Thomas Jefferson Papers

Thomas Jefferson to Bowling Clark, 14 May 1812

To Bowling Clark

Poplar Forest May 14. 12.


You remember that among the lands I held here was an entry of 99. as purchased by mr Wayles of Richard Stith adjoining to a tract on Ivy creek called Tullos’s. the old drunkard Scott, claiming Stith’s entry under a junior entry & patent, was removed by a jury, & has now brought suit against me for the land. altho’ his claim is perfectly idle, he will put me to a great deal of trouble in enquiring into transactions past upwards of 40. years ago, for Stith’s entry (which cannot now be found) must have been from 1770. to 1773. do you remember any thing of this entry, when it was made, or any circumstances of the purchase? I imagine you may have heard Stith speak of them. or when & by whom the entry was surveyed? whether under Stith’s entry, or not till I located a warrant on it in 1795. you were here then and will probably recollect if the survey was made then. the certificate of survey of Dec. 1795. is signed by Richard Smith & purports to have been then made by him, yet I think it had been previously made by Stith. Scott says in his bill there never was such a surveyor of Campbell as Richard Smith. how is this fact? in short be so good as to set down on paper notes of what ever you can recollect relating to this land, it will serve to put me on the tract of enquiry. do you remember Scott’s coming while I was on a visit to this place & proposing to buy the land on Ivy creek? I think this was towards the last of your living here. be so good as to direct your answer to Monticello & put it into your nearest post, & be assured of my constant esteem & best wishes

Th: Jefferson

PoC (ViU: TJP); at foot of text: “Mr Bowling Clarke”; endorsed by TJ.

Bowling Clark (1751–1818) was probably the man with that surname who worked as an overseer for TJ at Monticello, 1786–87. Clark lived in Bedford County by about 1788 and served as TJ’s overseer at Poplar Forest, 1789–1801. TJ described him as “an honest & judicious man.” In 1801 Clark moved to Campbell County, where he was a farmer and horse breeder. At the time of his death he owned land in Campbell, Bedford, and Amherst counties totaling over 3,800 acres, ten slaves, more than $2,500 in cash, and twenty shares in the Farmers’ Bank of Virginia. Clark’s estate also included a claim to 500 acres of land in Kentucky, due him from the heirs of Bennett Henderson, whose own title was questionable. Clark died at his farm in Campbell County (Clark Family Bible Record [Vi]; Bedford Co. Order Book, 3:363, 9:159; 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 , 1:519, 2:878, 1067; Betts, Farm Book description begins Edwin M. Betts, ed., Thomas Jefferson’s Farm Book, 1953 (in two separately paginated sections; unless otherwise specified, references are to the second section) description ends , 149–50, 516; PTJ description begins Julian P. Boyd, Charles T. Cullen, John Catanzariti, Barbara B. Oberg, and others, eds., The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, 1950– , 34 vols. description ends , esp. 24:279–80, 28:65–6, 32:549; TJ to Thomas Mann Randolph, 8 Oct. 1801 [DLC]; Campbell Co. Order Book, 7:57; Campbell Co. Will Book, 4:137–40; Lynchburg Press and Public Advertiser, 10 Dec. 1818).

Index Entries

  • Campbell County, Va.; TJ’s land in search
  • Clark, Bowling; and Ivy Creek tract search
  • Clark, Bowling; identified search
  • Clark, Bowling; letters to search
  • drunkenness; of S. Scott search
  • Ivy Creek (Campbell Co.); S. Scott claims TJ’s land on search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Business & Financial Affairs; dispute with S. Scott search
  • Scott, Samuel; intemperance alleged search
  • Scott, Samuel; TJ’s land dispute with search
  • Stith, Richard; and Ivy Creek tract search
  • Tullos, Richard; and Campbell Co. land search
  • Wayles, John (TJ’s father-in-law); and Campbell Co. land search