Thomas Jefferson Papers

Thomas Jefferson’s Conveyance of Bear Branch Land to William Radford and Joel Yancey, 7 December 1811

Conveyance of Bear Branch Land to William Radford and Joel Yancey

This indenture made on the seventh1 day of December one thousand eight hundred and eleven between Thomas Jefferson of the county of Albemarle on the one part and William Radford and Joel Yancey both2 of the county of Campbell on the other part, witnesseth that, in consideration of the sum of one dollar to him the sd Thomas in hand paid, and in execution of certain covenants heretofore entered into by him with Charles L. Bankhead, & Anne C. his wife, grandaughter of the said Thomas, and of other covenants heretofore entered into by the sd Charles L. and Anne C. his wife by written articles3 with the said William and Joel4 the said Thomas has given granted bargained and sold unto the said William and Joel5 a certain tract or parcel of land, with it’s appurtenances, in the county of Bedford lying on Bear branch6 bounded as follows, to wit,7 Beginning at a hiccory sapling, marked as a corner on the Western side of the public road and of Bear branch 5. poles & 10. links from an Ash on the branch, and running N. 38° E. 12. poles 17. links, N. 2° E. 14. po. 20. li. N. 66.° E. 14. po. 3. l. N. 28. E. 26. po. 11. l. Bear branch distant 3. p. 20. l N. 54. E. 24–24. Bear br. distant 2–20. N. 22. E. 11–22. to a branch, Bear branch being distant 8. poles. N. 25. E. 17–15. Bear br. distant 6. po. N. 84½ E. 6–20. Bear br. distant 2–20. N. 30½ E. 23–5. Bear br. distt 4–20 N. 5. W. 15–5. Bear br. distt 6. po. N. 34. E. 16. po. to a branch; same course 11–15. Bear br. distant 9. poles N. 47. E. 18–15. Bear br. distt 3–3. N. 29½ E. 23. po. to a remarkable point of rock within 2. po. of a branch from the West, & 8. po. from Bear br. N. 69. E. 10–20. Bear br. distt 3–5.

N. 59. E. 14–20. Bear br. distt 2. po. N. 36½ E. 12–20 Bear br. distt 10. po. N. 71½ E. 20–3 Bear br. distt 1–5.8 N. 2½ W. 10–20. Bear br. dist. 1–5. N. 24. E. 14–4. Bear br. distt 4. po. N. 8. W. 15. po. Bear br. dist. 2. po. N. 40. E. 11–5. Bear br. dist. 4–10. S. 85. E. 9–5 to a large Poplar in the woods on the Eastern edge of9 Bear branch: which courses from the hiccory aforesaid on the public road to the said Poplar are marked by trees wherever they occurred on the courses10 are always on the Western side of Bear branch, are, in their general course, parallel with it, leaving room for a road on firm ground between them and the branch, and are, by agreement of the parties to these presents, substituted as the boundary of the premisses hereby conveyed, so far, instead of the Bear branch itself before agreed on as a boundary in the written articles between the sd Charles L. and the sdWilliam& Joel:11 then running from the said Poplar S. 85.° E. 18. po. N. 43½ E. 62. po. S. 80. E. 52 po. to where Gill corners with the lands of the sd Thomas purchased from Robinson, N. 25½ W. 50. po. and S. 77 W. 80. along the old Poplar forest lines to Bear branch and the same last course continued on the same12 line S. 77. W. 148. poles to the line of the lands of the said Charles L. on Wolf branch, formerly the property of the said Thomas, since conveyed to the sd Charles L. and now sold to the sd William& Joel13 & thence along the said line of the sd Charles L. S. 26. W. 512.14 poles crossing15 the public road aforesaid to Watts’s corner, thence S. 10. E. 11. po. S. 35 E. 19¼ po. N. 26. E. 200. po. a new line to the same public road16 & thence17 along the said18 road S. 85½ E. 65 po. 5 links19 to the hiccory at the beginning: which parcel of land, when added to that on Wolf creek already conveyed by the sd Charles L. to the sd Wm & Joel, will make up, according to different estimates from 962. to 984. acres, & in considn of the quality & situation of certain parts of it, is intended & accepted in full satisfaction of the convenant of the sd Charles L. to convey to them 1000. acres. Provided nevertheless that if the two parcels aforesd shall be found to contain less than 962. acres, and due proof thereof shall be given20 to the sd Thomas at any time within 6. months from the date of these presents then the said Thomas shall be bound to convey to the sd Wm & Joel of such lands of his own adjacent to those conveyed by these presents as he shall chuse, the quantity which the sd two parcels shall so fall short of 962. acres; otherwise this conveyance to be deemed to be in full satisfaction.21 to have & to hold the said parcel of lands herein conveyed22 with it’s appurtenances, to them the said William& Joel & their23 heirs as tenants in common24 and the said Thomas, his heirs, executors & administrators, the said parcel of lands with it’s appurtenances, to them the said William& Joel and their25 heirs and to every of them severally26 will for ever warrant and defend. In witness whereof the said Thomas hath hereto put his hand and seal on the day & year above written.

Signed, sealed }
and delivered
in presence of

Dft (ViU: TJP); on indented paper; entirely in TJ’s hand. Tr (Bedford Co. Deed Book, 13:694); entirely in a clerk’s hand, including signatures by TJ and witnesses Tamerlane W. W. Davies, E. P. Hughes, and Colin Buckner; at foot of text: “At a Court held for Bedford county at the courthouse the 23d of December 1811. This Indenture of bargain & sale between Thomas Jefferson of the one part and Wm Radford & Joel Yancey of the other was proven by the oath of Collin Buckner a subscribing witness—and afterwards at a Court held for said County at the Courthouse the 23d day of March 1812 The same was further proven by the oath of Tamerlane W. W. Davies & E. P. Hughes subscribing Witnesses and ordered to be recorded—Teste, J Steptoe.”

William Radford (1787–1861), attorney and farmer, was a native of Goochland County. He was educated at Washington Academy (now Washington and Lee University) and moved to Lynchburg by 1808. His mother-in-law, Anne Moseley, purchased a portion of TJ’s original Poplar Forest tract from the Randolphs in 1810. By the end of his life Radford owned seventy-five slaves and Woodbourne, an impressive house in Bedford County. Starting about 1819 he served for a time as president of the Farmers’ Bank of Lynchburg (Robert Somerville Radford Yates Sr., William Radford of Richmond, Virginia: His Ancestors and Descendants from 1700 to 1986 [1986], sect. 4, pp. 54, 62, 71; Chambers, Poplar Forest description begins S. Allen Chambers, Poplar Forest & Thomas Jefferson, 1993 description ends , 71, 101–2, 154; Richmond Visitor, 8 Apr. 1809; Thomas Mann Randolph and Martha Jefferson Randolph’s Conveyance of Bedford County Land, [before 19 Feb. 1810], and note; Radford to John Preston, 20 Dec. 1818 [ViBlbV: Preston Family Papers]; DNA: RG 29, CS, Bedford Co., 1850, 1860 slave schedules; Bedford Co. Will Book, 18:252–3, 475–8, 488–92; gravestone inscription, Saint Stephen’s Church, Forest, Va.).

Joel Yancey (d. 1833) was probably born in Louisa County but moved to Campbell County by 1796. He built his house, Rothsay, about a mile from Poplar Forest shortly after acquiring the property mentioned above. Yancey served as superintendent of TJ’s Bedford County property from about the end of May 1815 until December 1821. In this capacity he corresponded frequently with TJ, who paid him $400 a year to hire and supervise the overseers and otherwise protect his interests. Yancey also donated funds to the nascent University of Virginia on several occasions (Chambers, Poplar Forest description begins S. Allen Chambers, Poplar Forest & Thomas Jefferson, 1993 description ends , esp. 71, 90; 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 , esp. 2:1317, 1332, 1343; TJ to Archibald Robertson, and Robertson to TJ, both 1 June 1815; Bedford Co. Will Book, 8:273–4, 300–2).

The covenants heretofore entered into were confirmed in a separate transaction on 7 Dec. 1811 by which Charles and Ann C. Bankhead sold Radford and Yancey between 719 and 741 acres on Wolf Creek in Bedford County, a portion of TJ’s original Poplar Forest plantation, for $12,800 (Tr in Bedford Co. Deed Book, 13:862–3; recorded 26 July 1813). The parcel of land … on bear branch sold by TJ to Radford and Yancey was surveyed by Thomas Jefferson Randolph and Joseph Slaughter this same month and found to contain 243 acres (ViU: TJP, TB [Thurlow-Berkeley no.] 1136 [532g, 532h, 532i]).

On 9 Dec. 1811 TJ attempted to survey the “256. acres called Dan. Robinson’s adjoining Poplar Forest,” which he had earlier acquired through his father-in-law, John Wayles (MS at ViU: TJP, TB 1136 [532f-1], in TJ’s hand; Betts, Farm Book, pt. 1, 127 [TJ’s 1810 land roll giving acreage as 214 and surname as Robertson]).

1Word supplied later by TJ to fill blank space.

2Preceding four words interlined.

3Preceding three words interlined.

4Preceding two words interlined.

5Preceding two words interlined.

6TJ here canceled “containing by estimation one hundred and ninety eight acres and one half, and.”

7Section down to “S. 85. E. 9–5” in the next paragraph reworked from Thomas Jefferson Randolph’s field notes, which TJ altered so as to give the measurements in poles, not chains (MS at ViU: TJP, TB 1136 [532j-18], in Randolph’s hand, with TJ’s emendations; MS at ViU: TJP, TB 1136 [532j-13], in Randolph’s hand). TJ totaled the poles and links “from the hiccory on the road” on a separate piece of paper (MS at ViU: TJP, TB 1136 [532j-22]; in TJ’s hand).

8Tr: “5p 5l.”

9Dft: “of of.” Tr: “of.”

10Preceding ten words interlined.

11Reworked from “Charles L. and William.”

12Text from “S. 85.° E. 18.” to this point interlined in place of “down the branch the following courses, N. 38. E. 24. poles, N. 2. E. 20. po. N. 5. E. 23. po. to the intersection of the branch with the line of the said Thomas at an Elm tree: then along the said.” TJ based revisions from this note and note 14 below on Randolph’s field notes (MS at ViU: TJP, TB 1136 [532j-7]; in Randolph’s hand).

13Preceding two words interlined.

14Number interlined in place of “332.”

15Word interlined in place of “to.”

16Text from “to Watt’s corner” to this point interlined, with “a new line” further interlined.

17TJ here canceled “S. 85½ E. [23.] poles [9] links.”

18TJ here canceled “public.”

19Preceding seven words interlined.

20Reworked from “and notice thereof shall be duly given.”

21Text from “which parcel of land” to this point interlined in place of “which conveyance by these presents is towards a fulfilment, in part only, of the written articles before mentioned; between the sd Charles L. & William, the said Thomas acknoleging himself to continue bound to add, according to the stipulations in the sd written articles, to the premisses now conveyed, as much more of his lands adjacent to them, or to the said tract on Wolf branch, as these premisses with the said tract on Wolf branch shall want of being one thousand acres, whenever that deficiency shall be ascertained and made known to the said Thomas.”

22Preceding two words interlined.

23Reworked from “to him the said William & his.”

24Preceding four words interlined in place of “for ever.”

25Reworked from “to him the said William and his.”

26Preceding six words interlined.

Index Entries

  • Bankhead, Ann (Anne) Cary Randolph (TJ’s granddaughter; Charles Lewis Bankhead’s wife); and Bedford Co. land search
  • Bankhead, Charles Lewis (Ann Cary Randolph Bankhead’s husband); and Bedford Co. land search
  • Bear Creek plantation (part of TJ’s Poplar Forest estate); land conveyance at search
  • Bedford County, Va.; C. L. Bankhead to buy land in search
  • Bedford County, Va.; Wolf Creek search
  • Buckner, Colin; and Bear Creek land search
  • Davies, Tamerlane W. W.; witnesses land conveyance search
  • Gill, John (of Bedford Co.); and Bear Creek lands search
  • Hughes, E. P.; witnesses land conveyance search
  • indentures search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Writings; Conveyance of Bear Branch Land to William Radford and Joel Yancey search
  • Radford, William; identified search
  • Radford, William; purchases Bear Branch land search
  • Randolph, Thomas Jefferson (TJ’s grandson; Jane Hollins Nicholas Randolph’s husband); and surveys of Bear Creek lands search
  • Robertson, Daniel; land patented by search
  • Slaughter, Joseph; surveys Bedford Co. land for TJ search
  • Steptoe, James; clerk of Bedford Co. search
  • Watts, John; Bedford Co. landholder search
  • Wayles, John (TJ’s father-in-law); and Poplar Forest search
  • Wolf Creek (Bedford Co.) search
  • Yancey, Joel (d.1833); buys land from TJ search
  • Yancey, Joel (d.1833); identified search