Elizabeth Trist to Nicholas P. Trist

I was surprised on looking into the drawer where I put my letters to find the enclosed, which I thought had been Sent to the post Office, I open’d it with the intention of taking Some extracts and of noticing some things that you had mention’d, that of the musick which was not in the letter, and the wish you express’d in your first letter to know if Mrs Randolph received from Washington; the Books which I suppose Browse had inform’d you, as I requested him so to do that she had recd them, soon after they were sent, but as it will be a task for me to write an other long letter I must put you to the expence of double postage, the [. . .] affair of Jefferson and Bankhead is to be examin’d into by the Court to morrow Bankhead sent for his Father and Brother and I do suppose they have arrived, and Mr Randolph has also arrived, one of the servants saw Young Mr Bankhead and Mr Randolph in Charlottesville two or three days since as Jefferson was not able to be moved to the Mountain the Gentlemen convey’d him in a litter to Mr Garrets but he has not been able to set or stand yet, on account of the wound in his side Bankhead it seems is very much hurt with the blows he received across his face he dont seem from what I can learn to be under any apprehension as to what may be the verdict of the Court as he says that he only defended himself and the Major says that he was surprised to hear several respectable men in Charlottesville say that Jefferson commenced the attack and gave three blows with the but end of his whip I suppose to Morrow will determine, he sent for his Father and Brother it seems, to solicit their aid to remove him self and family out of the Neighbourhood, from the report of the Major who him was in Town on Thursday1 I presume that the family were with him he saw the light Waggon and several Horses in Mr Garrets yard I begin to feel uneasy Mr Divers being ill with his old complaint and one of the Negroes being sick he sent early this morning for Doctor Ragland the Doctor sent word that he wou’d be here after breakfast his not coming makes Mrs Divers and my self apprehensive that Jefferson may be worse somthing must have happend to prevent his coming, we have had a drizzling rain for two days after a long spell of dry weather your cousins are on their journey home but as the roads were in fine order I am in hope they will not be much impaired by the little rain that has fallen, it has been sufficient to prevent your Brother from coming here as he promised but I expect he is waiting till to Morrow there will no doubt be a crowded Court to hear the examination of witnesses I wish very much to see Jefferson and the Monticello family but Thomas is so much engaged in helping to make repairs that I dont like to hint that I wish to go—I have had no letters from your Mother I dont know if Browse has recd any by the last weeks mails, it is time for the needful to come on, I am anxious that your accounts shou’d be settled I believe Browse is low in purse I have had Thirty Dollars from him since you have been gone but some necessaries I stand in need of swept the whole, I have not heard any thing of Mead but heard that his Mother wish’d to remove to Milton in the Spring—I shall not close this letter till I learn the result of to Morrows business

9th The Major went to Town to attend the trial about forty people assembled but Jefferson was not able to go to the court House and it is put off till March Court I rec’d a letter from Mrs Randolph yesterday dated 5th in answer to one I wrote her, she says that the insolent message sent to his Wife was not the cause of the affray in which Mr Bankhead was the aggressor she states the facts as related to her by Bacon who was an eye witness of the whole and which relation she afterwards heard confirmd by Jefferson to his Grand Father Bacon told her that Jefferson was in conversation with Dr Dabney that he was waiting him self to speak to him on business when he observed Bankhead making at him from behind a cotton Waggon he says that he Saw that Jefferson also had seen him and that as he advanced he kept him off with the small end of the whip that he saw Bankhead make several thrust at his breast him before he Saw the Knife the fact is that Mr B made several thrusts at his breast which cut his coat to peices but being very thickley [. . .] padded it protected him he made several other thrusts that cut coat to peices without wounding him but finally he saw the Blood fly, also the Knife that Jefferson than turnd took the butt end of the whip Jefferson than and struck him two blows which brought him to the ground but before he fell, Bankhead still rushing on gave him a stab that brought him to the ground and since which he has never been able to move, but as he was falling he struck another blow which fortunately fell on his temple and stun’d him for a moment, she observes that blessed providential blow saved her dear Sons life for Bankhead was still following up his thrusts Mr Bankhead declared in the Presence of Doct Watkins shewing the Knife that he meant with that Knife to do Jefferson Randolphs business he made the same declaration in Ruebin Lindseys presence and also before many others down in that neighbourhood where he liked to have got into a scuffle with some person for speaking respectfully of Jefferson Saying that he wou’d kill him Mr Leitch says that he has bought ten or 12 of those Spanis knives in the course of a month Jefferson has been subject to occasional pains in the bowels some time so excruciating thought the continuence of them woud be attended with great danger that wound above the hip which went through the muscle of the back alarms his friends tho they are assured that he is doing well she says that on Friday they got him up in an easy chair and he was doing bravely 2 more knives open, was found in the pocket of the assassin after the attempt, and yet I am told that numbers justify Bankhead they did not know him as well as You and, I do. Browse wrote me a few lines. he did not leave the Mountain till the 4th in consiquence of all the Horses being engaged going backward and forward but they sent to Milton and got Horses to take him self and James to Bentivar he says I must not be disappointed if I dont see him next sunday which is the last sunday but I hope to have that pleasure the ensuing one, Peter Minor told the Major yesterday that Peachey had made a purchase of a Plantation in Fluvanna of six hundred Acres for which he is to give 12,000 Dollars the Major says that he knows the tract and except 100 acres of low ground it is very poor Pine sand, it is near Genl Cocke on hard Ware River, it was not his intention to remove there immediately but I presume from his making the purchase that he has given up all thoughts of going to the Missouri I hope he may find it answers his expectations I cant hear that there are any buildings on the place

I forgot to mention that Bankheads Father did not come but he has two Brothers here, I wish my Dr Nicholas that you coud procure for me two Boxes of Dr Meads Anti Dyspeptic or Stomach Pills they are to be had of Hall and weld No 1 Union Street Boston perhaps there may be some young Gentlemen from there at West Point that cou’d procure them for you the President promised to get me some but I presume he has never thought of them since God preserve you my Dr Sir and beleive me affectionate Grand Mother

E, Trist.
RC (DLC: NPT); addressed: “Mr Nicholas P Trist West Point New York”; stamped and postmarked; endorsed by recipient: “Farmington Feb 7th.”
1Manuscript: “Tursday.”
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Date Range
February 7, 1819 to February 9, 1819