Thomas Jefferson Papers

I. Petition of Thomas Johnson, [before 11 November 1777]

I. Petition of Thomas Johnson

[Before 11 November 1777]

To the Honl. The Speaker and Delegates of the Common Wealth of Virginia.

The Petition of Thomas Johnson Jun. humbly shewith that your petitioner was appointed a Captain in the County of Louisa1 and raised his quota of men and when he was about to march to Join his Ridgment, was obliged to hire a Cart and two Stears of Charles Yancey to carry his mens baggage &c. as far as Carrs bridge and after they were arrived there, your petitioner was under the necessaty of carrying them to Fredricksburg as he could not get another carriage to convey the baggage; and after your petitioner had discharged the Cart and Stears as they returned home they both died; and your petitioner was sued by the said Yancey and obtained a Judgment in Louisa Court against your Petitioner for the sum of Twelve pounds Twelve shillings and cost of suit amounting to two pounds thirteen shillings and six pence which your petitioner is obliged to pay,2 and as he incurred this expence and damage for serving the Publick he hopes you will take his case under consideration and make him such satisfaction as you in your wisdom shall think requisite and your Petitioner as in duty bound shall always pray &c.

Tr (Vi); Tr (Vi). Original signed petition missing; though it was presented before 11 Nov. 1777, both transcripts are undated and unsigned, and both were employed in 1778 by the legislature. The first is endorsed: “Petn. Thos. Johnson. May 13. 1778. referred to Claims. Reasonable. £12.12. Principal 1-11-3, 1-2-3 Laws. Fees & Tax. [total] £15-5-6. Allowed. reported May 21st.” The second is endorsed: “Petn. Thos. Johnson. refd. to Claims. 20th Novr. 1778. Allowed £12-12 Principal 2-13-6 Costs. [total] 15-5-6. reported Decr. 1st.” Second Tr differs from first slightly as indicated in textual notes below.

Accompanying second Tr is a transcript of the record in the case of Yancey v. Johnson. According to this record, certified by John Nelson, suit was entered before the Louisa County Court on 10 Mch. 1777. Charles Yancey was represented by William Du Val, and Thomas Johnson by John Lewis when the case came up for trial on 12 May. Plaintiff charged that by agreement with the defendant the latter had hired “his Cart, a Negroe Fellow, and two valuable Steers, to go and carry Baggage of the Third Virginia Battalion as far as Carr’s Bridge”; that it was expressly agreed “not to carry the said Steers (they being Young) any further than the said Bridge”; that the steers were valued at £16; and that, by breach of the contract, he had sustained damages amounting to £30. Johnson pleaded not guilty as charged, and the jury awarded damages to Yancey of £12 12s. plus costs. Included in this record were two affidavits, also certified by John Nelson: (1) copy of an affidavit signed by Thomas Johnson as captain of a company of the 3d Battalion, dated 9 Apr. 1776, stating: “I employ’d a Cart of Mr. Charles Yancy to go as far as Carr’s Bridge, and no farther, with my Company, but finding it necessary that they should go as far as Fredericksburg I ordered them there with the Baggage, in which Rout the Yoke of Oxen that drew the Cart died”; and (2) copy of an affidavit signed by Waddy Thompson, dated 15 May 1776, to the effect that Richard Jones and Bartholomew Warren had sworn that the oxen “that died in the Country’s Service” were worth “twelve Pounds Current Money of Virginia.”

1Second Tr adds at this point: “in the year 1776.”

2Second Tr adds at this point: “as will appear by a Record of the said Court of Louisa.” This indicates that the record of the case, summarized above, must have been prepared after the second of Johnson’s petitions was considered at the session of May 1778.

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