Thomas Jefferson Papers

William Dawson to Samuel Greenhow, 24 May 1809

William Dawson to Samuel Greenhow

Albermarle now at Capt John Harriss. May 24th 1809

Dear Sir

I have had a very fatuaging Jurney, and my horse is lame, I moove on Slowly I have takun four new declarations and Seven Revaluations.

Mr Jefferson has declared two Mills with the Miller houses. he has posponed his Monticelli Buildings until he hears from you. he wishes you to write him what you think of the Chance of being paid provided he Should be burnt out. I had a great deal of Conversation with him on the Subject which is too long to Communicate by pen Ink &c. The declarations of his, is to be held up until he hears from you, at which time Should he like your a/c he will emediatly ansr you, and direct them to be recorded and also advise Mr George Jefferson (of Richmond) to pay the premiom &c you will please to advise him how he Stands with his present Buildings Insured I conceive he is in arrears for the Quota and So I told him for he Could find nothing to Convince me that it was paid (however I may be mistaken) you know better what to Say & do therefore I Stop my pen only Saying Should there be ainy work for me in Richmond I hope my friends will wait for me, who will return as Soon as possable.

I am with due respect Your Obedt Servt

W Dawson

RC (Vi: Mutual Assurance Society, Incoming Correspondence); addressed: “Samuel Greenhow Esqr Principle Agent of the Mutual Assurence Soty against fire of Virga in Richmond”; endorsed by Greenhow.

William Dawson was an agent for the Mutual Assurance Society, which was incorporated by the Virginia General Assembly in 1794. Founder and first principal agent William Frederick Ast modeled it on a corporation begun by Frederick the Great in Prussia, formed to insure property against fire damage. Ast corresponded with TJ in 1793 while unsuccessfully seeking federal sponsorship of the plan, and a policy was first drawn up for TJ in 1796, but he did not pay for coverage until 1800, when some of his concerns about the policy were addressed (PTJ description begins Julian P. Boyd, Charles T. Cullen, John Catanzariti, Barbara B. Oberg, and others, eds., The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, 1950– , 31 vols. description ends , 27:306–9, 359–60, 591–2, 29:190–1, 239–44; DVB description begins John T. Kneebone and others, eds., Dictionary of Virginia Biography, 1998– , 3 vols. description ends , 1:233–4). revaluations of property were required every seven years or when an addition was made. Annual premiums were first introduced in 1809.

Index Entries

  • Ast, William Frederick search
  • Dawson, William; and Mutual Assurance Society search
  • Dawson, William; identified search
  • Dawson, William; letters to S. Greenhow search
  • Gibson & Jefferson (Richmond firm); payments made for TJ search
  • Greenhow, Samuel; and Mutual Assurance Society search
  • Greenhow, Samuel; letters from W. Dawson to search
  • Jefferson, George (TJ’s cousin); pays TJ’s insurance premium search
  • Mutual Assurance Society; and TJ’s insurance search
  • Shadwell mills; TJ’s insurance for search