Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from John Lewis, 4 October 1772

From John Lewis

October 4–1772


Have received yours by Col. Lewis’s Man, and find he has not deliver’d my mesage as I directed, should have wrote to you had I bin accquainted of his going, but happen’d to find him in his journey to you, and deliver’d this mesage—to ask you if you had taken Mr. Carrs, and Mr. Jno. Woodsons, diposisions, as I have formerly requested, being at so great distance from me which made it inconvenient. The two evidences above, are the most material in my behalf, the first to prove the tender of the last payment, with an overplush of Money to make up payment had I made any mistake in the Account, and other things that I cant at preasent recollect, the latter to prove Mayo’s giving up the Creek low grounds, which was not to be meashur’d, and how he exspected the line was to go across the Creak to turn them out from the River. You have inform’d me that living and well evidences must apear at tryal, but I do indeavour to prepare against dangers, as you may see Mayo’s evidences and mine in the Office, if you think it may be as safe without there apearing as with it, and will signiefie the same, shall indevour to git Mayo’s consent to it. Please to answer this fully, and let me know when you exspect the Sute will be try’d. From Yr Very hble Servt

Jno. Lewis Bd.

PS [Have just?] one of the subpeanies lef that you sent me, Please let me know if that will be good, should I want another deposision.

RC (George M. Cochran, Staunton, Virginia, 1976); torn; addressed: “To Mr. Thomas Jefferson Wms Burg”; endorsed by TJ: “John Lewis To be answd, from home”; with apparently unrelated calculations by TJ on recto and verso.

John Lewis (1720–94) was born in New Kent County, moved when young to Goochland County with his father, Charles Lewis, who named his estate there “The Byrd,” and subsequently became a planter in Pittsylvania County, where he gave his own estate the same name and referred to himself as John Lewis of The Byrd to avoid confusion with others sharing this common surname (WMQ description begins William and Mary Quarterly, 1892– description ends , 1st ser., x [1901], 52–3; Maud C. Clement, The History of Pittsylvania County Virginia [Lynchburg, 1929], 104–5, 166).

In 1768 Lewis had engaged TJ to defend him in two related legal disputes with John Mayo of Cumberland County. Both cases were unresolved and transferred to Edmund Randolph when TJ gave up his legal practice in 1774 (MB description begins James A. Bear, Jr., and Lucia C. Stanton, eds., Jefferson’s Memorandum Books: Accounts, with Legal Records and Miscellany, 1767–1826, Princeton, forthcoming in The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, Second Series description ends , legal section, 14 Aug., 25 Sep., 8 Nov. 1768, 2 July 1770; TJ’s Case Book, Nos. 133 and 138,14 Aug. and 25 Sep. 1768).

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