Thomas Jefferson Papers

Agreement of Sale with William Ronald, [5–13 October 1790]

Agreement of Sale with William Ronald

[5–13 Oct. 1790]

Articles of agreement entered into between William Ronald of the county of Powhatan of the one part and Thomas Jefferson of the county of Albemarle of the other part.

It is agreed that the said Thomas shall convey to the said William a good and indefeasible estate in fee-simple to his tract of land on the South-side James river opposite Elk-island together with the Little island, containing altogether by estimation one thousand and seventy six acres more or less, towit, 750. acres Skelton’s patent, 200. acres Rob. Carter’s patent, 113. acres Thomas Carter’s patent, an entry of three acres, and the Little island patented for 10. acres: in consideration whereof the said William, his heirs, executors, administrators, shall pay to the said Thomas, his executors, administrators or assigns one thousand and seventy six pounds sterling money of Great Britain, with interest from the date of these presents, to wit five hundred and thirty eight pounds sterling with interest thereon from the date of these presents on or before the 1st. day of January one thousand seven hundred and ninety six, and the remaining five hundred and thirty eight pounds sterling with interest thereon also from the date hereof on or before the 1st. day of January one thousand seven hundred and ninety seven.

It is agreed that the said William shall give to the said Thomas two bonds to be executed by himself, one for each of the aforesaid paiments, and that he will as a security for the paiment of the first bond, mortgage to the said Thomas and his heirs six hundred acres of his land on Beaverdam in Goochland including the mill-seat, and being the lower part of the said tract: and that for the paiment of the last bond he will mortgage to the said Thomas and his heirs all the lands which the said Thomas has hereby covenanted to convey to him: and that all the bonds and deeds necessary for carrying these presents into full execution shall be executed on or before the last day of January next, at which time possession of the premisses shall be delivered to the said William.

And whereas Carter Henry Harrison or those claiming under him have claimed and cultivated a small part of Skelton’s patent, it is expressly agreed that the warranty of the said Thomas shall not extend to that claim. But if, before the last day of paiment before named, it shall be found by the verdict of a jury definitively, in any suit against the said Carter or those claiming under him, that he or they are truly entitled to the said lands, then a credit shall be allowed on the last bond at the rate of twenty shillings sterling for every acre of the patent of the said Skelton so found in favor of the said Harrison or those claiming under him: but if not so found before that day, then no claim is ever to be made against the said Thomas or his heirs, executors or administrators on account of the lands so claimed.

In witness whereof the parties have hereto affixed their hands and seals this fifth day of October one thousand seven hundred and ninety. (Memorandum, that if the said William shall procure any of the bonds given by the said Thomas to William Jones of Bristol and shall deliver them up to the said Thomas, they shall be accepted in lieu of the security herein before specified, so far as they will go.)

Signed, sealed, and delivered
    in presence of
      Jas. George.

Wm. Ronald (L.S.)

Th: Jefferson (L.S.)

I hereby acknolege and declare that the preceding is a true copy of an instrument of writing executed by Wm. Ronald and myself under our hands and seals on the day therein mentioned, at Ellis’s ordinary in Goochland, and that being both on journeys in different directions, and not having time therefore to make out a duplicate, he confided to me the only original which was executed on my engagement to furnish him a true copy, which I hereby do, admitting these presents to be as good evidence of what is therein stipulated as if the original under our hands and seals were to be produced. In witness whereof I have hereto set my hand this 13th. day of October 1790.

PrC (MHi); entirely in TJ’s hand.

TJ drew up this agreement at Ellis’ Ordinary on his return from his hurried trip to Richmond. He was at Tuckahoe on the third, where he not only persuaded Thomas Mann Randolph to sell Edgehill to his son but also collected £30 plus interest of £122 for a marquee that he had bought of David Ross and lent on 1 July 1782 to Col. Randolph, who had in turn lent it to Peyton Randolph and never got it back. On the 4th TJ was in Richmond attending to various affairs—he ordered two sets of the Virginia Gazette, and General Advertiser for the Department of State, settled with the editor for copies of his map of Virginia that had been sold, bought a five-year-old horse got by Brimmer of an unknown dam, and that night was back at Tuckahoe. At Goochland Court House on the 5th he spent some time searching records, doubtless those pertaining to the title to the Cumberland lands, and the same day he made the above transaction. On the 6th he arrived back at Monticello (TJ to Eppes, 8 Oct. 1790; Account Book, 3–6 Oct. 1790; the horse was also named or known as Brimmer—see note, TJ to Fitzhugh, 24 Aug. 1790).

The following documents pertaining to the above transaction were generously made available to the Editor in 1960 by the late Forest H. Sweet: (1) original patent for 10 acres on little island, signed by Thomas Lee, president of the Council, and dated 1 June 1750. (2) Memorandum dated 24 May 1765 by which Robert Carter of Cumberland county, signing by mark, agreed to sell 313 acres to John Wayles for £75 (witnessed by Michael Smith, James Austin, and William Austin; text in Wayles’ hand). The tract involved here was made up of two parcels of 200 and 113 acres each (see note, Lewis to TJ, 10 Jan. 1790). (3) Abstract of deed from TJ and Lewis to Ronald, 17 Oct. 1790, reciting the chain of title to the total 1076 acres and also the terms of the mortgage covering them (in an unknown hand; at head of text: “recorded 23 May 1791”). (4) Survey of 1153 acres “part of Carter Henry Harrison’s tract in Cumberland … survey’d [by Mayo Carrington] for Colonel Robert Carter Harrison March 1789,” showing at the northeast corner opposite Little Island a part of the whole bearing this note: “Supposed to be in dispute with Jefferson 55 ¼ [acres]” (photocopies of all of the foregoing are in TJ Editorial Files). On TJ’s comment on the tract in dispute, see note, Lewis to TJ, 10 Jan. 1790. Some idea of the increase of land values is indicated by the fact that the 313 acres purchased by Wayles for £75 were sold by TJ a quarter of a century later for over four times that sum. On the quality of the lands, see preceding advertisement.

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