Adams Papers
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Charles Adams to James Whitelaw, 25 February 1798

Charles Adams to James Whitelaw

New York Feby 25 1798

Sir

Seeing an advertisement in the farmers Weekly Museum that you would attend to the payment of monies due on Lands in the State of Vermont I now take the liberty to trouble you with respect to some owned by my family1 A Mr Jesse Gilbert called on me some days ago and I promised to transmit him money to clear our claims but as I was not so fortunate as to receive the money in time for him I think it best to transmit it immediately to you requesting you to redeem the lands and if in your way to consult Mr Gilbert whose disinterested services deserve my gratitude and Mr Samuel Walker of Rutland to whom I write on the subject2

The Lands in question were purchased many years since of a Mr Davis they are situated in the town of New Salem on the Borders of Lake Memphre-Magog and are as follows. One right to John Adams One to Abigail Adams his wife one to Abigail Adams their daughter one to John Quincy Adams and One to Charles Adams. I send you enclosed forty dollars. I suppose the sum will be sufficient for the occasion3

I had thoughts of requesting you to attend to this business and to draw on me for the sum you might be obliged to advance but as I have not the pleasure of a personal acquaintance with you I thought it more adviseable to transmit the money As it is contained in Bank Bills you may perhaps find some difficulty in changing them should this be the case you can send them back to me and draw an order at five days sight for what ever you may disburse on my account. Your immediate attention to this business and your information to me respecting the subject will be highly gratifying to / Sir Your humble Servant

Charles Adams.

RC (VtHi:James Whitelaw Papers); addressed: “James Whitelaw Esqr / Surveyor General of The State of Vermont / Ryegate in the County of Caledonia State / of Vermont / To be left at the Post office / Newbury on Connecticutt / River”; endorsed: “Charles Adams / Letter respecting / lands in Salem.”

1The Walpole, N.H., Farmer’s Weekly Museum, 16 Jan., printed an advertisement from James Whitelaw (1748–1829), a Scottish immigrant who served as surveyor general of Vermont. The advertisement stated, “All persons who wish to have their lands taken care of … or who wish to be informed of the situation, quality or any matter respecting lands in said State, by applying to him, may have their business faithfully transacted for a reasonable compensation” (Thomas Goodville, “Life of General James Whitelaw,” Proceedings of the Vermont Historical Society, 1905–1906, p. 105, 106, 117).

2Probably Jesse Gilbert (1762–1833) of Hamden, Conn., who had previously surveyed land in Vermont, and Samuel Walker, Harvard 1790, who had been CA’s college roommate and was a lawyer and schoolteacher in Rutland, Vt. (vol. 7:4; William P. Blake, History of the Town of Hamden, Connecticut, with an Account of the Centennial Celebration, June 15th, 1886, New Haven, 1888, p. 249; William H. Jeffrey, Successful Vermonters: A Modern Gazetteer of Caledonia, Essex, and Orleans Counties, East Burke, Vt., 1904, p. 198; Dawn D. Hance, The History of Rutland, Vermont, 1761–1861, Rutland, 1991, p. 211, 214).

3That is, Col. Jacob Davis (1739–1814) of Charlton, Mass., who served in the Revolutionary War and in 1780 purchased lands in Vermont; he was instrumental in establishing the city of Montpelier (D. P. Thompson, History of the Town of Montpelier, from the Time it was First Chartered in 1781 to the Year 1860, Montpelier, Vt., 1860, p. 169, 170, 172). For previous discussions of the Vermont lands, see vol. 4:106, 107, 315, 316–317, 345; 7:457, 459.

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