To William Fleming
Monticello Sep. 19. 1801.
I am called on to answer Gilliam’s bill against mr Wayles’s [Exrs by] B. Skelton’s representatives. there are some facts to the recollection of which you can perhaps aid me. you remember we had a meeting in Richmond with M. Skelton, and I believe, J. Baker acting as his atty. when was it? did not J. Baker act for M. Skelton & in his presence? I have our account which I think he compared with the vouchers and marked thus v the articles he passed, which marks are on the papers. do you remember his passing them? did we enter on your account & what progress did we make in it? what prevented our going through the whole business? can you be so good as to furnish me with a copy of the account of Colo. J. Fleming’s admin. of B. Skelton’s estate, with any additional articles of account of his exrs relating to that estate? I should be extremely obliged to you for it, [not] only [as necessary] for the statement of my proceedings as exr on the right of mrs Jefferson to that estate, but as it may assist in harmonizing our answers. have you answered the bill? I shall be at Washington on the last day of this month, and will therefore ask you [to address] your answer to these queries to that place. accept assurances of my constant & affectionate esteem & respect.
PrC (MHi); faint; at foot of text: “The honble Judge Fleming”; endorsed by TJ in ink on verso.
Gilliam’s Bill: Robert Gilliam had filed a chancery suit against the estate of TJ’s father-in-law, John Wayles (d. 1773), on behalf of the estate of TJ’s wife’s first husband, Bathurst Skelton (d. 1768). Gilliam was the husband of Skelton’s sister Lucy. The suit concerned arrangements between Wayles and Skelton over certain lands, including Elk Island. The long-standing controversy involved TJ in multiple ways: as one of the executors of Wayles’s estate, as a former administrator of Skelton’s estate, by his wife’s dower right, and by her interest in her first husband’s estate. The suit was not resolved before 1813. Fleming, whose brother had been the administrator of Skelton’s father’s estate, was also the object of chancery action by Gilliam (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 , 1:286, 349n; 2:1051, 1248n, 1290; RS description begins J. Jefferson Looney and others, eds., The Papers of Thomas Jefferson: Retirement Series, Princeton, 2004–, 4 vols. description ends , 1:305n; Shackelford, Jefferson’s Adoptive Son description begins George Green Shackelford, Jefferson’s Adoptive Son: The Life of William Short, 1759–1848, Lexington, Ky., 1993 description ends , 8–9; Malone, Jefferson description begins Dumas Malone, Jefferson and His Time, Boston, 1948–81, 6 vols. description ends , 1:156, 161; Vol. 7:17–18, 43; Vol. 15:659–60, 661; Fleming to TJ, 13 Oct.).