Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Archibald McCall, 19 November 1802

From Archibald McCall

Tappa. 19th. Novemr. 1802


Wishing to avoid giving you unnecessary trouble, I have this long waited for answers to many letters I addressed to Messrs. Skipwith & Epps, to know if they would come into the terms you proposed, to pay their proportions with you, of the Loss my Daughter sustained by your sending Willm. Peachey Admr. of Nichs. Flood, Six hundred Pounds—paper Money late in the war, towards part discharge of Mr.   Wayles Bond for Specie lent him; And haveing contrary to my expectation received no answer from them, or either of them; I am again compelled Sir, to apply to you, to know if you will agree, & pay her loss, at a day to suit your convenience, & take in the Bond which is in her possession, & settle with them their proportions: and your Act of Justice will undoubtedly induce them, to follow your Example—I shall hope for an answer, and have the Honour to be

Sir Your most Obedt. Servant

Arch’d McCall

RC (MHi); endorsed by TJ as received 26 Nov. and so recorded in SJL.

Son of a prominent Glaswegian merchant, Archibald McCall (1734–1814) immigrated to Essex County, Virginia, in the 1750s, established himself as a successful merchant, and married Katherine Flood, daughter of Nicholas Flood, a wealthy doctor and planter. His wife died in 1767, leaving him with two daughters, whom he sent to Great Britain for an education. Of divided loyalties during the Revolutionary period, McCall ran afoul of Westmoreland and Essex County patriots during the Stamp Act crisis but in 1770 added his signature to a non-importation decree. In 1775, the Essex Committee of Safety exonerated McCall and a business partner of charges that they were supplying Lord Dunmore, Virginia’s royal governor, although evidence suggests that McCall had indeed provided foodstuffs to Dunmore’s troops before departing for Great Britain. Apparently intending a short visit to his daughters, one of whom soon died in London, McCall ended up remaining in Britain for the duration of the conflict, unable to gain satisfactory permission for his return to Virginia. The layover risked not only his Essex business interests but also the inheritance due his daughter, Catherine Flood McCall, upon the death of her maternal grandfather. McCall returned to Virginia with his daughter when peace was restored, and although eventually he ceded most of his own property to heirs of a business partner in London, his daughter secured her inheritance of two plantations (Hardy Bertram McCall, Memoirs of My Ancestors. A Collection of Genealogical Memoranda Respecting Several Old Scottish Families [Birmingham, Eng., 1884], 83; Joseph S. Ewing, ed., “The Correspondence of Archibald McCall and George McCall, 1777–1783,” VMHB description begins Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, 1893- description ends , 73 [1965], 312–53; James B. Slaughter, Settlers, Southerners, Americans: The History of Essex County, Virginia, 1608–1984 [Tappahannock, Va., 1985], 53, 58–60, 66; William J. Van Schreeven and others, eds., Revolutionary Virginia: The Road to Independence, 7 vols. [Charlottesville, 1973–83], 4:374, 378n; Vol. 1:46).

terms you proposed: on 14 Feb. 1796, TJ responded to a letter from McCall of 8 Dec. 1795, recorded in SJL as received 16 Dec. Neither letter has been found.

McCall and his daughter had sued William peachey for mismanaging the administration of her grandfather’s estate, which was creditor to scores of Virginia individuals and estates, including that of Reuben Skelton, the administrator of which had been John wayles. Upon Wayles’s death, Skelton’s estate became a part of TJ’s obligations. In May 1778, TJ recorded making a payment of £130 to Peachey, which he later identified as interest, and on 22 Dec. 1779, a payment of £600, which Peachey entered into Flood’s estate account as “By Cash of Governor Jefferson.” The McCalls’ suit hinged on Peachey’s acceptance of Virginia-issued paper money and continental loan office certificates, which they estimated had cost the estate over £14,000 Virginia currency. Never finding relief in the Virginia courts, the McCalls eventually applied for an award from the British commission in charge of assessing the claims of American loyalists (PRO: T 79/4, claim of Catherine Flood McCall; 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, 1997, The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, Second Series description ends , 1:464, 490; Vol. 15:659; Vol. 19:246).

Index Entries