of land thereafter remained a part of the Columbia Mills during the time John Quincy Adams owned the land. DC Recorder of Deeds, Land Records Liber W22, District of Columbia, folio 108-109.
Thomas Jefferson's Garden Book, 1766-1824, re: J. Shoemaker's management of Shadwell Mills 8/1/1809 p. 372-373"Letter from Jonathan Shoemaker at Washington City to Thomas Jefferson"'The late news of the disagreament of the British Government to the propositions of their Minister with our Government for the Settlement of our differances, alarms Everybody in such a way as makes it very dificult to Collect Money and the general Opinion I find is that Produce of Every kind will be Low, and perhaps we shall have an nonintercourse with France and England. Taking this state of things in view, discourages me very much from Coming to Shadwell as it must in the Case be a very Loosing business to us and would rather give up the lease at Once, except thou would think it right to make some abatement in the rent, and I Should think right to fix it in such away that Each of us Should partake of the Loss or gain in the rise or fall of the Market, that is that the rent Should be Proportion to the Price of Flour. In this way if the Average price of Flour through the Season at Richmond Should be but 4$ per barrel then the rent to be 800$ per year if 5$ then 1000$ and if 6$ then 1200$ and so on Either more or Less and I would rather Flour would be 10$ if this arrangement or something like it Should meet thy approbation and thou will please to Signify if by the next Mail, I Shall be ready to come on Emediately, thou will Please to acknoledge the Receipt of the Money Sent.' Jonathan Shoemaker tried to bargain with Thomas Jefferson to change their financial agreement in his own favor. From this letter, we can deduct that Jonathan Shoemaker was a shrewd businessman who was more concerned with his own interests than settling past debts with Jefferson. Monticello Research Center, book annotated by Edwin Morris Betts, Philadelphia, PA, 1944.
Thomas Jefferson's Garden Book, 1744-1824, re: J. Shoemaker's management of Shadwell Mills 8/8/1809 p. 373-374"Letter from Thomas Jefferson to Jonathan Shoemaker"'I have still no other reserve to look to but from you, which I hope therefore you will take into consideration. As to the difficulties of the post office they may be proper in answer to the demands of the creditors for the mail stage, but not to me whose claim is on the profits of my mill which you have been so long recieving. Trusting to the effect of the motives which I am persuaded regulate your conduct, I hope that the pressure and the justice of my case will urge you to relieve me. You know that the rent of the 1st quarter of the 3d year is now become due. You propose giving up the lease unless I will consent to lower the rent of the mill according to a scale which you state. This I can by no means do. On the contrary I should insist on considerably enlarging it at the termination of the present lease. We now know the quantity of wheat which might be counted on were the mill well managed and in hands which possessed the confidence of the costomers, and that this would justify the requiring double the rent I now have, and this would be but indifferent interest on the money the mill has cost me... I prefer the surrender and therefore accede to that proposition. Fix therefore any day for the termination of the lease... I hope you will come yourself to deliver the possession in the condition in which our articles require the redelivery. I much rather do this than continue in a course of disappointment and misunderstanding with my tenant. In the meantime I wish you every happiness.' Jefferson agreed to terminate Shoemaker's lease of Shadwell Mills early because of their financial disagreements. Monticello Research Center, book annotated by Edwin Morris Betts, Philadelphia, PA, 1944.
Maryland Census Record for the Ashton Alexander family 1/1/1810 no entry found in Baltimore, MD Nat'l Archives, Microfilm Room
Maryland Census Record for the Roger Johnson family 1/1/1810 Roger Johnson in Frederick County, Maryland"1 white male btwn ages of 10-16;"1 white male btwn ages of 16-26;"1 white male btwn ages of 45-100;"1 white female btwn ages of 16-26;"1 white female btwn ages of 45-100;==slave information was not gathered for this record - there was no column for slaves; Roger Johnson lived in Frederick County, Maryland in 1810. Nat'l Archives, Microfilm Room, Frederick Co. MD, M-252 Roll 15, p. 394
Virginia Census for the Jonathan Shoemaker family 1/1/1810 Jonathan Shoemaker living in Fredericksville Parrish, Albermarle County, Virginia"5 free white males btwn ages of 16-26"2 free white males btwn ages of 26-45"1 free white male btwn ages of 45-older"no free white females listed==2 slaves, ages and sex not listed" Note that there were seven teenage and adult males residing with Jonathan Shoemaker. They perhaps were relatives or hired help to run Shadwell Mills. In addition, two slaves were listed who may also have assisted in the operation of the mills. Nat'l Archives, Microfilm Room, 1810 VA Census for Albermarle Co, M-252 Roll 66, p. 208
Thomas Jefferson's Garden Book, 1766-1824, re: J. Shoemaker's management of Shadwell Mills 1/1/1810 p. 427"Edwin Morris Betts' annotation:"'Trouble continued at the mill. On November 9 the mill dam was almost completely destroyed, and the water stood on the floor of the mill, 4 feet deep. The Farm Book states: there fell in the course of 48 hours about 4 3/4 inches of rain. It raised the river to the brim of the bank between the mill dam and ford on this side and carried away the middle of the dam, and tore very much to pieces the Eastern 1/3. It barely entered the lowest part of the low grounds that and at Milton. The water was about 4 feet deep in the lowest floor of the manufacturing mill.'"Betts' concluded: 'The incompetent Shoemaker was still the manager of the mill.' 1810 was the last full year that Jonathan Shoemaker leased Shadwell Mills. His inability to meet payments and render a profit forced him to break his five year lease contract early. Monticello Research Center, book annotated by Edwin Morris Betts, Philadelphia, PA, 1944.
Thomas Jefferson's Garden Book, 1766-1824, re: J. Shoemaker's management of Shadwell Mills 3/1/1810 p. 376"Letter from Jonathan Shoemaker to Thomas Jefferson"'We have not been able to get but very little Flour off and that not untill (sic) this morning and the Quantity so Small that I hardly think it worth wile (sic) to go to Richmond after it, I will however make an Arangement (sic) with our factor to Pay Gibson and Jefferson on thy account 200$ by the middle of next month.' This letter is the latest of Shoemaker's time at Shadwell Mills. It offers further indication of the precarious state of milling during the early 1800s. Monticello Research Center, book annotated by Edwin Morris Betts, Philadelphia, PA, 1944.
Thomas Jefferson's Garden Book, 1766-1824, re: J. Shoemaker's management of Shadwell Mills 4/22/1810 p. 436-437"Letter from Thomas Jefferson to Jonathan Shoemaker"'A little before my departure for Bedford I informed you that the pressures on me for money for corn and other objects would oblige me to rely on you for a very considerable sum of money, of which no delay could be admitted. On my return it was some days before I went to the mill to call on you, and then learned for the first time that you were gone to the Northward and would not be back till June, and no information left for me as to what I might expect. The urgency of my necessities therefore oblige me to come to an immoveable determination, and so to state it to you candidly. Your arrears of rent are at present about 600 Dollars and within 10 days after your receive this will be about 900 after giving every credit of which I have any knolege. Not doubting but that this proceeds from difficulties of your own, I am willing to be accomodating as far as my own will permit: but my own necessities and my own credit must be attended to before those of others. I would not demand this whole sum at once, if I could be assured of receiving 200 Dollars on the 1st day of every month for 3 months, and 100 Dollars a month on the 1st day of every month after, the first remittance to be made immediately on the receipt of this. It would be with infinite reluctance that I should take any step which would destroy the credit of the mills, but necessity has no law, and I must yield to it unless you can engage the monthly paiments above mentioned and punctually fulfill the engagements. In this case I might obtain indulgencies for myself until these monthly paiments should clear me; but I cannot get along unless I can count on the rents of the mill as a regular resource. I pray you to let me hear from you immediately on the receipt of this letter, as after this painful explanation it would be as vain as inadmissible to admit the delay of writing another. Be assured that it has cost me much to write this, and that I sincerely wish you well.' Jefferson revealed his urgent need for cash but also his leniency towards his lessee, Jonathan Shoemaker. Monticello Research Center, book annotated by Edwin Morris Betts, Philadelphia, PA, 1944.
Thomas Jefferson's Garden Book, 1766-1824, re: J. Shoemaker's management of Shadwell Mills p. 342"Edwin Morris Betts' commentary"'Jefferson formulated plans for a large manufacturing mill as early as 1793. It was not, however, until 1803 that the site of the mill was laid out... Although this mill was almost completed by the end of 1806, it did not begin operations until the next year... Jefferson writes, 'she has two independent water wheels, singled geered, one turning pair of 5 f. Burr stones, the other a pr of 6 f. do. She will be finished in the best manner with every modern convenience, is about 40 by 60 f. 3 floor in the body which is of stone, and 2 floors in the roof.' Later he wrote another inquirer that the mills had one grain elevator, one meal elevator, one set of conveyors, and one hopper boy."The manufacturing mill was leased to its first tenants, Jonathan and Isaac Shoemaker, in January 1807. They carried a lease for five years and were to pay $1250.00 per year. The money was to be paid quarterly. Because of their unprofitable management, and their poor dealings with Jefferson and with other farmers, they were compelled to sell their lease at the end of four years to Thomas Mann Randolph, Jefferson's son-in-law, and to James McKenny, of Culpeper, Virginia..."Jefferson's manufacturing mill cost him over $10,000.00. Because of poor management, controversies with the lessees, and the constant repairs to the mill house, the dam, and the canal, he was never able to carry it on successfully... The Shadwell mills were sold in 1829 by the Jefferson estate to John B. Magruder and John Timerlake.' Jefferson, like John Quincy Adams, struggeled to make his mill property be a viable financial investment. Jonathan Shoemaker added to Jefferson's troubles by failing to secure a profitable return. Monticello Research Center, book annotated by Edwin Morris Betts, Philadelphia, PA, 1944.
Thomas Jefferson's Garden Book, 1766-1824, re: J. Shoemaker's management of Shadwell Mills 5/9/1811 p. 207"Letter from George Jefferson to Thomas Jefferson"'I inclose you an account of fines against Shoemaker for which he is liable to you. His flour the Inspector informs me is frequently light. His barrels are not lined, which obliges us to have it done. The law does not compel the miller to do this, but custom compels the seller: or if he does not do it, a greater deduction is frequently made in the price than it would cost.' Jonathan Shoemaker was careless in his management of the Shadwell Mill and sale of its flour. Monticello Research Center, book annotated by Edwin Morris Betts, Philadelphia, PA, 1944.
Thomas Jefferson's Memorandum Books, Vol. 2, ed. by James A. Bear, Jr and Lucia C. Stanton Thomas Jefferson kept a record of his accounts in his Memorandum Books, including the following receipts from Jonathan Shoemaker.==July 19, 1806"'drew on bank. Jonathan Shoemaker 48.41, wire mill screens'"September 25, 1807"'Isaac Shoemaker 30.53'"October 8, 1807"'Gave to Isaac Shoemaker adv. on the bank US for 67.56 being the balance due him per settlement this day of his account arbitrated by Magruder and Wright.'"October 12, 1807"'Chandler and Shoemaker [Isaac] (work on dam) 40.'"March 14, 1808"'Gave Jonathan Shoemaker ord. on bk. US 21D for 2 bushels clover seed sent to Monticello.'"August 6, 1809"'Record inclosed from Jonathan Shoemaker 490D on account of rent for the mill.'"December 21, 1809"'recieved from Jonathan Shoemaker for rent 100D "paid for a tin kettle 1D'"December 25, 1809"'Recieved from Jonathan Shoemaker on acct. of rent 50D this day.'"January 1, 1810"'Recieved from Jonathan Shoemaker on acct. 50D.'"March 2, 1810"'Recieved from Jonathan Shoemaker for rent (thro' E. Bacon) 70D.'"March 15, 1810"'Recieved from Jonathan Shoemaker for rent 200D inclosed the pd. 200D to G Jefferson to remit to Howell on my acct.'"June 6, 1810"'Recieved from Jonathan Shoemaker by letter 120D.'"October 1, 1810"'Received from Jonathan Shoemaker 350D.'"November 24, 1810"'Accepted on order of James Simmons in favor of Jonathan Shoemaker for 4-9= 14.84 and gave him a further order on Shoemaker for 20D.'"November 26, 1810"'Recieved from Shoemaker 200D.'"March 2, 1811"'Shoemaker's order on Underhill for 250D was paid in Feb.' Thomas Jefferson's account records confirm Jefferson's claim that the Shoemaker's did not pay rent for Shadwell Mills during the first 2-3 years of their lease of the property. Monticello Research Center, book publisher:Princeton University Press, 1997.
Thomas Jefferson's Garden Book, 1766-1824, re: J. Shoemaker's management of Shadwell Mills 6/10/1811 p. 458-459"Letter from Thomas Jefferson to Charles Bankhead"'The Shoemakers deliver up the mill tomorrow to Mr.s Randolph and McKenny, who have bought them out at considerable sacrifices, and will carry on the business in partnership. The Shoemakers, under all their bad management, have ground between 7,000 and 8,000 barrels a year, on which they confess they have made a Dollar a barrel. I think their successors will receive at least 60,000 bushels of wheat a year, without buying a bushel.' Jonathan and his son Isaac Shoemaker left Shadwell Mills during the summer of 1811. Jefferson claims that the new tenants expect to reep almost 10 times the amount of wheat Shoemaker was able to, implying that Shoemaker was either incompetent, inefficient, or inflicted with bad luck. Either way, the information implies that he did not employ much labor force since his output was so low. Monticello Research Center, book annotated by Edwin Morris Betts, Philadelphia, PA, 1944.
Shoemaker Family Genealogy, author and date unknown p. 30"Jonathan Shoemaker's grandmother, Dorothy Shoemaker, built a corn grist water-mill in Cheltenham Township, near Philadelphia, PA. 'For more than one hundred years this mill continued in possession of the descendants of Dorothy Shoemaker, and was known as 'Shoemaker's Mill'.' Jonathan Shoemaker learned the milling operation from his relatives who operated the Shoemaker Mill near Philadelphia, PA. Historical Society of Montgomery County, Norristown, PA, p. 19-75.
Civil Trial of John A. Wilson vs. George Johnson 12/01/1815 George Johnson was sued for $62 by Wilson. Reasons for the case were not listed, nor was an exact address of either party given. There was, however, an order given for the marshall to collect George Johnson 'late of Washington County.' George Johnson was ordered to pay the sixty-two dollars in full. This court case placed George Johnson in Washington County prior to 1815 and elsewhere in 1815. National Archives, RG 21, Case Files #E6, December Term 1815, Civil Trials, 180-299
Civil Trial of Daniel Kemp vs. George Johnson 12/01/1816 Kemp sued George Johnson for $2,243.95. Kemp built George Johnson's new mill, according to witness account: =='..in Johnson's mill there are three pair of six feet burr stones- and one [?] barn for building that machinery. And work in this mill is of superior quality and is not more complicated than necessary for common in mills of the same number and size of stones and quality, and that he had also worked on the machinery of Davis and Richardson's mill. Johnson's Mill is much superior to that in the quality of the machinery, strength, and durability ...- In Frederick County when he wroked at Davis and Richardson's Mill, the hired millweights got $15 1/2 per month and were found and boarded by Kemp- afterwards in building Johnson's mill the witness got $200 per year and was boarded by Mr. Johnson was afterwards received 18 per month-... Mr. Johnson's [mill] house was built for the number [of stones] actually put up- the size of the house makes a difference of millwrights work. The machinery [?] the number and size of the stones. In Johnson's mill the wheels are almost all spurn wheels- In Davis' almost all side wheels, the former being much more costly- Johnson's is an overshot, Davis' an undershot Mill- the former requires the most expensive machinery and is more costly- In Johnson's mill the master cog wheel is grasped... In the pit- gear of Johnson's there are a double set of cogs...there are many other differences in the two mills in favor of Mr. Johnson's....in Johnson's mill there are two screens...a seperate set of elevators- both which save labor and expense.'==Another account related: 'It is understood that the millwright's home was to be kept free of expense while the work was progressing."Be it known that we the subscribers having been duly called upon to settle the price of erecting the Merchant Mill built by Mr. Daniel Kemp Millwright for Mr. Johnson and... do hereby submit it to the parties or our award or witness our hands this 22nd of July 1814.'==The case eventually closed with an award given to Kemp of $2736.89. Kemp lost his house due to debts that piled up as a result of Johnson not paying him earlier. ==Daniel Kemp made a stipulation that the notes be signed by George's father, Roger Johnson. This court case lists the earliest reference to George Johnson having built a new mill in the County of Washington and describing it. Although he was a poor businessman, he had one of the finest mills built. National Archives, RG 21 Case Files #E6, "December Term 1816, Record no. 66
Land Transfer Deed from Roger Johnson to James Dunlop Junior 11/9/1818 'Between Roger Johnson of Frederick County in the State of Maryland of the one part and James Dunlop Junior of Georgetown in the District of Columbia of the other part. Whereas George Johnson, son of said Roger Johnson, is indebted unto the President Directors and company of the Bank of Columbia in the sum of $35,161.55 upon three promissory notes discounted at said Bank for accomodation of the said George Johnson and now held by the said Bank of said notes being for sum of $17,540.40 drawn by the said George Johnson and endorsed by the said Roger Johnson dated 14 May last and payable 60 days after date, another of the said notes being for the sum of $13,900 drawn by the said George Johnson and endoresed by James Dunlop Senior dated 14 May last and payable at 60 days and the other of said James Dunlop Senior dated 14 May last and payable at 60 days and whereas George Johnson did pay $1,800 and execute a mortgage to the aforesaid James Dunlop Senior to secure payment of sum of $13,900..."Whereas it is the wish and desire of the said Roger Johnson to secure to the Bank aforesaid the punctual payment of the first note $17,540.40, also the last note $3,721.11 and to the amount of $6,900 being part of the second note. Together to sum of $28,161.55 when they severly fall dau and become payable...Together with all interest discounts costs and charges due on said notes by conveying the property herein after mentioned to the said James Dunlop Junior in trust and to effect these objects. Now this indenture witnesseth that in consideration of the premises and the natural love and affection which said Roger feels for said George and as indemnity to said James Dunlop Senior and in further consideration of sum of $5,000 paid to James Dunlop Junior hereby... conveying to James Dunlop Junior described part of Tract or parcel of land it being part of a Tract called 'Pretty Prospect' lying and being in County of Washington... containing 28 acres 2 Rods and 19 Perches and also a tract or parcel of land... called 'Pleasant Plains' containing 3 acres 38 Poles... Together with all and singular the Mill houses, dwellings houses, buildings, improvements, priviledges and appurtenances erected thereon... if said George Johnson shall fail to pay off and discharge the first and last notes and the part of the note herein before referred to amounting to sum of $28,161.55 together with interest, discounts, costs and charges due thereon... it shall be lawful for said James Dunlop Junior to set up and sell at public sale for cash or upon credit as to the said trustees (w. advertisement).' George Johnson accrued more debt that he could pay off. To help pay off the debts, Roger Johnson, his father, had to convey ownership of the Columbia Mills to James Dunlop Junior, appointed trustee for the Bank of Columbia. DC Recorder of Deeds, Land Records Liber AT44, District of Columbia, folio 39-42.
Maryland Census Record for the Ashton Alexander family 1/1/1820 no entry found in Baltimore, MD Nat'l Archives, Microfilm Room
Maryland Census Record for the Roger Johnson family 1/1/1820 Roger Johnson in Frederick County, Maryland"1 white male btwn ages of 16-26;"2 white males btwn ages of 26-45;"1 white male btwn ages of 45-100;"1 white female btwn ages of 16-26;"1 white female btwn ages of 26-45;"1 white female btwn ages of 45-100;==8 persons are listed as engaged in agriculture;==13 male slaves of various ages;"21 female slaves of various ages;"2 free black males under age of 14; Roger Johnson lived in Frederick County, Maryland in 1820. Nat'l Archives, Microfilm Room, Frederick Co. MD, M-33 Roll 43, p. 81.
DC Census Records for George Johnson 01/01/1820 County of Washington"George Johnson"2 free white males between the ages of 0-10;"1 free white male between the ages of 26-45;==2 free white females between the ages of 0-10;"1 free white male between the ages of 26-45;==1 male slave aged 0-14 years;"1 male slave aged 14-26 years;"1 male slave aged 45-86 years;==2 free colored males aged 45-86; George Johnson was 37 years old in 1820. With his wife, Elizabeth Dunlop, he had seven children. Although the birth dates of the children is unknown, this entry may be a correct match since his first four children were two boys and two girls. Court cases from 1820 placed Johnson in the county of Washington, operating the Columbia Mills. National Archives, Microfilm Room, Washington County, DC, M33 Roll 5, p. 68
Manufacturer's Census for George Johnson 01/01/1820 'George Johnson, a miller"Operating 5 milling stones==Species Quantity==Wheat Bushels 60,000 tons"Corn do. 20,000 tons"Plaster 400,000 tons'" ==Several sections were not completed for the census. They were: 'Number of hands, market value, cost of materials annually consumed, men or women employed, capitol investments, wages paid, expansion.'=== George Johnson was listed in the Manufacturing Census as operating a mill, grinding wheat, corn and plaster in 1820. National Archives, Microfiche Room, Drawer M98-04, Roll Series M279, #17
Court Case of Zachariah Smart vs. George Johnson, in the District of Columbia 07/01/1820 Johnson was officially charged with trespassing and the suit related to trouble at the mills. Johnson owed Smart money for mill devices and products. The total due was $196.72. ==The list of assets for which money was asked included meal at $3.40 each measurement, flour at $9.40 and several entries of cash amounts. ==The court case began in May 1819, with a final verdict given June 1820. Judge Cranch ordered Johnson to pay Zachariah Smart the full amount due.==George Johnson was listed as living in Washington county. From this case, we can determine that George Johnson operated Columbia Mills in 1819 and already had financial difficulties with it. National Archives, RG21, Case Files, #E6, June Term, 1820, Civil Trials, Box #188, Record #748
'National Intelligencer' Advertisement for Sale of Columbia Mills, Johnson selling Columbia Mills 5/29/1821 'This valuable property lies on Rock Creek, a never-failing stream, near Georgetown. A large brick wheat Mill, 50 by 54 feet, 4 stories high, running 4 pair burrs, overshot wheels, 16 feet head and fall, manufactures 100 barrels flour per day with ease. A brick plaster mill which grinds 12 tons plaster per day. A two story framed building, 23 by 30 feet. Two other brick buildings for workmen, with stabling for 12 horses, sheds and all new, and in complete repair, with about 30 to 32 acres of land under good fence. The terms will be made accommodating, which will be made known by application to Roger Johnson, near Fredericktown, MD or James Dunlop, Jr. Georgetown, DC. The mills cleared the last season 25 per cent on the amount that they are valued at and will be sold for.' The property for sale did not list a dwelling. Although George Johnson was running the Columbia Mills and bearing the costs, his father, Roger Johnson, was the seller of the property. MLK Library, Washingtoniana Division, Microfilm 'National Intelligencer', NP2016, Reel 29, p. 4
Genealogy of the Shoemaker Family of Cheltenham, Pennsylvania, compiled by Benjamin Shoemaker 'Jonathan Shoemaker, son of Isaac Shoemaker and his wife Elizabeth Potts, was born 5 mo. 10 [May 10], 1756, in Cheltenham township, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania. He resided for some years in Northumberland County, and was there justice of the peace in 1796. He was a member from Montgomery County of the first Constitutional Convention of Pennsylvania 1790, and was there justice of the peace in 1796. He was a member from Montgomery County of the first Constitutional Convention of Pennsylvania, 1790, and was one of the signers; he was a manager of the Pennsylvania Hospital, 1781-1790. He removed to Georgetown, D.C., about 1800, where he operated the Shadwell Flour-Mills near Monticello, and afterwards the Columbia Mills; while at the latter, his son George used to relate that 'Dolly Madison frequently rode out to his father's house seated in the mill-wagon to visit his step-mother, with whom, she was intimate, and spend the day in social chat.'" Jonathan Shoemaker married 10 mo. 20, 1779, Hannah Lukens, daughter of Joseph and Elizabeth (Spencer) Lukens, of Horsham, Pennsylvania; he married, 3 mo. 14, 1811, at Plymouth Meeting, Pennsylvania, Elizabeth Deaves, of Gwynedd; she died 3 mo. 17, 1817, aged fifty-one years, and was buried at Plymouth; he died 12 mo. 17, 1837, near Baltimore, Maryland, at the residence of his son , Isaac Shoemaker, Esq. and was buried in Washington D.C., in the graveyard which he had given, about 1809, to the Society of Friends for a burial-place, on I-street between Eighteenth and Nineteenth Streets."Children of Jonathan and Hannah (Lukens) Shoemaker:"Isaac, born 9 mo. 4, 1781, married Ann Seaver and lived and died near Baltimore."Elizabeth, born 10 mo.11, 1784, married Arnold Boon, of Virginia."Joseph, died 3 mo. 11, 1814, married Rachel Comly."David Potts, born 10 mo. 7, 1790, married Mary Sumwalt."George, born 9 mo. 27, 1792; married Rebecca Albertson, who died 1 mo. 17, 1818; and 9 mo. 13, 1821, Elizabeth Lukens.' Benjamin Shoemaker, the author of this geneology, was Jonathan's grandson. The sequence in which he lists Jonathan's time at Shadwell and Columbia Mills is incorrect. Other accounts appear accurate and have been confirmed by research. County of Montgomery, Courthouse, Norristown, PA, Department of History and Cultural Arts
Washington/ Georgetown City Directory 1/1/1822 George Johnson was not listed. SI American History Library, Microfiche file for City Directories
John Quincy Adams' Diary regarding the purchase of the Columbia Mills 7/11/1823 'George Johnson a cousin of Mrs. Adms came to request me to purchase mills in this neighborhood which have belonged to him and upon which he says he has spent near $50,000; but which he has conveyed in trust for a debt to the Bank of Columbia. The debt is $20,000; and they are willing to receive payment of it by yearly instalments in five years. But to get the mills to work from $10-12,000 more are necessary as capital, to purchase wheat, and pay the charges of the establishment. George Johnson can raise no part of this money and unless he can make some other arrangement with the Bank before next Thursday they will rent out the mills as their property and turn him adrift upon the world. He urged me to buy the mills for $20,000 to furnish for $10-12,000 to get and keep them constantly at work. To put them under his management for such portion of the profits as I shall think proper; and refer to him the right of repurchasing half the estate on his paying $10,000. I have taken time for consideration of this proposal, to the acceptance of which many motives, all just and virtuous urge me, but which I cannot accept but at great hazard, and with deep stakes to myself and my family. I promised to answer definately before next Thursday... I rode out with Mrs. Adams, Johnson Hellen and George, to the Columbian Mills, on Rock Creek. They are in rather a neglected condition but appear to be a valuable property.' JQA considered buying the Columbia Mills to help one of his wife's cousin out of a financial crisis and as a potentially valuable investment for himself. Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Adams Papers, John Quincy Adams Diary, Reel 37
Letter from John Quincy Adams to the Bank of Columbia, regarding the purchase of the Columbia Mills 07/14/1823 'Gentleman," I propose to you, upon receiving from you a good and sufficient deed in fee simple of the Columbia Mills, to discharge the debt of twenty thousand dollars from M. George Johnson to you by giving you a credit at the Bank of the United States in this city to that amount - this arrangement to be proposed to the Bank of the United States, and executed immediately on their assent being given." I am with great respect, Gentlemen, your very humble and obediant Servant.' John Quincy Adams purchased the Columbia Mills for $20,000 from the bank, proposing that the bank in return relieve George Johnson of the same amount in debts against them. Library of Congress, Manuscripts Division, Adams Papers, John Quincy Adams Letterbook, Reel 147
"John Quincy Adams' Diary entry regarding purchase of Columbia Mills 7/14/1823 'George Johnson came and brought an original deed of the land which I have agreed to purchase on the terms proposed by him, to which I suggested some slight modifications.. The estate really belonged to Roger Johnson, George's father, the conveyance have been made by him.' "George Johnson went to Frederick, MD to visit his father regarding the purchase of the mills."John Quincy Adams notes that he expects George Johnson to be able to buy him out someday so that the mills can provide a profitable income for him and his family. Roger Johnson, George Johnson's father, owned the mills. Although George Johnson never owned the mills personally, he was responsible for the debts incurred. Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Adams Papers, John Quincy Adams Diary, Reel 37
John Quincy Adams' Diary regarding the purchase of Columbia Mills 7/17/1823 'After dinner I went out with Mrs. Adams Mary Hellen and George to see George Johnson's, where I found his father, Mr. Roger Johnson and Mr. Dunlop... [they] have accepted them [the deed papers for the mills]. Dunlap gave me the title deeds to examine.' JQA received ownership of the mills. Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Admas Papers, John Quincy Adams Diary, Reel 37
John Quincy Adams' Diary regarding the purchase of Columbia Mills 7/21/1823 'I went out to the Columbia Mills and George Johnson went with me over every part of the large building.' JQA inspected the Columbia Mills but unfortunately did not record a detailed description of the inspection. Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Adams Papers, John Quincy Adams Diary, Reel 37
Land Transfer Deed from James Dunlop to John Quincy Adams 8/16/1823 'Between James Dunlop of Georgetown in the District of Columbia of the one part and John Quincy Adams of Boston in the Commonwealth of Massachussetts, but now residing at the City of Washington in the said District of Columbia of the other part. "Witnesseth: Whereas Roger Johnson of Frederick County in the state of Maryland, did by his deed bearing date 12 June 1818...convey to the said James Dunlop by, the land and real estate hereinafter described in fee simple... And whereas the said James Dunlop in pursuance of said deed and in execution of the trust therein confided to him, did advertise and sell the said real estate at public auction, on the 19 June last, at the Union Tavern in Georgetown, at which said John Cox became the highest bidder and purchaser thereof, at and for the sum of $19,990, as the agent and for and on account of the president directors and company of the Bank of Columbia and whereas the Bank hath since sold the said Mills and real estate to the said John Quincy Adams, for the sum of $20,000, which last mentioned sum of money the said Adams hath fully paid to said Bank, and whereas the said Bank and their agent the said Cox have assigned all their interest in said purchase and in the said Real Estate to the said John Quincy Adams, his heirs and assigns and have requested and directed the said James Dunlop to convey the said real estate to the said John Quincy Adams in fee simple which said assignment and direction is further evidence by signature of said John Cox to this deed as a subscribed witness..."Part of a tract or parcel of land it being part of a tract called 'Pretty Prospect' lying and being in the City of Washington... Containing 28 acres 2 Rods and 19 Perches..."including 3 acres and 38 Poles that Anthony Holmead conveyed to Johnson in 1809 as part of 'Lamars Outlet' now called 'Pleasant Plains'... together with all and singular the mill houses, dwelling houses, buildings, improvements, water courses, priviledges and appurtenances erected thereon.' John Quincy Adams purchased the Columbia Mills property upon request by his wife's cousin, George Johnson (son of Roger Johnson). George Johnson was forced to declare bankrupcy but wanted to continue operating the mills for Admas with the hope of being able to become part owner of the mills again. DC Recorder of Deeds, Land Records Liber WB9, District of Columbia, folio 157-159.
John Quincy Adams's Diary regarding purchase of Columbia Mills 9/11/1823 'Mr. Dunlop and Mr. George Johnson were here, and we finished the transactions of the purchase of the Columbia Mills.' JQA received ownership of the mills. Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Adams Papers, John Quincy Adams Diary, Reel 37
John Quincy Adams's Diary regarding operation of the Columbia Mills 9/18/1823 'George Johnson was here, and I gave him a check on the Branch Bank to get him fully at work with the Mills. He said he should begin tomorrow.' George Johnson was employed by JQA to operate the mills. Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Adams Papers, John Quincy Adams Diary, Reel 37
John Quincy Adams' Diary regarding operation of the Columbia Mills 11/10/1823 'George Johnson was here this morning and gave me an account of his proceedings at the mills; difficulties multiply and prospects are dull. Since the late rain waters abounds, and they make 100 barrels of flour a day. Expect to make 100 barrels this week. But there is now no market for the flour. He has not yet got his books in order but promises that he will have soon.' From the very beginning, John Quincy Adams had difficulties with George Johnson's inability to operate the mills effectively. Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Adams Papers, John Quincy Adams Diary, Reel 37
John Quincy Adams' Diary regarding operation of the Columbia Mills 11/17/1823 'George Johnson came, and gave me further explanation in relation to his books. I have great difficulty in bringing him to a system of regularity in the keeping of books; the business hitherto proceeds with some difficulties anticipated and with others unexpected. The greatest are in the way of his doing business. The business hitherto done has been rather encouraging; but is yet exceedingly precarious, as to the prospects of profit at the end of the year - my son John went with him to arrange the bookkeeping part of the concern.' John Adams was already involved in the financial management of the mills by 1823. Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Adams Papers, John Quincy Adams Diary, Reel 37
John Quincy Adams Diary regarding the operation of the Columbia Mills 11/21/1823 'George Johnson was here this morning - his business drags heavily on and gives me too much reason to fear will terminate in disappointment. The fluctuations of the market render it always precarious. The water sails, as he says, have had unaccountable obstacles of various kinds occur. Yet I will not despair, while I have a prospect perhaps.' Troubles continued at the Columbia Mills. Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Adams Papers, John Quincy Adams Diary, Reel 37
John Quincy Adams Diary regarding the operation of the Columbia Mills 12/3/1823 'George Johnson was at my house, about his books, which he is to send me; made up for the last month. His prospects of business are dull and declining.' JQA continued to have problems with George Johnson's management of the Columbia Mills. Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Adams Papers, John Quincy Adams Diary, Reel 37
John Quincy Adams Diary entry, regarding the operation of the Columbia Mills 03/05/1824 'George Johnson was here this morning and gave an account of the state of the Mills. They are doing nothing there. The whole capital that I advanced for the transaction of the business has been turned into credits upon notes in Bank, and into shipments of Flour to Providence and Portland, with seven hundred barrels of flour on hand unsaleable. Johnson says it was never so before but the business was always done for cash. There is no sale for offer and it cannot be kept. Scarcely any sale for Plaster of Paris, and little for Indian Corn Meal. The present aspect of things is disappointment and heavy loss. We agreed to wind up the concerns as well as we can at the close of the first year.' The financial prospects at the Columbia Mills were grim for JQA. He also had problems with George Johnson using JQA's cash advances to pay off his own personal debts (see diary entry dated 11/28/1825). Library of Congress, Manuscripts Division, Adams Papers, John Quincy Adams Diary, Reel 38
John Quincy Adams Diary entry regarding the operation of the Columbia Mills 08/24/1824 'George Johnson came, and we cancelled our articles of agreement executed last year, and left the property wholly at my disposal. We agreed that he should continue to have the management of the mills for the ensuing year as my agent and he will call again tomorrow to excute an agreement to that affect.' George Johnson remained at the Columbia Mills to operate the mills. Library of Congess, Manuscripts Division, Adams Papers, John Quincy Adams Diary, Reel 38
John Quincy Adams Diary entry regarding the operation of the Columbia Mills 08/25/1824 'George Johnson came and we executed a new agreement for the management of the mills for the present year. The first has been a total and a severe disappointment; and I have no reason to expect anything better from the second.' George Johnson continued to manage the Columbia Mills for JQA. Library of Congress, Manuscripts Division, Adams Papers, John Quincy Adams Diary, Reel 38
John Quincy Adams Diary regarding the operation of the Columbia Mills 6/9/1824 'The business of the mills has been a losing concern. All the labor of the year has been lost; and instead of a resource for retirement, is likely to prove a heavy clog upon my affairs.' Financial worries over the Columbia Mills continued for JQA. Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Adams Papers, John Quincy Adams Diary, Reel 36
John Quincy Adams Diary regarding the operation of the Columbia Mills 11/28/1825 'Johnson George desires some appointment for subsistance. I asked him to account for the monies received from me more than two years since, which he promised he would, but cannot. It being all wasted in payment of his own debts.' George Johnson mismanaged JQA's funds at the Columbia Mills, using funds to pay off his own debts. Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Adams Papers, John Quincy Adams Diary, Reel 40
John Quincy Adams Diary regarding the operation of the Columbia Mills 1/20/1826 'George Johnson came to solicit a place as a Clerk in one of the Departments, to which I assured him I should in no case recommend him.' 1826 may have been the year that George Johnson left (or was forced to leave) Columbia Mills due to his inability to run them efficiently. Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Adams Papers, John Quincy Adams Diary, Reel 40
Washington/ Georgetown City Directory 1/1/1827 p.44, no. 1519"'Johnson, George, clerk at 1st Comptroller's Office; d.w. Georgetown' This entry may refer to the George Johnson who had operated the Columbia Mills earlier since his daughter wrote that he worked as a clerk at the Treasury Department for many years. Although John Quincy Adams mentioned in his diary that George Johnson lived in Alexandria, there were no entries in the Alexandria City Directory for a George Johnson. SI American History Library, Microfiche file for City Directories
Letter from John Quincy Adams to his son, John Adams, regarding the Columbia Mills 08/03/1829 'I am under great concern of mind about the mills perceiving that you are beginning the business of the year upon a falling [?]. The accounts from Europe announce abundant Harvests both in France and England, so that there is no prospect of a foreign market. I have no doubt you will proceed with great caution, and as the fall in the price of flour seems to precede that of wheat, trust you will avoid any considerable loss. But the prospects of the business are discouraging. If anything of interest occurs, whether bright or cloudy, you will advise me of it.' John Adams was in charge of the Columbia Mills and his father advised him on the market conditions overseas. Library of Congress, Manuscripts Room, Adams Papers, John Quincy Adams Letterbook, Roll 149
Letter from John Quincy Adams to his son, John Adams, regarding the Columbia Mills 09/5/1829 'I hope that your attention to the business of the mills will afford you some constant and that it may not prove an unprofitable occupation.' John Adams managed the operation of the Columbia Mills for his father. Library of Congress, Manuscripts Division, Adams Papers, John Quincy Adams Letterbook, Roll 149
Letter from John Quincy Adams to his son, John Adams, regarding the Columbia Mills 10/01/1829 'The account of your business done at the mills is more promising than I had dared to hope under the discouragement of the constantly falling market.'==JQA discussed his persistant concerns over falling markets, and contemplated selling one of his other properties to double the mill's investment capital. John Adams was able to make a good profit on the Columbia Mills in 1829. Unfortunately, the success was not long lasting. Library of Congress, Manuscripts Division, Adams Papers, John Quincy Adams Letterbook, Roll 149
Letter from John Quincy Adams to his son, John Adams, regarding the Columbia Mills 10/24/1829 'The flour market is still falling and my anxiety for your operations at the mills continues, at such times the only security is to have nothing on hand.' JQA's continued to worry over the volatile flour markets. Library of Congress, Manuscripts Division, Adams Papers, John Quincy Adams Letterbook, Roll 149
Maryland Census Record for the Ashton Alexander family 1/1/1830 no entry found in Baltimore, MD Nat'l Archives, Microfilm Room
Maryland Census Record for the Roger Johnson family 1/1/1830 Roger Johnson in Frederick County, Maryland==1 white male btwn ages 30-40;"1 white male btwn ages 80-90;"1 white female under age 5;"1 white female btwn ages 40-50;"1 white female btwn ages 70-80;==12 male slaves of various ages;"10 female slaves of various ages; Roger Johnson lived in Frederick County, Maryland in 1830. Nat'l Archives, Microfilm Room, Frederick Co. MD, M-19 Roll 57, p. 15.
DC Census Records for Nathaniel Frye 01/01/1830 Nathaniel Frye"located in Washington==Free White Male, aged 5 - 10 1"Free White Male, aged 40 - 50 1" "Free White Female, aged 20 - 30 1"Free White Female, aged 40 - 50 1==Female Slave, aged 10 - 24 1==Free Colored Male, aged 24 - 36 1 Nathaniel Frye was John Quincy Adams' agent and lawyer, and he was responsible for the Columbia Mills accounts during the 1830s. He lived in Georgetown as is indicated in the Washington/ Georgetown City Directory. D.C. National Archives, Microfilm Room, Wash Co, Ward 1, M-19 Roll 14, p. 48
Washington/ Georgetown City Directory 1/1/1830 p. 44, no. 1520"'Johnson, George, clerk at 1st Comptroller's Office, d.w. Georgetown==Frye, Nathaniel, Chief Clerk Paymaster, General's Office, d.w. Georgetown, near Potomac' This entry may refer to the George Johnson who had operated the Columbia Mills earlier since his daughter wrote that he worked as a clerk at the Treasury Department for many years. Although John Quincy Adams mentioned in his diary that George Johnson lived in Alexandria, there were no entries in the Alexandria City Directory for a George Johnson. SI American History Library, Microfiche file for City Directories
John Quincy Adams Diary entry regarding the Columbia Mills 05/15/1830 'Mr. Johnson called this morning and I rode with John after dinner to the Mill.' Did JQA mean George Johnson? JQA mentioned riding with John to the mill on several occasions. This document as well as other records confirm that John lived with his parents, not by the mills, although he was in charge of the mills. Library of Congress, Manuscripts Division, Adams Papers, John Quincy Adams Diary, Reel 39
Letter from John Quincy Adams to his son, John Adams, regarding the Columbia Mills 05/28/1830 'Since I began this letter Mr. W.C. Greenleaf has called, and informs me that he is going on to Washington tomorrow. I have requested him therefore to take charge of my epistle which has been interupted by Sunday visitors." On my arrival in Baltimore, I found by the newspapers that the packet of 23 April had arrived before those of the 8th and 16th. My first curiosity was for the price of wheat and flour- I could get nothing satisfactory, but saw the accomplishment of my prophecy, by positive statement of the London Market that the business was exceedingly flat and dull, and that the prices of the best wheat had declined 2 or 3 pence a bushel from those of the preceding week- on the other hand an Article upon the Liverpool Market asserted that the average of the six preceding weeks had been at 6 [?] pence sterling the Quarter for wheat and that of the last week and that the duty on foreign wheat had been reduced another shilling. This is the old mystification, but what the effects of it have been upon our Markets I could not ascertain." I hope you will now be relieved from your concern with regard to your warehouse keeping at Georgetown- and that your additional business will more than [?] the additional charges you are incurring. You will remember my anxiety to hear how your corn meal market turns out from week to week, and at the close of every month, I ask you to send me a summary statement of the stock on hand, with the amount of debts active and passive and the real prospects of business for the future.' JQA wished to remain informed on all matters concerning the Columbia Mills. He followed the fluctuating markets very closely. William Greenleaf, whom he mentioned in this letter, later was put in charge of the financial matters concerning the mills. Library of Congress, Manuscripts Division, Adams Papers, John Quincy Adams Letterbook, Reel 492
John Quincy Adams Diary regarding the operation of the Columbia Mills 05/28/1830 'William C. Greenleaf whom my son John has engaged to assist him in the business of the mill. He came from Boston yesterday morning, and proceeds to Washington tomorrow.' William Greenleaf was asked to assist in operating the Columbia Mills. Library of Congress, Manuscripts Division, Adams Papers, John Quincy Adams Diary, Reel 39
John Quincy Adams Diary regarding the Columbia Mills 05/29/1830 'William C. Greenleaf left at 7 this morning. I gave him a letter for my son John.' JQA wrote this entry in Quincy, MA. Greenleaf presumably (as stated in entry from the previous day) left to assist John Adams with the mill. Library of Congress, Manuscipts Division, Adams Papers, John Quincy Adams Diary, Reel 39
Letter from John Quincy Adams to his son, John Adams, regarding the Columbia Mills 06/26/1830 'I would take to the extent of 200 shares of the Franklin Insurance Stock at the rate mentioned in your letter.'==JQA also expressed general concern over the profitablity of running the mill. Franklin Insurance Company stock was presumably for the Columbia Mills to protect Adams catastrophies. Library of Congress, Manuscripts Division, Adams Papers, John Quincy Adams Letterbook, Reel 492
Letter from John Quincy Adams to his son, John Adams, regarding the Columbia Mills 10/17/1830 JQA wrote of the flour market going downhill and that 'the opening of the British West India Ports will not raise it.' Troubles over fluctuating markets continued at Columbia Mills. Library of Congress, Manuscripts Division, Adams Papers, John Quincy Adams Letterbook, Reel 492
Letter from John Quincy Adams to his son, John Adams, regarding the Columbia Mills 10/27/1830 JQA asked his son to maintain better written correspodance regarding the mills. 'Whether you will deem it advisable to remain at Washington for the sake of the mills is for your consideration. I fear from your omission to write to me that the good business has fallen off since your return.'" John Adams continued to manage the Columbia Mills. Library of Congress, Manuscripts Division, Adams Papers, John Quincy Adams Letterbook, Reel 149
Letter from Louisa Catherine Adams to her son, John Adams, regarding the Columbia Mills 11/04/1830 'As I presume and hope that you have arrived safely at home my Dear John and returned to your drudgery at the Mill I trust you will find that business fully answering your expectations and a full and steady occupation for the future. The fluctuations produced by the news which is perpetually arriving no doubt makes it a little odious but I know your nativity and your prudence and the spar of two lovely children to provide for is amply sufficient to exercise both your prudence and your wit.' John Adams had fallen into a deep depression from which his mother tried to coax him. The trials of the mills were apparently only adding to his troubles. Library of Congress, Manuscripts Division, Adams Papers, John Quincy Adams Letterbook, Reel 492
Letter from Louisa Catherine Adams to her son, Charles Francis Adams, regarding the Columbia Mills 01/07/1831 'The mill affairs do as well as the [?] will permit and as there is now fine sleighing the prospect brightens every hour. The snow is falling heavily today, the River has been closed upwards of a fortnight. It will therefore not be possible to send the flour until the winter breaks up. It is rising very rapidly and I hope it will continue to do so as your father has made a considerable purchase in the hope of clearing something handsome. You will be surprised when I tell you that John and I are obliged to exert all our energies to restrain the speculating spirit within due bounds. It is a fact however and one very credible as it is one of the striking traits of your fathers character to enter all the spirit of his nature into whatever he undertakes. John's [son] nature is not half so sanguine and he is easily depressed. Poor fellow, he had last summer eight hundred barrels which he was very desirous of keeping having every reason to believe from the information collected at New York that it would be safe and profitable but his letters from Quincy were so depressing and so positive he dared not risk the responsibility and although the sales were good and yielded 75 cents on a Barrel, if he had kept it would have produced at the present time 2 dollars and a half- I mention this more minutely because I think your opinion on these matters was a little erroneous and I confess I have sometimes been a little aprehensive of soil from the very nature of my character.' In this letter Louisa Catherine Adams demonstrated how closely each family member was affected by the mills, as well as son John's apparent inability to make good business judgements. Library of Congress, Manuscripts Division, Adams Papers, John Quincy Adams Letterbook, Reel 492
Letter from Charles Francis Adams to his brother, John Adams, regarding the Columbia Mills 03/13/1831 'I am an attentive observer of the flour market and wish it would rise faster than it does if it helps you at all, but the tricks of the trade are such that upon my soul I don't exactly know what is right to wish- I can't be wrong though when I say it is just what suits you best.' Charles Frances Adams offered words of encouragement to his vulnerable brother John about the fluctuating flour markets. Library of Congress, Manuscripts Division, Adams Papers, John Quincy Adams Letterbook, Reel 493
Roger Johnson's will 3/14/1831 'I will and desire that my Executors hereafter named shall sell either at public or private sale... to discharge my debts... the house and lot of land adjoining the Columbia Mills in the district of Columbia.' "In his will Roger Johnson mentioned his wife Elizabeth, sons Richard, Charles, James, Joseph, deceased son William (wife Dorethea), daughters Henrietta, Eliza Armstrong, Sarah Doisey, leaving them all various parcels of land. No mention was made of his son George. Several slaves were left to his descendants, while others were to be sold within the state of Maryland. This will makes the earliest known written reference to Holt House. Note that Roger Johnson did not mention his son George in his will nor did he mention any family member member living at Holt House. Frederick Co. Recorder of Wills, Frederick, MD, Liber G.M.E.1, Folio 212
Letter from John Quincy Adams to his son, John Adams, regarding the Columbia Mills 06/01/1831 'I know not why you should want more authority from me, for your proposed shipment of flour to Liverpool- I have given my consent to it twice, and if you must have it again, I give it here in the amplest manner, but I repeat that your flour will arrive there at the very mid summer glut of the market, and you must forbid the sale of it there under a limited price or you will lose more than by keeping it at home- now I beg you not to understand this as a withdrawal of my consent to the shipment."I have some confidence in the prospects of the market after the next harvest..."The British Parliament and the French Legislative assemblies are dissolved. There is no indication of a General War for this year. The Harvest regulates the breaking out of War, as well as the price of grain and flour- but the parties, and especially France are not ready- Louis-Philippe's policy is pacific..."I take it for granted that you have received the Dividend in the Franklin Insurance Company Stock. I return the letter of George Johnson and consent to the exchange proposed by him.' JQA still conducted business with George Johnson. On 8/13/1831 he wrote in a letter to his son John that George Johnson agreed to an 'exchange of lots desired by him'. On 11/27/1834 JQA again wrote that George Johnson deeded him a lot. The Franklin Insurance Company Stock most likely refered to an insurance holding for the mills. Library of Congress, Manuscripts Division, Adams Papers, John Quincy Adams Letterbook, Reel 493
Letter from John Quincy Adams to his son, John Adams, regarding the Columbia Mills 06/14/1831 'My last letter to you was of the 1st inst. with the statement enclosed in it- The quantity of flour remaining unsold is still very uncertain, and I wish you as soon as possible to ascertain and let me know its amount exactly- By the statement you have only 220 barrels on hand for my account- Whence did you propose to take the shipment for Liverpool?- That shipment whether made or not is evidently of little consequence. The prices there were rapidly falling on the 6th of May and by this time are probably at their minimum."I wrote you that to avoid forcing sales I should wish to renew the note at the Union Bank at Boston, for 5,000 dollars chargeable by my minutes on the 26th of this month but I now prefer to pay it off, and have made arrangements here for that purpose- On receipt of this you may draw upon the United States Branch Bank at Boston for 5000 dollars chargeable to my accounts with which you will take up the note at the Union Bank."The season is approaching to commence the operation of the flour mill- I have written you already how I think the stock on hand may be kept, always fresh, and sales hereafter without risk of a fall between the purchase of the wheat and making of the flour.' JQA retained close supervison of all milling activities. His comments indicate that the milling business was seasonal and that the flour and meal products were therefore stored in warehouses (see reference in 5/28/1830 entry). Library of Congress, Manuscripts Division, Adams Papers, John Quincy Adams Letterbook, Reel 493
Letter from John Quincy Adams to his son, John Adams, regarding the Columbia Mills 06/26/1831 'As there will certainly be no rise in the price of flour till after both these days will have passed and as I wish not to have the stock on hand reduced by a single barrel.==While the market is declining, I foresee that it will be necessary to continue the debt upon those two notes beyond that period. I hope however to make arrangements for taking up one of them and perhaps both- so as to relieve you from all the responsibilty of your signatures. My hope is that in the course of the next winter some interval of a rising market will occur when the stock may be disposed of in such manner as to discharge the whole debt- But in the meantime I wish to take the whole burden of the debt upon myself- only claiming of you exact statements of the amount of stock remaining unsold, that I may know upon what ultimately to rely.- From your shipment to Liverpool, I expect... if it pays back your 4 dollars and 6 or 12 1/2 cents with costs and charges, I shall be more content.==I have written before and now repeat, what appears to me are advantages of having a stock upon hand, worth more than the interest paid for holding it- Generally speaking it must enable you to avoid the chance of fall in the market between the purchase of wheat and the sale of flour. ==Because you can make the sale precede the purchase, or the double operation at the same time- There still remains indeed the cases when the price of wheat is too high for grinding at all- but then the only resource is to stop the wheels. Supply by all means with fresh flour every sale that you make, when you can make a profit by the sale, upon the stock which you repurchase, but do not sell your flour at 4 dollars a barrel, to purchase wheat at a dollar a bushel.' JQA outlined details regarding the purchase and sale of raw materials and products for the mill. He clearly wanted to retain a very active role in decisions concerning the mills while his son John was in charge. Library of Congress, Manuscripts Division, Adams Papers, John Quincy Adams Letterbook, Reel 493
Letter from John Quincy Adams to his son, John Adams, regarding the Columbia Mills 06/29/1831 'I desire you therefore immediately on receiving this letter to send under cover to me, an order upon each of the correspondants to whom you have made shipments in Boston- Mr. Lallare, Ballister and Co. Rice and Thaxter, and Cosgrove and Co. directing them to furnish me with a statement of their accounts on your shipments to them and of the stock which they yet have on hand, and to account with me, hence forth for all their sales- This will take the business at Boston entirly off your hands but I shall keep you as constantly informed of all their proceedings as they would themselves."There will remain the shipments to New York- and the last one to Liverpool; which with the business of the mills and the transactions at Georgetown will occupy all your time, and which if prudently managed will I hope yet prove profitable."We have an arrival from Liverpool of 24 May- on the 21st there had been a trifling rise in the market there, but a very heavy fall at London on the 20th. The ordinary summer decline had but just begun; I advise you not to undertake any operation upon the opinion that flour is at at its minmum price for the year- It will probably be thirty percent lower than it is, before next November. The Liverpool quotation of American flour on the 22nd of May is from 33 to 36 shillings a barrel. This is scarcely 8 per cent from the highest quotation in March; while the fall has been nearly forty per cent.' This letter lists the markets to which John Adams shipped the grain: Boston, New York, Liverpool, and Baltimore. An earlier entry also listed Portland (ME) and Providence (RI). JQA retained close supervision of all activities concerning the mills and even helped relieve his son of duties at the Boston market. Library of Congress, Manuscipts Division, Adams Papers, John Quincy Adams Letterbook, Reel 492
Letter from John Quincy Adams to his son, John Adams, regarding the Columbia Mills 06/29/1831 JQA mentioned a shipment of 220 Barrels [flour ?] to Liverpool.==Also, 'one thousand barrels purchased by you at 4 dollars 6 and 4.12 1/2 a barrel to supply stock previously sold. The shipment being made, we have now only to wait.'== JQA continually hoped to sell flour on the English market. Library of Congress, Manuscripts Division, Adams Papers, John Quincy Adams Letterbook, Reel 493
Letter from John Quincy Adams to his son, John Adams, regarding the Columbia Mills 07/23/1831 'You say you have shipped 300 barrels of flour to Boston- The price is said to be rising, and I hope they will come to a good market- but I wish you had informed me that they were insured and mentioned the name of the vessel in which they were shipped.' Although John Adams was in charge of the mills, his father maintained close scrutiny over all affairs concerning the mills. Library of Congress, Manuscripts Division, Adams Papers, John Quincy Adams Letterbook, Reel 149
Letter from John Quincy Adams to his son, John Adams, regarding the Columbia Mills 08/13/1831 'My last letter was dated the 16th of July, since which I have received yours of the 28th with the statement enclosed, and one by Mr. George Johnson of Alexandria, with whom I executed at Boston the agreement for the exchange of lots desired by him.'"Other correspondants from Boston wrote JQA that the flour they received was 'sour and souring... Your statement presents a balance of $4376.78 and some flour on hand.' JQA's troubles with the Columbia Mills continued. It is also interesting to note that JQA continued his business relationship with George Johnson after Johnson had left Columbia Mills. Library of Congress, Manuscripts Division, Adams Papers, John Quincy Adams Letterbook, Reel 149
Letter from John Quincy Adams to his son, John Adams, regarding the Columbia Mills 08/23/1831 JQA discussed the financial problems he felt as a result of the loss of income from the Columbia Mills. He wrote that he owed $6,000 to the Bank of the Union, and that he has paid $810 of a portion of his debt to Mr. Baker. The Columbia Mills proved a financial burden and constant worry to John Quincy Adams. Library of Congress, Manuscripts Division, Adams Papers, John Quincy Adams Letterbook, Reel 149
Letter from John Quincy Adams to his son, John Adams, regarding the Columbia Mills 11/18/1831 JQA chastised his son for having sent flour to Boston, where it was not met with good prices and some of the flour went bad. JQA described the flour business as being of 'treacherous character'. JQA maintained close scrutiny over all business concerns of the Columbia Mills. Library of Congress, Manuscripts Division, Adams Papers, John Quincy Adams Letterbook, Reel 149
Letter from John Quincy Adams to his son, John Adams, regarding the Columbia Mills 10/19/1832 'The discouragements to the business of the mills have been so constant, under every variety of the market, that anxiety to withdraw from it altogether even if they be shut up or sold at auction, has taken possession of my mind.' JQA suffered constant worries over the Columbia Mills. Library of Congress, Manuscripts Division, Adams Papers, John Quincy Adams Letterbook, Reel 149
Washington/ Georgetown City Directory 1/1/1834 p. 10, no. 1521"'Johnson, George, clerk, 1st Comptroller's Office, Bridge St., N side==Frye, Nathaniel, Chief Clerk Paymaster, General's Office, S side E near Basin - Georgetown' This entry may refer to the George Johnson who had operated the Columbia Mills earlier since his daughter wrote that he worked as a clerk at the Treasury Department for many years. Although John Quincy Adams mentioned in his diary that George Johnson lived in Alexandria, there were no entries in the Alexandria City Directory for a George Johnson. N. Frye was responsible for the mill accounts.mills. SI American History Library, Microfiche file for City Directories


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