Thomas Jefferson Papers
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Petition from Some Inhabitants of Albemarle County, [before 12 May 1777]

Petition from Some Inhabitants of Albemarle County

[Before 12 May 1777]

To the Honourable House of Burgesses and Senators of the common wealth of Virginia the Petition of sundry Inhabitants and Freholders Situate in the south part of Albemarle county Humbly Sheweth, that your petitioners suffer many and great Hardships and inconveniencys from the Vast extent of said County in Traveling to the Court-house, the greatest part by far of your petitioners have from twenty to Thirty five Miles to the same the Roads extremely Bad and cannot be made much better as the lands are Craggy and Mountainous two Rivers and many Creeks that are Rapid which add to the inconveniency and the court-house of the said county set many Miles from the Center to the North part to make the Situation more agreable as the part supposed to be about the Center was Mountainous which your petitioners are Occasionally to get Through on any Emergency the Inconveniencies so great that many of your petitioners become sufferers not having it in their power to Attend to their business without Riding The day before and the day after to Return. For these and other Reasons we [pray to?] have the County divided into two distinct Countys by Running a direct line from the Southwest point of the Louisa line, the Waters of Machunck Creek, to the Fluvanna River at the lower side of Scotts ferry Landing by which Division your petitioners conceive the greatest conveniency to themselves and no Individuals to be prejudiced. The court-house and Town of Charlottsville will answer the same purpose as at present and be near Centrical to the North part of the said County and your petitioners shall ever pray &c.

MS (Vi), in unidentified hand, signed by 133 individuals, including Wilson Miles Cary, Thomas Napier, John Moore, and John and William Clark. MS endorsed: “Albemarle Petn. for Division of the County. 1777. May 12. Refd. to Propns. &c. (Reasonable) by a line to be run from the most Western point in the Louisa line directly to the lower edge of Scott’s ferry. 2d. & 3d. Resolutions.” The passage “by a line … Scott’s ferry” is in TJ’s hand. TJ also drew a map (also in Vi) to accompany the petition (see reproduction in this volume).

On 12 May the petition was presented to House and referred to the Committee of Propositions and Grievances; the committee reported favorably next day, and TJ was appointed to a committee to bring in a bill. Bill was reported 14 May by Nicholas; it was passed 20 May and agreed to by Senate 3 June (JHD description begins Journal of the House of Delegates of the Commonwealth of Virginia (cited by session and date of publication) description ends , May 1777, 1827 edn., p. 7, 9, 10, 20, 21, 56). No MS of the Bill has been found, but it is quite probable that TJ drew it; the Act as adopted is in Hening, description begins William W. Hening, The Statutes at Large; Being a Collection of All the Laws of Virginia description ends ix, 325–7. This Act created the new county of Fluvanna, set up courts therein, authorized the governor to appoint the first sheriff, and erected the parish of Fluvanna from those parts of the parishes of Saint Anne and Fredericksville that lay within the new county. Wilson Miles Cary and Thomas Napier were elected to represent the new county in the House of Delegates; see Election Writ, 30 June 1777, below.

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