Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to William Hay, 9 January 1790

To William Hay

Monticello Jan. 9. 1790.


When I had the pleasure of seeing you in Richmond you were so kind as to undertake to sound whether Mr. Mayo would be willing to exchange, according to value, some of his ground which I pointed out to you for a lot of mine near his ferry. I now send you a description of my lot that the proposition may be made more specifically. A weekly post between Richmond and Charlottesville affords opportunities of communicating to me his and your ideas on this subject if you will be so good as to take that trouble. I am with very great esteem Sir, your most obedt. humble servt,

Th: Jefferson

PrC (MHi). The enclosed description of TJ’s lot has not been found, but in 1810 TJ still possessed four lots in “Beverly town,” in the vicinity of Westham, and of these lot No. 151 was evidently the one in question, since it included “the ferry landing, being the uppermost lot of the town on the river” (Betts, Farm Book description begins Edwin M. Betts, ed., Thomas Jefferson’s Farm Book, Princeton, 1953 description ends , [32], [127], 324). A (missing) letter from Hay, presumably replying to this inquiry, is recorded in SJL as written on 23 Jan. and received on 2 Feb. 1790: Mayo evidently declined the exchange. In 1814 TJ said that his father had surveyed the lots in “Beverly town” in 1751 and added: “I was a boy of about 8. years of age, living with my father at Tuckahoe…and well remember his going to Westham to lay off the town” (TJ to Taylor, 28 Dec. 1814; Hening, description begins William Waller Hening, ed., The Statutes at Large; Being a Collection of All the Laws of Virginia, Richmond, 1809–1823, 13 vols. description ends xii, 216).

For TJ’s description of the bridge across the James operated by Mr. Mayo, see TJ to Short, 14 Dec. 1789.

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