Thomas Jefferson Papers
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Indenture for the Sale of Elk Hill, 5 August 1799

Indenture for the Sale of Elk Hill

This indenture made on the 5th day of August one thousand seven hundred & ninety nine, between Thomas Jefferson of Monticello in the county of Albemarle on the one part and Thomas Augustus Taylor of the county of Chesterfield on the other part witnesseth that the sd Thomas Jefferson in consideration of the sum of fifteen hundred pounds current money of Virginia to him paid or secured to be paid, hath given granted, bargained & sold unto the said Thomas Augustus Taylor two tracts or parcels of land on the Byrd creek in Goochland county, whereof the one called Elk-hill contains [by] estimation & according to the title papers three hundred & seven acres be the same more or less, & is bounded on the one side by the said Byrd creek, on one other side by James river & on the other sides by the lands of David Ross, & is the same which the sd Thomas Jefferson purchased of Henry Skipwith & Anne his wife, & was formerly the property of James Skelt[on;] the other parcel contains by estimation three hundred & sixty two acres, beginning on the Byrd creek [afore] said, & bounded partly by the same lands beforementioned of David Ross, three hu[ndred] & twelve acres whereof were purchased by the said Thomas Jefferson of Edward [Smith] and the other fifty acres thereof were purchased by the said Thomas Jefferson [of Reuben] Smith, together with their appurtenances: To have & to hold the said several [parcels] of land with their appurtenances to the said Thomas Augustus Taylor & his [heirs:] and the said Thomas Jefferson his heirs, executors & administrators [the said] parcels of land & every of them to the said Thomas Augustus Taylor & his heirs will forever warrant and defend. In witness whereof he hath hereto set his hand & seal on the day and year above written.

Th: Jefferson

Signed sealed and delivered in presence of

David Bullock

Randolph Lewis

Lilburne Lewis

James Martin

Elisha Leak

MS (ViHi); entirely in TJ’s hand except for signatures; blanks for day and month filled in by TJ; indented; mutilated, text in brackets supplied from Tr; two attestations on verso by W. Miller, clerk of Goochland County, the first stating that the indenture was presented in court on 16 Dec. 1799, proved by the oaths of Bullock and Leak, and “ordered to be certified,” and the second that it was further proved by the oath of Randolph Lewis on 20 Jan. 1800 and ordered to be recorded; endorsed. Tr (Goochland County Deed Book No. 17, Goochland County Courthouse, Goochland, Va.).

For the mortgage by Thomas Augustus Taylor securing the purchase made final by this document, see TJ to John Wayles Eppes, 4 July above. TJ’s father-in-law, John Wayles, had purchased the Elk-Hill tract of 307 acres from Lunsford Lomax. TJ got the property in the 1770s through a land exchange with his brother-in-law and sister-in-law, Henry and Anne Wayles Skipwith, to whom it had been allotted in the distribution of Wayles’s estate. Lomax had acquired lands in the vicinity of Elk Hill and Elk Island from James Skelton, the father of Martha Wayles Skelton Jefferson’s first husband. TJ bought the second tract specified above, of 312 acres, from Edward Smith and his wife Sally Smith in 1782 and the 50 acres from Reuben Smith and his mother Judith the following year, allowing Judith Smith occupancy of the land during her life (indentures of the Skipwiths, 21 Sep. 1778, of Edward and Sally Smith, 21 Jan. 1782, and of Judith Smith and Reuben Smith, 19 May 1783, in ViHi, all in TJ’s hand except for signatures and clerks’ attestations and endorsements; Goochland County Deed Books Nos. 12 and 13, Goochland County Courthouse; Vol. 16:94n; MB description begins James A. Bear, Jr., and Lucia C. Stanton, eds., Jefferson’s Memorandum Books: Accounts, with Legal Records and Miscellany, 1767–1826, Princeton, 1997, The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, Second Series description ends , 1:349, 366).

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