From Craven Peyton
Monteagle Augt 6th 09.
I have waited this length of time under An expectation of Mr John Akers comeing to purchase a part of my Land togethar with yours, you wished me to sell. If he did not come by the last of July I was not to expect him, himself & Lons had fifty Thousand Dollars to lay Out in land, If it is entirely agreeable to you, & it can be done without throwing Any obsticle in the way of Obtaining those rights now under age. I shall be glad for you to recave the proparty, for several reasons,1 several persons have been pushing me for the warehouse Money togethar for Othar rents, when they become due, my refusial makes them beleave I am unwilling to pay my debts, howevar I am quite willing to encountar Any thing in Any way whatevar to rendar You the least service in my power, & am in hopes no inconvenience can arise from the transfer being made. Any day that will suite your convenience I will come up.
RC (ViU: TJP); endorsed by TJ as received 6 Aug. 1809 and so recorded in SJL.
Craven Peyton (1775–1837), an Albemarle County merchant and landowner, leased TJ’s farm at Shadwell from 1799 to 1801. His wife, Jane Jefferson Lewis Peyton, was the daughter of Charles Lilburne Lewis and TJ’s sister Lucy Jefferson Lewis. About 1802 Peyton moved to Monteagle, the Lewis family estate southeast of Monticello, and by 1805 he had acquired it from his impecunious in-laws (Merrow Egerton Sorley, Lewis of Warner Hall: The History of a Family [1935, repr. 1991], 352; Merrill, Jefferson’s Nephews description begins Boynton Merrill Jr., Jefferson’s Nephews: A Frontier Tragedy, 1976 description ends , 50–4, 381–3; MB description begins James A. Bear Jr. and Lucia C. Stanton, eds., Jefferson’s Memorandum Books: Accounts, with Legal Records and Miscellany, 1767–1826, 1997, The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, Second Series description ends , 2:968n; Woods, Albemarle description begins Edgar Woods, Albemarle County in Virginia, 1901, repr. 1991 description ends , 295).
At the time of his death in 1793, Bennett Henderson owned much of the town of Milton and adjacent property crucial to TJ’s ambitious plans for a complex of mills and warehouses. Henderson’s property was subsequently divided into four sections, with a portion of each reserved for his widow, Elizabeth Lewis Henderson. Each of the ten surviving children received four plots, one in each section, in a division by lottery in the autumn of 1801. TJ convinced Peyton to act as his agent by buying the numerous subdivisions thus created with funds provided by TJ and holding the purchases in his own name until TJ left office. Between 1801 and 1804 Peyton acquired most of the Henderson estate as requested, and during August 1809 he formally deeded the properties in question to TJ, although the deed was not recorded for two more years.
TJ ultimately derived little benefit and much frustration from the Henderson land purchase. In April 1803 Peyton was drawn into a legal action with Bennett Henderson’s eldest son, John Henderson, who had begun constructing a canal to bring the waters of the Rivanna to the family mill seat. Peyton had previously purchased the lands affected, but John Henderson claimed that when his mother had sold them she had reserved to him the right to run a canal through them. In December 1803 Peyton secured an injunction against Henderson, but three months later the Albemarle County Court dissolved it and dismissed the case. Peyton next laid a bill of complaint composed by TJ before the Superior Court of Chancery for the Richmond District in May 1804. He obtained a second injunction against Henderson, but in March 1805 that court also decided against him, and in January 1812 the Virginia Court of Appeals upheld the lower court’s ruling. TJ ultimately bought out John Henderson, only to face a similar claim from David Michie. Furthermore, three of the Hendersons later contended that their rights as minors had been violated in the original purchases, and in 1817 TJ had to pay them back-rent and repurchase their lands (Malone, Jefferson description begins Dumas Malone, Jefferson and his Time, 1948–81, 6 vols. description ends , 6:505–7; Merrill, Jefferson’s Nephews description begins Boynton Merrill Jr., Jefferson’s Nephews: A Frontier Tragedy, 1976 description ends , 58–70, 383–6; MB description begins James A. Bear Jr. and Lucia C. Stanton, eds., Jefferson’s Memorandum Books: Accounts, with Legal Records and Miscellany, 1767–1826, 1997, The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, Second Series description ends , 2:1125–6, 1129, 1131, 1330; TJ to Peyton, 15 Jan. 1801, 30 Apr. 1804, Peyton to TJ, 29 Apr. 1803, Declaration of Elizabeth Henderson, 7 Aug. 1803 [all ViU: TJP]; Craven and Jane Peyton’s Conveyance of the Henderson Lands, [22 Aug. 1809]).
lons may refer to Gabriel Long, owner of Long’s Ordinary in Spotsylvania County (MB description begins James A. Bear Jr. and Lucia C. Stanton, eds., Jefferson’s Memorandum Books: Accounts, with Legal Records and Miscellany, 1767–1826, 1997, The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, Second Series description ends , 2:987).
1. Repeated comma omitted.
- Akers, John search
- Albemarle County Court, Va. search
- Henderson, Bennett; lands of search
- Henderson, Elizabeth Lewis (Bennett Henderson’s wife) search
- Henderson, John; and Peyton v. Henderson search
- Henderson case; described search
- Henderson case; TJ’s role in search
- Lewis, Charles Lilburne (TJ’s brother-in-law); family of search
- Lewis, Lucy Jefferson (TJ’s sister; Charles Lilburne Lewis’s wife); family of search
- Long, Gabriel search
- Long’s Ordinary (Spotsylvania Co.) search
- Michie, David; claim to part of Henderson lands search
- Monteagle (C. Peyton’s Albemarle Co. estate) search
- Peyton, Craven; and Henderson case search
- Peyton, Craven; conveys Henderson lands to TJ search
- Peyton, Craven; identified search
- Peyton, Craven; letters from search
- Peyton, Jane Jefferson Lewis (Craven Peyton’s wife); family of search
- Richmond, Va.; chancery court at search
- Rivanna River; canals on search
- Superior Court of Chancery for the Richmond District search