From Thomas Jefferson's correspondence and memorandum books, Monticello researchers have compiled the following references to the sport of fishing.

Primary Source References

1774. "A seine for my fishing place below the old dam should be 30. fathom long & 10.f. deep in the widest part. Will take 50 ℔ twine @ 10d sterl. pr. ℔The knitting is 20d currcy. pr. ℔."[1]

1776 August 23. "Pd. for fishing tackle 20/6."[2]

1776 August 24. "Pd. dinner at falls of Schuylkill 10/."[3]

1777 April 22. "Pd. for fishing reed 1/."[4]

1777 May 27. "Pd. B. Calvert for fishing rods 2/."[5]

1780 July 4. "Pd. for fish hooks 36/."[6]

1791 May 31. (Jefferson to Martha Jefferson Randolph). "An abundance of speckled trout, salmon trout, bass and other fish with which [Lake George] is stored, have added to our other amusements the sport of taking them."[7]


  1. ^ MB, 1:367. Transcription available at Founders Online.
  2. ^ MB, 1:423. Transcription available at Founders Online.
  3. ^ MB, 1:423. Transcription available at Founders Online. The falls of the Schuylkill River, five miles above Philadelphia, was a popular site for a day's outing. Jefferson was apparently taking advantage of the excellent fishing opportunities at the falls. The falls were submerged by the building of the Fairmount Dam in 1821. See Edwin Iwanicki, "The Village of Falls of Schuylkill," Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography vol. 91, no. 3 (1967): 326-41.
  4. ^ MB, 1: 444. Transcription available at Founders Online.
  5. ^ MB, 1:447, 1:447n56. Transcription available at Founders Online. "B. Calvert" is Benjamin Colvard, Jr., who worked under Joseph Neilson as an apprentice carpenter at Monticello in 1778-1779.
  6. ^ MB, 1:498. Transcription available at Founders Online.
  7. ^ PTJ, 20:464. Transcription available at Founders Online.