Thomas Jefferson Papers
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Thomas Jefferson’s Agreement to Lease Natural Bridge to Philip Thornton, 2 December 1814

Agreement to Lease Natural Bridge to Philip Thornton

Memorandum of an agreement entered into on the 2d Day of December 1814. between Thomas Jefferson of Monticello in the county of Albemarle on the one part and Philip Thornton of Richmond in the county of Henrico on the other part.

The sd Thomas agrees to lease to the sd Philip for the term of five years from the date hereof, & does hereby lease accordingly, a site for a manufacture of leaden shot to be placed either on or near to the Natural bridge in the county of Rockbridge (being the property of the sd Thomas) wheresoever on the sd property of the sd Thomas the sd Philip shall chuse, with leave to erect thereon, at the expence of the sd Philip, the buildings and works he shall deem necessary; as also to lease to him for the same term a site for a dwelling house or houses & gardens to be laid off in a square of two acres wheresoever near the sd bridge he shall chuse, with all conveniences & ways of communication between the several buildings, and also a right to the use of the water of the stream over which the bridge is, to erect dams & ponds on the same for the purposes of his manufactory aforesaid, with ways to & from them: reserving out of the same to the sd Thomas & his heirs the yearly rent of one hundred and fifty dollars to be paid to him on the last day of every year of the said five years, with a right of distress for the same on failure of paiment and grants to the sd Philip also the right to cut any timber on his lands necessary for erecting or repairing his buildings, inclosures or works, gratis and a right to cut firewood on the sd lands paying for the same a reasonable price by the cord as shall be agreed by themselves or settled by arbitration.

The sd Philip covenants on his part that he will pay the sd annual rent as reserved to the sd Thomas & his heirs, that he will make no erection or do any other thing which shall disfigure the sd bridge as a natural curiosity; that he will commit no waste or destruction on the said bridge or lands, on pain of an immediate right of reentry by the sd Thomas if the sd waste, destruction or disfiguration be committed on the said bridge, but that he will to the best of his power preserve the sd bridge in it’s perfect natural and uninjured form; and that he will keep a fair & just account of the firewood cut and account for the same as before provided.

And to the execution of these articles of agreement both parties hereby bind themselves, their heirs, executors, administrators & assigns respectively, and in testimony of the whole, hereto set their hands & seals on the day and year first abovementioned

Signed, sealed & delivered Th: Jefferson
in presence of Philip Thornton
Th: J. Randolph

MS (MHi); in TJ’s hand, signed by TJ, Thornton, and Randolph; sealed by TJ and Thornton; endorsed by TJ: “Jefferson with Thornton} Memo of Agreement.”

Index Entries

  • firewood; and lease with P. Thornton search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Business & Financial Affairs; Agreement to Lease Natural Bridge to Philip Thornton search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Business & Financial Affairs; and lease of Natural Bridge search
  • Natural Bridge, Va.; and shot manufactory search
  • Natural Bridge, Va.; lease of search
  • Randolph, Thomas Jefferson (TJ’s grandson; Jane Hollins Nicholas Randolph’s husband); witnesses documents search
  • rent; from Natural Bridge search
  • shot manufacture search
  • Thornton, Philip; and shot manufactory search
  • Thornton, Philip; leases Natural Bridge from TJ search
  • wood; firewood search