Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Craven Peyton, 16 October 1801

From Craven Peyton

Shadwell 16th October 1801

Dear Sir

Yours of the 8th Inst came safe to hand covering three post Notes amounting to 1240. D & 27 ¢ for which I am exceedingly Obligd. to you my motive for encloseing the statement of each legatees proportion was merely for your Own satisfaction & not from a wish for you to make any remittence as I can with much convenience pay them what may be due which will appear from the statement if I have been correct, although it does not affect you, my bargain with Carr. only in the two shears of Henderson, Kerr’s shear including interest will cost me five pounds more than you gave me, owing to there being more land than was supposd., at the divition, woods promisd. to furnish me with a plat which was for you & shall be inclosd by the next mail. the lands which is above your Mill seat is undivided1 as it is the dower land in which the Canal must pass, in a few Months J. Henderson may be bought on much more moderate terms then at present. his being liable for all his Farthars debts. shoud you have a claim agst the estate I think it woud be in my power to fix it in his shear, the Creditors are very pushing rest ashoard if it can be had no exertion on my part shall be wanting. the Deeds for those that are of age shall be executed immediately & the proparty rented for the extent of its value, you will oblige me greatly by saying what shall be done with Shadwell, my wish is to move in three weeks, James L. Henderson is about to return to the state of Kentuckey & as he is bound for the true performance of the two legatees that are under age, I shoud wish to hold him to security in this state if it coud be possible for fear of death or othar were the trouble woud be considerable to pursue him if Any Mode which may be pented Out by yourself shall be strictly attended to, was it immediately myself that was consernd. I shoud not be so anxious to secure the redress hear. as I am,

I am with real Respt.

C. Peyton

RC (ViU); endorsed by TJ as received 20 Oct. and so recorded in SJL.

Statement of Each Legatees Proportion: Enclosure No. 1 listed at Peyton to TJ, 3 Oct.

William Woods was the Albemarle County surveyor from 1796 to 1828. He served briefly in the Virginia House of Delegates as the county’s replacement for Wilson Cary Nicholas in December 1799, but lost a re-election bid in 1800 (Woods, Albemarle description begins Edgar Woods, Albemarle County in Virginia, Charlottesville, 1901 description ends , 356; Vol. 29:322, 327–8; Vol. 31:241, 274, 542).

Your Mill Seat: that is, lot number 9 of the “below the Town” tract of the Henderson estate. Peyton called the parcel TJ’s because in the division of the Henderson estate it went to James Henderson, who had sold his share in the estate to Peyton, who was making the purchases for TJ.

For the 15-acre dower land that would have to be traversed by a canal for the prospective mill site, see the Valuation of Henderson Property for Dower, [before 1 Oct. 1801].

John Henderson was the administrator of his father’s estate and thus liable for its debts (Vol. 28:482, 520n).

James L. Henderson, born in April 1779, was of age, but his brothers Charles and Isham, born in January 1781 and November 1782, respectively, were not. James had sold his share in the estate to Tucker Woodson in October 1799, and Peyton purchased it from Woodson in April 1801. Charles and Isham sold their shares in the estate’s Albemarle County lands to James in March 1801, and James immediately sold those rights to Peyton. Although James considered himself to be acting in behalf of his younger siblings, he had not been appointed their guardian. The county court had made John Henderson the guardian of all of his younger siblings in 1794 (order of court, 9 Oct. 1794, Craven Peyton’s amended bill in chancery, 2 June 1804, and deposition of James L. Henderson, 15 Apr. 1805, all in Tr of TJ v. Michie, ViU: Carr Papers; Robert Haggard, “Thomas Jefferson v. The Heirs of Bennett Henderson, 1795–1818: A Case Study in Caveat Emptor,” Magazine of Albemarle County History, 63 [2005], 3).

1MS: “undived.”

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