James Madison and the Jefferson Nephews

As a young adult, Thomas Jefferson’s best friend was a guy named Dabney Carr. They went to college together, and Carr married Jefferson’s younger sister Martha. He died at the age of 30, a few weeks after the birth of his youngest son (also named Dabney), and was buried on the grounds of Monticello.

Well, in 1784, Jefferson knew he was going to be leaving for France. Since he wasn’t going to be around, he needed to have someone close to home to make informed decisions about the schooling of his nephews, Peter and Dabney. (Apparently there was a third boy named Samuel! But I haven’t seen any mention of him in these letters. Very mysterious.)

He gave this esteemed position to his good buddy James Madison:

Essentially, 'I am entrusting you with the education of the sons of my dead best friend. Just write to my sister and she’ll do whatever you say.’ (Fun direct quotes: “sound masculine talents,” and “I believe he is about 14. years of age.”)

A couple months later, Madison replied with his progress so far:

(‘I’ve found a school for the older one. The schools around here suck, actually, but I’m doing the best I can.’)

After that he gave Jefferson periodic updates:


My favorite part about all this, though, is when Martha Jefferson Carr wrote to Madison. We apparently don’t have any of his letters to her, but we have two from her to him.


For Madison’s first letter to her, he tells Jefferson, “One of my brothers being called into that part of the Country by business, I wrote to Mrs. Carr and got him to wait on her.” Mrs. Carr replied saying, “I am Extreemly Oblige to you Sir for Your kind offer of forwarding my letters to my Brother but must defer writing to him till an other Oppertunity as I am fearfull of detaining Mr Madison who is So Obligeing as to wait at goochland Court for this.” For some reason I love the idea of James Madison’s little brother waiting around for Thomas Jefferson’s little sister to finish a letter.

Here’s the last mention of a nephew while Jefferson was still in France:

Aaaaand here’s something from that enclosed letter from Peter:

Dear paramour

You light up the darkness like the candle from our tryst.
I pour my whole heart out for yours. I’d never felt heard until you. I’d never felt understood until you. I’d never felt accepted wholly until you. You make me believe in fairytales. I accept you, all flaws and follies. All pieces broke and whole. Unconditionally. Forever.


Oo na ako na walangya

Hahahahahaha di kase ako pabebe at pakipot! Kanina kasi after ng reporting ng crush ng crush ko (gets nyo ba? Hahaha) tinawag si crush tas tinanong kung ano ba yung naintindihan niya sa report eh syempre mga classmates ko nag “ayieeeeee” sila tas napatingin sila saken. Sabi nila “oy krizza oh” hahahahaha tas biglang napasulyap siguro si crush saken kase syempre inaasar din ako ng mga kaklase ko na nagseselos daw ako. Napasigaw tuloy ako ng “okay lang! Tanggap ko naman!” Hahahahahaha tas kanina sabi ng kaklase ko sakin nung nagseselfie ako “krizza tama na yan maganda ka na” tas napasigaw ulit ako (na andyan si crush) “ KAHIT NAMAN MAGPAGANDA AKO USELESS NAMAN KASI DI KIYA NAMAN AKO MAKIKITA. Nakaglasses nga bulag naman” Hahahaha soreh na