Thomas Jefferson Papers

Andrew Alexander to Thomas Jefferson, 4 August 1817

From Andrew Alexander

Lexington Augt 4th 1817


Your letter of the 11th June to Mr Caruther, (whose death we have to lament!) was recd after his death

Patrick Henry the free man of colour is very1 willing to accept of your land at the Natural bridge on the terms you propose—but he does not know the boundery—and wishes you to send him a copy of the courses &c—as he supposes trespasses have been committed—

I enquired of the Sherif he informed me there are three2 years taxes due on your land—$2.91

For future trespasses if they should be made—perhaps it might be well to direct Patrick Henry how to proceed—

Yours &c

Andw Alexander

RC (MHi); endorsed by TJ as received <28> 29 Aug. 1817 and so recorded in SJL. RC (DLC); address cover only; with PoC of TJ to Joseph C. Cabell, 19 Dec. 1817, on verso; addressed: “Thomas Jefferson Esqr near Milton Albemarl”; stamp canceled; franked; postmarked Lexington, 5 Aug.

Andrew Alexander (1768–1844), surveyor and public official, studied in the 1780s at Liberty Hall Academy (successively renamed the Washington Academy, Washington College, and Washington and Lee University). He represented Rockbridge County in the House of Delegates, 1798–99, and again from 1800 until he resigned in 1806 to become county surveyor. In 1801 TJ decided against making Alexander the federal marshal for the western district of Virginia. Along with John Marshall, Alexander served on the 1812 Virginia river commission, and he created the survey and map for the commission’s report. Four years later he was elected a director of the state’s Board of Public Works. In 1817 Alexander sought unsuccessfully to be named surveyor for Mississippi Territory. Beginning about 1819 he assisted John Wood in surveying and mapping the counties of Virginia. Alexander was elected to the House of Delegates again in 1818 and served until 1822. He was a longtime supporter of his alma mater, serving as a trustee from 1796 until his death and as secretary of the board during his last three years. After an 1802 fire at the school, Alexander traded property in the city of Lexington to the institution, and it moved there (PTJ description begins Julian P. Boyd, Charles T. Cullen, John Catanzariti, Barbara B. Oberg, and others, eds., The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, 1950– , 40 vols. description ends , 32:359–60, 398–9, 33:643, 34:258; Marshall, Papers description begins Herbert A. Johnson, Charles T. Cullen, Charles F. Hobson, and others, eds., The Papers of John Marshall, 1974–2006, 12 vols. description ends , 7:355–78; Oren F. Morton, A History of Rockbridge County Virginia [1920], 193, 564; Leonard, General Assembly description begins Cynthia Miller Leonard, comp., The General Assembly of Virginia, July 30, 1619–January 11, 1978: A Bicentennial Register of Members, 1978 description ends ; CVSP description begins William P. Palmer and others, eds., Calendar of Virginia State Papers … Preserved in the Capitol at Richmond, 1875–93, 11 vols. description ends , 10:455–6, 501–2; E. M. Sanchez-Saavedra, A Description of the Country: Virginia’s Cartographers and Their Maps, 1607–1881 [1975], 61–2; Earl G. Swem, comp., Maps relating to Virginia in the Virginia State Library [1989], 87, 89, 90, 92–3; JHD description begins Journal of the House of Delegates of the Commonwealth of Virginia description ends [1815–16 sess.], 184 [14 Feb. 1816]; Andrew Moore to James Monroe, 4 Mar. 1817 [DNA: RG 59, LAR, 1817–25]; Catalogue of the Officers and Alumni of Washington and Lee University, Lexington, Virginia, 1749–1888 [1888], 37, 39, 50; Rockbridge Co. Will Book, 9:356–7, 358–63; gravestone inscription in Stonewall Jackson Memorial Cemetery, Lexington).

William Caruthers (caruther) died on 11 June 1817 in Lexington (Norfolk American Beacon and Commercial Diary, 25 June 1817). While at Natural Bridge on 14 Aug. 1817, TJ gave Patrick Henry $5 to pay Rockbridge County sheriff John Leyburn past and future taxes on the property (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 , 2:1337).

1Manuscript: “verrry.”

2Word interlined in place of “two.”

Index Entries

  • African Americans; as TJ’s tenants search
  • Alexander, Andrew; and Natural Bridge search
  • Alexander, Andrew; identified search
  • Alexander, Andrew; letter from search
  • Caruthers, William; death of search
  • Henry, Patrick (of Rockbridge Co.); as tenant at Natural Bridge search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Business &amp; Financial Affairs; and lease of Natural Bridge search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Business &amp; Financial Affairs; pays taxes search
  • Leyburn, John; as sheriff search
  • Natural Bridge, Va.; lease of search
  • Natural Bridge, Va.; taxes on search
  • Rockbridge County, Va.; taxes in search
  • taxes; on Natural Bridge search
  • taxes; TJ pays search