Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to Thomas Mann Randolph, 25 November 1795

To Thomas Mann Randolph

Monticello Nov. 25. 95

Th:J. to Mr. Randolph

I recieved last night your favor of the 22d. and thank you for the intelligence it contained respecting the proceedings of the H. of Delegates. It was very interesting, and had not before reached us.

I am obliged to be very troublesome to you while in Richmond. B. Clarke was with me the other day, and to my great astonishment I find that 800. acres of my Poplar forest land is to this moment unpatented, and lies open to a Caveat. The Certificate which I now inclose was sent by the surveyor to Clarke, who sent it to Mr. Lewis just before he returned me all my papers, and being buried in the mass of them, never came to my knowlege till now. As there is danger of saying any thing about it, till they are secured, I have stated the case on a separate paper, without describing the lands, and must get you to consult on that paper with the Register of the land office. If he can recieve the Certificate, then deliver him the inclosed one, and do for me whatever is necessary. I presume there will be 13/4 per hundred to pay, which I must ask you to do for me. If the certificate cannot be recieved, I presume I must have a land warrant for 800 acres, at 12/ per hundred. In this case also I must get you to take out the warrants for me.

I have also 98. or 99. acres formerly in Bedford (now Campbell) I believe on Ivy creek, which I am not certain are patented. They were bought of Richard Stith by Mr. Wayles. If they are patented in Mr. Wayles’s name, it will be between Jan. 1771. and the latter end of 1773. If in my name, it will have been since the last period. I must ask the favor of you to have the search made in the proper offices, and to inform me if the patent has issued, or the works been returned, because if not, I must take immediate and secret measures to obtain the Certificate and return it.

I must also trouble you to get me a copy of the collection of the Virginia laws published the last year.

All here are well. Adieu affectionately.

RC (DLC); at foot of first page: “Mr. Randolph”; endorsed by Randolph. PrC (MHi). Enclosure: Certificate from Richard Stith, 25 Oct. 1770, renewed 23 Dec. 1795, based on the 20 Mch. 1770 entry by John Wayles for “all the vacant Land adjoining the lines of his Poplar forest Tract,” and consisting of 25 Oct. 1770 survey “for (John Wayles, Esqr.—now Patent for and in the name of) the honourable Thomas Jefferson—800 Acres of Land Situate in Bedford County including heads of branches of Buffalo Creek and dreaming Creek” (MS in ViU; entirely in Stith’s hand and signed by him as surveyor, with his insertion above date of survey: “again Dec 23, 1795”; endorsed by Stith: “honourable Thomas Jefferson’s Certificate for 800 Acres—Bedford”). Second enclosure printed below.

TJ had not previously secured patents for the two tracts discussed in this letter, which had been surveyed a quarter of a century earlier. A patent for the 800. Acres of my poplar forest land was not issued until 23 May 1797, when Governor James Wood signed the grant, by virtue of land office treasury warrant No. 1722 issued 6 Dec. 1795 (FC in Vi: Land Patent Books, xxxix, 312–13). TJ did not receive title to the 98. or 99. Acres formerly in bedford (now Campbell) until 22 May 1797, when Governor Wood, by virtue of land office treasury warrant No. 1724 issued 5 Dec. 1795, granted him a patent for a 100-acre tract located “on the South branches of Ivy Creek” (printed form at ViU, with blanks filled and description of land entered in a clerk’s hand, signed and sealed by Wood, endorsed as recorded in “Book No. 39 page 303”; FC in Vi: Land Patent Books, xxxix, 303–4). Stith certified the survey of this Ivy Creek tract “adjoining Wilkersons and Johnsons lines” on 23 Dec. 1795 (Tr in ViU, in an unknown hand, with Stith’s signature incorrectly copied as “Smith,” courses noted on plat in pencil in TJ’s hand, with surveying notations in another hand on verso, endorsed in an unknown hand: “hnbl. Tho. Jeffersons certificate & plat for 100 acres Campbell,” endorsed by TJ: “100 as. on Ivy creek. Campbell. Stith’s”; Tr in ViU, in an unknown hand, including attestation by William P. Martin, Campbell County surveyor, endorsed: “Mr. Jeffersons Platt 100 Acres”). For TJ’s instructions on surveys for these lands, see his letters to Bowling Clark and Stith, 12 Dec. 1795.

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