Thomas Jefferson Papers

Promissory Note to Thomas Wells, Jr., 6 September 1802

Promissory Note to Thomas Wells, Jr.

6 Sep. 1802

I promise to pay to Thomas Wells junr. or order forty pounds current money of Virginia on or before the 1st. day of the ensuing month of October. Witness my hand this 6th. day of September 1802.

Th: Jefferson

MS (ViU: Edgehill-Randolph Papers); entirely in TJ’s hand; endorsed by John Barnes: “Thomas Wells Junr 19 Oct. 1802 $133.33.”

Thomas Wells, Jr., resided in Albemarle County and was an officer in the county militia. In September 1802, TJ purchased from Wells and others several small parcels of land adjoining Monticello, consisting of a 61¼-acre tract from Benjamin Brown on 9 Sep. for £85.15 Virginia currency ($285.83), a 40-acre tract from Wells on 15 Sep. for £40 Virginia currency ($133.33), and two tracts totaling 25¼ acres from Richard Overton for $346.67 (Woods, Albemarle description begins Edgar Woods, Albemarle County in Virginia, Charlottesville, 1901 description ends , 372; Albemarle County District Court Deed Book No. 1:165–7; Albemarle County Deed Book No. 14:16–17; 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 , 2:1082–3, 1090; TJ to Craven Peyton, 2 Nov. 1802).

A series of endorsements on the verso indicate that the above note to Wells passed through several hands before being presented for payment. On 5 Oct., the note was successively assigned to Frederick Harris, John T. Hawkins, and Opie Norris. The final assignment was made by Norris to P. Hoffman. On the recto, below TJ’s signature, Georgetown merchant Elisha Riggs signed acknowledging receipt of $133.33 for Wells on 19 Oct. (RCHS description begins Records of the Columbia Historical Society, 1895–1989 description ends , 33–34 [1932], 149–50; 44–45 [1942–43], 134–5).

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