Elizabeth Trist to Nicholas P. Trist

My Dear Nicholas

I am induced to take up the pen tho I have so recently address'd you, to inform you of an event that will give you pain, as it has me and indeed every one that witness'd the Action, to be Brief then, I shall inform you of what I have heard, Bankhead had written a very [. . .] letter to Mrs Jefferson Randolph, what gave rise to his doing [. . .] I cant conceive for her health has not admited of her going broad and I am sure there has been no intercourse kept up between the families for a long time on Monday being court day Jefferson and Bankhead met near Leitches Store as Jefferson had a Horse whip in his hand and I presume Bankhead thought he intended to chastise him tho Jefferson declares that he had no such intention but Bankhead drew a large clasp Knife and as he came up to Jefferson he ask'd him how he came to write his Wife such a letter [. . .] Bankhead approaching him with the drawn Knife and Jefferson to keep him from closing with him walkd backwards a few yards keep his whip playing near Bankheads head when something trip'd up Jefferson and he fell as Bankhead advanced he took the whip and with the but end knock'd him down and made a pretty considerable gash in the side of his head Bankhead fell close by Jeffersons knee and they closed with each other on the ground stab'd him a little above the hip and cut his arm a cross and they say that two of the tendens are severd and that Jefferson will loose the use of his arm, even if he recovers fortunately it is his left arm, they were soon seperated and Jefferson lost a great quantity of Blood he was carried in to Leitches store attended by four Physicians and a concourse of people the wounds examin'd the one above the hip was the most painful and they apprehended that it had enterd his body or rather intestines but on examination they pronounced it only a flesh wound the arm was sew'd up and tight a bandage applied that [s]toped the bleeding but he was so Faint and ill that they were [o]bliged to make up a bed for him in Leitches counting room Bankhead was taken in custody of the sherif and was taken before two magistrates who wou'd have committed him if he had not got bail a Man by the name of Alexander who became his security for his appearence on Monday when there is to be a call'd Court to examine furthur into the matter it seems to be the General opinion that Jefferson gave the first blow but he says that he did not and I understand that there is some evidence of his not doing it every body seem'd interested for Jefferson and when Bankhead sent for one of the Doctors to dress his wound on the head the people call'd out that he shou'd not have one till Mr Randolph was dress'd Mr Jefferson, had been in Town but a Gentleman went to the Mountain to inform the family Mr Randolph had not return'd from Richmond Mr Jefferson came down he returnd and sent Burwell, Bankhead went home after night unattended The Major went yesterday to see how he was but did not go into the room The Doctors said that he had too much company he saw Mr Jefferson who appeard very much affected as well on Anns account as Jeffersons he expected that Bankhead wou'd wreak his vengence on his wife he had prohibited any of the females of the family coming to Charlottesville had a litter brought down with eight or ten Negroes to take him to the Mountain but the Doctor thought it wou'd not be proper to remove him for a day or two, Mrs Higginbotham came to see me yesterday and left us this morning I wrote to Mrs Randolph by her as she intended to call and see them on her way home she only brought her two youngest children and was anxious to get home, your Cousin Mary has been very much disappointed by not geting her things from Fredrickburg and had at last to Send Mat after them she is at Gilmerton was in consiquince of their driver going to Fredrickburg obliged to Give up her intended visit to Carys brooke and to General Cockes Peachey went but was to return this evening and to Morrow they are to set out home after stoping a day or two at Mr Hudsons we have had such fine weather that the roads are very good, and to day it is too warm to be agreeable which makes me fear that bad weather will follow very soon and I am anxious that they shou'd be on their journeys home this dry weather seems to generate colds something of the influenza I have had it but some time but am getting better Mr Divers was laid up with a most violent pain in his head he is better to day, he told me that such another attack wou'd kill him and he wou'd rather Die than experience such an other attack, I hope to see Browse on Saturday, It is time that we shou'd hear from your Mother Cotton sold in Carlottesville yesterday at 30 cents Mr Jefferson bought 3 or 4 [. . .] bales, Browse Shew'd me the letters you sent him from Mr Fairfax am much pleased that your corps is likely to be placed in a situation to know their rights and that they will not have to exert them selves to resist oppression and for their own credit I hope they will always exert them selves so as to reflect credit upon them selves and their Teachers You are no longer children and therefore other sentiments than fun ought to operate to the fulfilment of your duty and I shou'd be disappointed if you were to return as unimproved as many that have been educated at that seminary and not have energy to get beyond a Gamester a coxcomb or a drone—let me hear from you often you must excuse my inaccuracies and bad writing for I find that I ought to lay a side the pen for I am now getting too old to commit my self to paper and must be a burthen to my corrispondents I hope and pray that health and happiness will attend you, have nothing to reflect upon your self from perform your duty refrain from dissipation of every kind and you will reap the reward you must not think it unimportant as coming from an old Woman but if you live to be old, you will find that nothing brings Such sweet reflections as a well spent life and nothing imbitters old age but a retrospection of the follies and indiscretions of Youth God has bless'd you with an understanding improve it and be happy and believe me most sincerely your affectionate Grand Mother

E. Trist
RC (DLC: NPT); edge trimmed; addressed: “Mr Nicholas—P— Trist West Point New York”; endorsed by recipient: “Grandmother Trist Farmington 3d Feb —19.”
Date Range
Date
February 3, 1819
Collection