AB Thornhill to William C. Adamson


AB Thornhill to William C. Adamson


Thornhill, A. B.




1917 September 29


Library of Congress, Woodrow Wilson Papers, 1786-1957


At National Hotel,
Washington, DC

My dear Judge Adamson:

Before I leave Washington today I wish to tell you of my appreciation and gratitude for not only the kindness and encouragement that you have shown us farmers in the past ten days, but also to let you know that we will not forget how you have always been patient and helped us in our campaign for now nearly two years to secure the great development at Muscle Shoals that we may get cheaper fertilizers, so much more needed now than ever.

I am really sorry that you are going to leave Congress and all farmers who know of your sympathetic interest in us during your long, distinguished service in Congress will regret your going. I hope that in your new sphere of activity you will be more successful even than you have been in Congress.

I know you sympathize with our disappointment that the President has not seen fit to grant us the Muscle Shoals development, and I still hope and, in fact, I believe that the President will not fail to seize the great opportunity at Muscle Shoals to serve the farming interests of this country. I am glad that the experimental plant is going to Muscle Shoals but I do not feel that either the safety of our country in time of war, and certainly the needed fertilizers, can justify our stopping at merely experimentation and process investigation.

I confess to you that I have hoped and intended at the annual convention of the Farmers' Union in the state of Arkansas in November next, to offer a resolution thanking the President for starting the construction of the great water power development at Muscle Shoals for the manufacture of fertilizers, and I am real sorry that at this annual convention in November of our organization I cannot have the satisfaction and pleasure I have so much hoped for, to name the great dam at Muscle Shoals the Wilson Dam, where, if this dam could be built, the wasting water could be used and each horsepower through each year would be producing half a ton of nitrogen to make fertile our farms, and I can conceive nothing that a statesman could do for the people of this country more useful than to accomplish such a result.

If you have another opportunity to speak with the President on this subject, please beg him again in the name of the farmers of the country to build this dam, and the farmers will name it the Wilson Dam, and after the war is all over and long after the guns and the ships we are building have become obsolete and have rusted away, the people will point to this dam as one of the results of the war that will never cease in its usefulness and one of the greatest achievements and contributions given to the country during the Wilson administration.

If, finally, the President may decide not to give to the farmers what they have worked so hard to secure, then of course there is nothing left for us to do but to go back to Congress and to the people and eventually get what we started out to get and what we never will stop until we do get because it is right that we should have this Muscle Shoals development.

National Business Agent, Farmers' Union of America;
President, Virginia Division, Farmers' Union.


William C. Adamson





Thornhill, A. B., “AB Thornhill to William C. Adamson,” 1917 September 29, WWP21969, World War I Letters, Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library & Museum, Staunton, Virginia.