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Sackville King to Thomas Jefferson, 17 May 1815

From Sackville King

Wards Road 6 miles from Lynchburg 17th may–15


I am inform’d that you are dissatisfied with the managment of your Bedford Estate & it is Say,d You have great reason to be so, that when you come up & now Expected, you mean1 to employ new Overseers make new arangments &ca on your arival please inform me & I’ll ride up & see you, for the purpose of aiding you in those arangments, & point out to you a man who Shall do more for you than any person ever has done, I Shall be glad if you—Shou’d think it worth your while to See me I Know it will Serve your Interest

I am Sir Yr friend

Sackville King.

RC (MHi); dateline adjacent to signature; addressed: “Thomas Jefferson Esqr at his Bedford plantation”; endorsed by TJ as received 19 May 1815 and so recorded in SJL.

Sackville King (ca. 1748–1839), public official, was a native of Hanover County. He owned property in Louisa County in 1775. King served in the Fluvanna County militia during the Revolutionary War, rising from second lieutenant in 1781 to captain the following year. At that time he was residing on a 300-acre estate along Cary Creek in Fluvanna County, but by 1786 he was at the Oxford ironworks in Campbell County. King resided in Lynchburg for some time thereafter. In 1824 he started the community of Kingston on his Ward’s Road land south of Lynchburg, and he served two terms as sheriff of Campbell County. TJ’s acquaintance with him extended from at least 1792, when King owed him £99.5. At his death, King’s personal estate was valued at only $15.50 (Ruth H. Early, Campbell Chronicles and Family Sketches Embracing the History of Campbell County, Virginia, 1782–1926 [1927], 101–2; VMHB description begins Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, 1893–  description ends 6 [1899]: 315, 428; 13 [1905]: 47–8; John H. Gwathmey, Historical Register of Virginians in the Revolution [1938], 447; Richmond Virginia Gazette, or the American Advertiser, 21 Jan. 1786; PTJ description begins Julian P. Boyd, Charles T. Cullen, John Catanzariti, Barbara B. Oberg, and others, eds., The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, 1950– , 37 vols. description ends , 24:575; Acts of Assembly description begins Acts of the General Assembly of Virginia (cited by session; title varies over time) description ends [1794 sess.], 17–8 [22 Dec. 1794]; Robert Enoch Withers, Autobiography of an Octogenarian [1907], 17–8; JHD description begins Journal of the House of Delegates of the Commonwealth of Virginia description ends [1824–25 sess.], 15, 21 [3, 7 Dec. 1824]; Campbell Co. Will Book, 8:256, 308; Lynchburg Virginian, 17 Jan. 1839).

TJ’s dissatisfaction with the managment of Poplar Forest, his bedford County estate, led to the dismissal of overseers Jeremiah A. Goodman and Nimrod Darnil, the employment of Joel Yancey as superintendent, and the hiring as new overseers of William J. Miller at the Tomahawk plantation (sometimes also called Poplar Forest), on which TJ’s house was located, and Robert Miller at the Bear Creek plantation north of it (TJ to Archibald Robertson, 1 June 1815; Goodman to TJ, 16 June 1815; TJ to William P. Newby, 21 June 1815; 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 , 2:1317, 1332; Chambers, Poplar Forest description begins S. Allen Chambers, Poplar Forest & Thomas Jefferson, 1993 description ends , 88–90, 221).

1Manuscript: “meam.”

Index Entries

  • Bear Creek plantation (part of TJ’s Poplar Forest estate); overseer at search
  • Darnil (Darnell; Darniel; Darnold), Nimrod; Poplar Forest overseer search
  • Goodman, Jeremiah Augustus; as Poplar Forest overseer search
  • King, Sackville; identified search
  • King, Sackville; letter from search
  • King, Sackville; recommends overseer search
  • Miller, Robert (overseer); at Bear Creek plantation search
  • Miller, William J. (overseer); at Tomahawk plantation search
  • overseers; hiring of search
  • Poplar Forest (TJ’s Bedford Co. estate); Overseers at; hired search
  • Poplar Forest (TJ’s Bedford Co. estate); Overseers at; TJ seeks replacement for search
  • Tomahawk plantation (part of TJ’s Poplar Forest estate); overseer at search