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Eureka! Couple finds Original Thomas Jefferson Letter in Old Town

Kirsten Obadal
By Kirsten Obadal
Posted on Jan 27,2010
Filed Under News , Community,
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Photo by FLICKR/stuckincustoms/148392784/<br /> <br />The Jefferson Memorial. Four miles south of the monument to the third president, a letter was found in a dusty box of photos at the American Legion Lodge 24 in Old Town.
Photo by FLICKR/stuckincustoms/148392784/
The Jefferson Memorial. Four miles south of the monument to the
third president, a letter was found in a dusty box of photos at the
American Legion Lodge 24 in Old Town.

ALEXANDRIA, VA. - Alexandria residents Tom Hewitt and his wife Candice Bennett found a letter by Thomas Jefferson at the American Legion Post 24 in Old Town earlier this month.  
 
The Lorton, Va. couple were going through historical photos kept by the Legion in the upstairs office, when something caught Bennett’s eye.  She turned to her husband.  
 
According to the Washington Post, Bennett and her husband concurred that in their opinion that the letter was written by the author of the Declaration of Independence himself on July 25, 1808.  
 

A similar letter authored by Thomas Jefferson, in 1793. Jefferson wrote in the 1808 letter: In the hope that nothing may intervene to deprive us of the pleasure of possessing Mrs. Barlow and yourself here after presenting her my respects I salute you with friendship and great consideration.
A similar letter authored by Thomas Jefferson,
in 1793. Jefferson wrote in the 1808 letter: In
the hope that nothing may intervene to deprive
us of the pleasure of possessing Mrs. Barlow
and yourself here after presenting her my
respects I salute you with friendship and
 great consideration.

Hewitt, 39, and Bennett, 34, immediately contacted the National Archives for confirmation about the letter.  They were ultimately referred to Gary Eyler, who owns the Old Colony Shop in Alexandria and who has expertise on the subject of early American manuscripts.
 
Bennett visited Eyler with the letter. "I saw the handwriting, and I knew," Eyler told the Post. "It's one of the ultimate finds you can find, a letter from Thomas Jefferson that could have been tossed away."
 
Eyler explained that letters of this kind can range in value from $10,000 to $100,000.
 
Jefferson’s letter was addressed to Joel Barlow, a diplomatic friend of Jefferson's and owner of D.C.’s Kalorama Estate that gave the neighborhood its name after the estate was broken up.   
 
In the letter, Jefferson discusses the weather and provides Barlow with directions to his estate, Monticello, near Charlottesville, to which he invited Mr. and Mrs. Barlow.  
 
Jefferson closes with this sentence:
 
In the hope that nothing may intervene to deprive us of the pleasure of possessing Mrs. Barlow and yourself here after presenting her my respects I salute you with friendship and great consideration.
 
TH JEFFERSON

 
According to Michael Conner of the American Legion Post in Old Town, the organization is working with the City of Alexandria to preserve and display the letter appropriately.  
 
Meanwhile, Bennett and Hewitt have posted photographs of the letter on Facebook.
 
Contact the writer at kirstenobadal@hotmail.com



Third U.S. President Thomas Jefferson was the principal author of the Declaration of Independence, and one of the most influential Founding Fathers for his promotion of the ideals of republicanism in the United States. <br />He envisioned America as the force behind a great
Third U.S. President Thomas Jefferson was
the principal author of the Declaration of
Independence, and one of the most influential
Founding Fathers for his promotion of the
ideals of republicanism in the United States.
He envisioned America as the force behind a
great "Empire of Liberty" that would promote
republicanism and counter the imperialism
of the British Empire.






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