Thomas Jefferson Papers
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Thomas Jefferson to Matthew Pate, 23 November 1812

To Matthew Pate

Poplar forest Nov. 23 12.


I have to ask the favor of you to locate the inclosed warrant No 4915. for 100 acres of land, on the vacant land between my own lines of the Poplar forest, those of the late William Cobbs and the adjacent landholders, with whose lines I am not yet acquainted. I shall endeavor to obtain a knolege of them, and as soon as I can, I will ask the favor of you to make the survey. Accept the assurance of my respect.

Th: Jefferson

PoC (MHi); at foot of text: “The Surveyor of Bedford”; endorsed by TJ.

Matthew Pate (ca. 1780–1851), farmer and local official, became the surveyor of Bedford County in 1810. Having qualified as a captain in the militia, he served as a lieutenant, 1812–18. In 1824 Pate was dismissed as surveyor when he lacked sufficient funds to post the security bond. He was appointed a commissioner of the peace in 1825, a school commissioner the following year, and a superintendent of elections in 1830. Pate qualified in 1832 for a seven-year appointment as county surveyor, and after the term expired he served as deputy surveyor. At the time of his death his personal estate included ten slaves and was valued at over $7,000 (Bedford Co. Order Book, 15:299, 16:30, 17:474, 19:181, 20:9, 21:66, 215, 23:10, 71, 474, 26:317, 29:192; TJ to Pate, 16 Dec. 1817; DNA: RG 29, CS, Bedford Co., 1850; Bedford Co. Will Book, 14:176–9, 214–7).

On 2 July 1812 TJ reimbursed Thomas Mann Randolph $2.75 for obtaining the enclosed 27 June 1812 warrant No 4915, not found (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 , 2:1281; Vi: RG 4, Virginia Land Office Registry of Treasury Warrants). TJ did not have this warrant located on what turned out to be eighteen acres of vacant land until 30 Apr. 1818 (Pate’s Survey of Eighteen-Acre Tract Adjacent to Poplar Forest, 30 Apr. 1818).

Index Entries

  • Bedford County, Va.; surveyor in search
  • Bedford County, Va.; TJ’s lands in search
  • Cobbs, William; TJ seeks to purchase Bedford Co. land of search
  • Pate, Matthew; as Bedford Co. surveyor search
  • Pate, Matthew; identified search
  • Pate, Matthew; letters to search
  • Randolph, Thomas Mann (1768–1828) (TJ’s son-in-law; Martha Jefferson Randolph’s husband); mentioned search