Thomas Jefferson Papers

Thomas Jefferson to James Martin, 18 February 1810

To James Martin

Monticello Feb. 18. 1810.


Your favor of Jan. 15. was very long coming to hand, the servant who brought it having been upwards of a fortnight on his way. the public post is the safest & speediest conveyance. before I recieved it I had written to mr Griffin that if mr Scott’s trespass should not prevent mr Harrison from making his first establishment, I should be glad not to be called on such a journey till April when I would attend myself & have him removed by a Writ of Forcible entry to be issued by a magistrate. my rheumatic condition, & age, with the season & state of the roads render it imprudent for me to undertake the journey sooner. by the 1st of April I will be there & have the clear possession delivered. in the mean time should any circumstance1 make it worth while for mr Harrison to take earlier possession2 of Stith’s tract, I send a power of attorney to him or yourself to take possession in my right, and to sue out a writ of Forcible entry for that purpose. as this writ is rarely called for, & the magistrate might be at a loss, it would be best to engage an attorney to attend the inquest at the time & place of their meeting to remove all hesitation. I inclose you the plat & certificate of my survey, and a note of mr Scott’s.3 their date is evidence enough who has the prior right. the patent settles the matter, as that is a delivery of possession to the patentee, who is thenceforward considered as in full possession altho’ not actually on the land. I am afraid to inclose it lest it should miscarry. but yourself, mr Griffin & others saw it, & can prove it’s existence, and the tax gatherer knows that I have paid the taxes from it’s date. I hope this will be sufficient for mr Harrison’s convenience until April, when I will be there. I am Sir

Your humble servt

Th: Jefferson

PoC (MHi); at foot of text: “Mr James Martin”; endorsed by TJ. Enclosures: (1) Plat and survey by Richard Stith for one hundred acres on Ivy Creek, 23 Dec. 1795, based on Land Office Treasury Warrant No. 1724, 5 Dec. 1795 (MS in ViU: TJP, in Stith’s hand; FC in Vi: Campbell Co. Record of Surveys; Tr in ViU: TJP, in an unidentified hand, with Stith’s signature incorrectly copied as “Smith,” courses noted on plat in pencil in TJ’s hand, with surveying notations in another hand on verso, endorsed in an unidentified hand: “hnbl Tho. Jeffersons certificate & plat for 100 acres Campbell,” endorsed by TJ: “100. as on Ivy creek. Campbell. Stith’s”; Tr in ViU: TJP, in an unidentified hand, including attestation by William P. Martin as Campbell County surveyor, endorsed: “Mr Jeffersons Platt 100 Acres”; Tr in ViU: TJP, entirely in TJ’s hand and attested by him, copy certified by Virginia Land Office, 3 June 1812, one of a set of exhibits submitted by TJ with his 11 July 1812 answer to Scott’s bill of complaint in Scott v. Jefferson). (2) Samuel Scott to TJ, Campbell County, 15 Nov. 1796, offering to buy TJ’s small tract of land on Ivy Creek, “that adjoining me, the land is of a mean quality, it lies broken & Stoney, but suits me as a range”; requesting that TJ name his price or agree to have it set by “two or three respectable men that are judges, & we will abide by their determination” (Tr in ViU: TJP; entirely in TJ’s hand and attested by him; one of a set of exhibits submitted by TJ with his 11 July 1812 answer to Scott’s bill of complaint in Scott v. Jefferson; recorded in SJL as received 25 Nov. 1796). Other enclosure not found.

TJ’s letter to Burgess Griffin of 20 Jan. 1810, recorded in SJL but not found, probably sent instructions on how best to deal with Samuel scott’s trespass. TJ received the patent to the 100-acre property under discussion on 22 May 1797 (PTJ description begins Julian P. Boyd, Charles T. Cullen, John Catanzariti, Barbara B. Oberg, and others, eds., The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, 1950– , 31 vols. description ends , 28:538).

1Preceding two words interlined in place of “an earlier possession.”

2Manuscript: “posession.”

3Word interlined in place of “Stith’s.”

Index Entries

  • Campbell County, Va.; TJ sells Ivy Creek tract in search
  • Griffin, Burgess; and TJ’s land dispute with S. Scott search
  • Griffin, Burgess; letters to accounted for search
  • Harrison, Samuel Jordan; and TJ’s land dispute with S. Scott search
  • health; rheumatism search
  • Ivy Creek (Campbell Co.); S. Scott claims TJ’s land on search
  • Ivy Creek (Campbell Co.); TJ sells lands on search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Business & Financial Affairs; dispute with S. Scott search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Business & Financial Affairs; sells land on Ivy Creek search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Health; rheumatism search
  • Martin, James; and sale of TJ’s Ivy Creek tract search
  • Martin, James; letters to search
  • Martin, William Peters; Campbell Co. surveyor search
  • overseers; TJ’s instructions to search
  • Poplar Forest (TJ’s Bedford Co. estate); Overseers at; TJ’s instructions to search
  • rheumatism; TJ’s search
  • Scott, Samuel; letters from accounted for search
  • Scott, Samuel; TJ’s land dispute with search
  • Stith, Richard; and Ivy Creek tract search