Agreement with John H. Craven
The sd Thomas leases for 5. years to the sd John H. Craven five fields of land of his tract on the West side of the Rivanna of one hundred acres each cleared & to be cleared, the names of which fields are specified in a paper in the hand writing of the said Thomas delivered to the sd Craven; & also forty five negroes whose names are also specified in a paper in the hand writing of the sd Thos. delivered to the sd John H. Craven. The sd Thos. will sow for the sd John H. this fall one hundred acres of wheat, where he has corn & tobo. now growing; he will deliver to him all his stock of cattle & hogs, attached to the premisses, all the workhorses, such of the mules as are not wanting for himself; corn & fodder as to be hereafter more particularly fixed, prepare a house for him, & in the course of the winter remove the negro houses to a place to be agreed on.
The sd Craven will pay the sd Thomas annually a rent of three hundred & fifty pounds Virginia currency, deducting the first year fifty pounds in lieu of another hundred acres of wheat which ought to be sown, but cannot; he will observe respecting the lands & their culture the general covenants contained in the leases of the sd Thomas to mr Peyton & to John & Reuben Perry, and the conditions annexed to those leases: with respect to the negroes he will feed & clothe them well, take care of them in sickness, employing medical aid if necessary: he will in the last year of the lease sow two hundred acres of wheat where the sd Thomas shall direct, the sd Thos. finding seed for one hundred thereof, he will restore horses, mules, cattle, hogs, houses & fences equal in value to those he shall have recieved, both to be estimated by men mutually to be chosen. should the negroes be treated with unreasonable severity, or not be reasonably taken care of, the sd Thomas shall have a right to refer it to mutual arbiters whether the lease shall not be determined and the conditions on which. he reserves the right of passage to & from his house along the usual roads. this lease to commence on New Year’s day ensuing. In witness whereof the parties have hereto set their hands this 22d. of August 1800.
Jno H Craven
|Witness||Th: M. Randolph|
MS (MHi); in TJ’s hand, except for signatures; at head of text: “Heads of agreemt. between John H. Craven & Th: Jefferson committed to paper by way of memorandum to be reduced to form hereafter”; endorsed by TJ.
John H. Craven (d. 1845), a native of Bucks County, Pennsylvania, lived in Loudoun County, Virginia before he came to reside in Albemarle County. At the same time he leased the fields from TJ at Tufton and Monticello, he began purchasing land near Charlottesville and subsequently became a large landowner and slaveholder. In 1819 he bought Pen Park, the estate established by Dr. George Gilmer. Craven was noted as one of the best farmers in the county. He also owned a flour mill, which ground 15,000 bushels of wheat per year, and other enterprises, including a boat to transport his produce (Woods, Albemarle description begins Edgar Woods, Albemarle County in Virginia, Charlottesville, 1901 description ends , 173–4; John Hammond Moore, Albemarle: Jefferson’s County, 1727–1976 [Charlottesville, 1976], 94–5, 124, 166; Betts, Farm Book description begins Edwin M. Betts, ed., Thomas Jefferson’s Farm Book, Princeton, 1953 description ends , 401, 516; 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 , 2:1030; TJ to George Jefferson, 21 Sep. 1803).
For the fields as specified by TJ, see following document. TJ listed the slaves he leased to Craven in 1801 in his farm records. In an adjacent column he listed those slaves he retained at Monticello (facsimile in Betts, Farm Book description begins Edwin M. Betts, ed., Thomas Jefferson’s Farm Book, Princeton, 1953 description ends , 60). For the general covenants contained in previous leases, see TJ’s Indenture with Craven Peyton for the Lease of Fields at Shadwell, 1 Oct. 1799. TJ’s lease with John & Reuben Perry, brothers who worked as carpenters at Monticello, has not been found (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 , 2:1000, 1023). A letter from Reuben Perry to TJ of 13 Dec. 1800, recorded in SJL as received six days later, has not been found.