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John Taggart

John Taggart was a Philadelphia merchant.1 Thomas Jefferson began purchasing paint supplies from Taggart in 1805. Their correspondence focused on orders that included varnish, linseed oil, whiting, and paint in various colors.2

In 1812, on behalf of his son, John Taggart requested a recommendation from Jefferson to the Secretary of the Navy. Several letters on the subject were exchanged. The matter was left hanging, however, as Jefferson had decided to avoid entanglements of this nature, and the Secretary of the Navy had changed since he was in office.3 Jefferson's failure to help Taggart in this matter may have soured their relationship, or perhaps Jefferson simply no longer needed paint supplies. In any case, letters between Taggart and Jefferson ceased after June 1813.

In October 1790, a note in the Maryland Journal and Baltimore Advertiser stated that a John Taggart of Philadelphia married a Miss Polly Williamson of Baltimore County.4 Whether or not this is the same John Taggart is not known.

  • 1. Taggart is listed as a merchant at 4 Chestnut Street in James Hardie's 1794 Philadelphia Directory. See Hardie, The Philadelphia Directory and Register, 2nd ed. (Philadelphia: Printed for the Author, by Jacob Johnson & Co., 1794), 151. Taggart's store is listed at North Water Street, East Side 11, in Edmund Hogan's 1795 Prospect of Philadelphia. See Hogan, The Prospect of Philadelphia, and Check on the Next Directory (Philadelphia: Bailey, 1795). Taggart is additionally listed at 5 and 11 North Water Street in the directories of 1798-1800. By 1801, he is listed at 7 North Water Street where he remained at least through 1813.
  • 2. See, e.g., Jefferson to Taggart, November 9, 1805, Coolidge Collection of Thomas Jefferson Manuscripts, Massachusetts Historical Society. Transcription available at Founders Online.
  • 3. See Jefferson to Taggart, December 25, 1812, in PTJ:RS, 5:503 (transcription available at Founders Online); Jefferson to Taggart, January 8, 1813, in PTJ:RS, 5:547-48 (transcription available at Founders Online); Taggart to Jefferson, January 25, 1813, in PTJ:RS, 5:583 (transcription available at Founders Online); Taggart to Jefferson, June 6, 1813, in PTJ:RS, 6:170-71 (transcription available at Founders Online); Jefferson to Taggart, June 19, 1813, in PTJ:RS, 6:211 (transcription available at Founders Online.
  • 4. Maryland Journal and Baltimore Advertiser, Baltimore, October 15, 1790.

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