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John Strode (ca. 1735 - ca. 1820) was an iron and arms manufacturer. During the American Revolution, he managed the Rappahannock Forge near Fredericksburg, Virginia. He continued iron founding and arms manufacture until 1779, when he moved to Culpeper County and acquired several mills and other property.1
When traveling toward Philadelphia or Washington, D.C., Thomas Jefferson often stopped at Fleetwood, John Strode's residence in Culpeper. Jefferson regularly recorded payments to Strode in his memorandum books.2 Correspondence between the two men indicates a cordial relationship that extended beyond the mere matter of accommodations.3
John Strode and Jefferson were politically like-minded. Strode expressed himself in no uncertain terms when applauding the outcome of the presidential election of 1800: "For some time an awful and portentous silence pervaded this country; the solemn and determined countenance of each individual bespoke the labouring Movements of His Mind; but at last ... the late election in Congress concluded to General satisfaction—the gloom is dispersed—and transports of Joy appear in every countenance ...."4 Strode himself served as a Culpeper representative in the Virginia House of Delegates in 1810-1812.
- Jefferson-Strode Correspondence. Transcriptions available at Founders Online.
- 1. See note following Strode to James Madison, August 9, 1813, in The Papers of James Madison, Presidential Series, ed. Robert A. Rutland, et al. (Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2008), 6:508n1. Editorial note available at Founders Online.
- 2. See, e.g., MB, 2:834, 2:834n13. Transcription available at Founders Online.
- 3. See, e.g., Jefferson to Strode, July 6, 1803, in PTJ, 40:668. Transcription available at Founders Online.
- 4. Strode to Jefferson, February 26, 1801, in PTJ, 33:83. Transcription available at Founders Online.