Ellen W. Randolph Coolidge to Henry S. Randall, “Parts Omitted”

No. 4.Life at Poplar Forest. Randall’s Life of Jefferson. vol. 3d P. 342.1

Mr Jefferson had once owned I believe something like ten thousand acres of fertile land, (to which the name of Poplar Forest was given,) in the county of Bedford near Lynchburg in Campbell Co. I do not know when he began to build on the remnant of this noble estate, the greater part of which had been sold for the payment of old debts. The first visit I ever paid there with him to what afterwards became a favorite retreat, must have been I think in the summer of 1816. The house was then unfinished, and indeed the lower or basement story was still unfinished when the property [. . .] passed to my cousin Francis Eppes. Mr Jefferson gave it to him, still a well-sized farm, at the time of his marriage with Elizabeth Randolph, the daughter of my aunt Mrs Thomas Eston Randolph. Mr Eppes resided there for some years after the death of our grandfather. On his removal with his family to Florida, he sold Poplar Forest, which like Monticello became the property of strangers.”

“Sitting with my grandfather after dinner he would not unfrequently speak to me of his own early years and home and friends—of his favorite sister Jane, her rare talents, her wit, her musical powers—of my grandmother whose memory he cherished with deep and tender affection. He often quoted to us her sayings and opinions, and would preface his own advice with “your grandmother would have told you” “your grandmother always said.” On one occasion I was complaining of a rude speech that had been made to me, and regretting that I had not had presence of mind to [. . .] reply in kind, “your grandmother,” said he, was one day spoken to by a lady acquaintance in an impertinent and improper manner when she answered, “I make no reply to that speech. I had rather receive two such affronts than offer one.”

Tr (ViU: Ellen Wayles Randolph Coolidge Correspondence, Letterbook); quotation marks in original; in the hand of Ellen W. Randolph Coolidge.
1Interlined above this, in an unidentified hand, appears: “copy of the parts omitted in.”
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