Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to Craven Peyton, 8 October 1801

To Craven Peyton

Washington Oct. 8. 1801.

Dear Sir

I recieved the day before yesterday your favor of the 3d. inst. the post leaving this always the day before the return of the post of the preceding week prevents our neighborhood from recieving an answer from hence till the Thursday sennight after they have sent off their letter. I do not perfectly understand your statement of the additions on account of a greater quantity of forest land than was expected; and therefore I inclose you a sum in postnotes of this bank which I was able to obtain from a particular person, divided for convenience into those of 500. 500. & 240.27 amounting in the whole to 1240. D. 27 c which will be near the sum probably remaining due, & any difference may remain in account between us. I am assured these notes are gladly exchanged for cash in Richmond. probably the Collector there is peculiarly accomodated by them, as well as the merchants. I will pray you to have them disposed of immediately, because the establishment of an US. bank here will possibly oblige the other to discontinue their business; in which event the less delay in exchanging these notes, the safer against any delay of paiment which the discontinuance of that institution might occasion. I will pray you by return of post to send me an exact statement of the whole amount of the price1 of my four shares. I must also ask for a plat of the manner in which each of the fields, or different lots of property, were divided into 10. parts, so that I may see exactly which are mine, and what others it would be most advantageous to me to acquire. for instance No. 9. in the lands below the town comprehending the mill seat, it would be proper for me to see who owns the divisions on the river above that, through which the canal must pass, and for them I might go beyond the valuation price. in the mean time I shall be glad to get J. Henderson’s parts, every where, at the valuation price, and any others on the river2 which will consolidate with my parts above the mill seat or any of the forest lands above the dower tract which will consolidate with my former possessions. I wish you still to do everything in your own name, & as you would for yourself; and particularly to lease Thorp’s & Faris’s houses as you think best. the forms I left with you for the deeds will still do if you will strike out the words ‘undivided portion’ and insert instead of them ‘part or property divided or undivided’ and then it will be ‘all the part or property divided or undivided of the lands of the late Bennett Henderson deceased in the county of Albemarle which descended on the said’ A. B. &c.   I would pray you to get the deeds executed the moment the parties are of age to execute them, and to furnish me immediately with the plat of the division as before desired, each parcel numbered in it, or marked with the name of the person who drew it. Accept assurances of my friendly esteem & attachment

Th: Jefferson

PrC (ViU); endorsed by TJ in ink on verso. Enclosures not found.

The listing of the division of the Henderson estate that Peyton sent on 3 Oct. showed that there was a greater quantity of forest land making up the “Back Lands” portion of the estate than TJ and Peyton had previously thought (Valuation of Henderson Property for Dower, [before 1 Oct. 1801]).

TJ recorded in his financial memoranda for 8 Oct. the payment of $1,240.27 to Peyton “for Henderson’s land.” The notes were from the bank of Columbia. TJ also recorded the remittance in a statement he later drew up of his purchases of property from the Hendersons (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 , 2:1055; John Barnes to TJ, 7 Oct.; TJ to Peyton, 1 Nov.; statement of account with Peyton, 1801–1809, in DLC, enclosed in TJ to Peyton, 28 Oct. 1812).

My Four Shares: the rights of Sarah Henderson Kerr and her brothers James, Charles, and Isham Henderson, already purchased by Peyton for TJ (Declaration of Trust with Craven Peyton, 25 Sep.).

The undeveloped Mill Seat that would require construction of a Canal was on the parcel of the “below the Town” tract that had fallen to James Henderson in the partition of the estate (Peyton to TJ, 3 Oct.).

J. Henderson’s Parts: TJ and Peyton had not acquired rights from John Henderson, the member of the Henderson family most interested in carrying on the father’s development of the land. In the partitioning of the estate, John received the number 10 lot of the “Lands below the Town,” which was adjacent on the upstream side to the number 9 lot, the one with the potential mill site allotted to John’s brother James. The land upstream from John’s parcel of the “Lands below the Town” was the 15-acre piece that was part of Elizabeth Lewis Henderson’s dower. The two lots on the downriver side of number 9 went to Charles and Isham Henderson (Vol. 32:558; Valuation of Henderson Property for Dower, [before 1 Oct. 1801]; Enclosure No. 1 listed at Peyton to TJ, 3 Oct.; Peyton to TJ, 16 Oct.; enclosure listed at Peyton to TJ, 6 Nov.).

TJ meant by former possessions the nearby land that he owned before beginning the acquisition of Henderson properties.

Forms I Left with You: see the Form of Deeds for Henderson Purchases, [September? 1801]; for the alteration of language, see the deed from James Henderson and his wife at 29 Nov.

The Moment the Parties are of Age: see Peyton to TJ, 16 Oct.

1Preceding three words interlined.

2Preceding three words interlined.

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