Thomas Jefferson Papers

Bennett H. Henderson to Craven Peyton, 30 April 1811

Bennett H. Henderson to Craven Peyton

Shelby County Kentucky 30th April 1811

Dear Sir

I have Contemplated writing this letter for a considerable time and hope that you will think propper to answer me According to my request as I deem you the most propper person to apply to for Certain information, if I recollect right about four or five years ago I gave you my deed for one hundred and two acres of Land back of the town of Milton by the hand of my brother James the particulars [of] which has entirely Slipt my memory my Object in Mentioning it is Simply this That as he has trespast Largly upon my rights it is probable1 he has taken an advantage of my ignorance and plac,d in the deed more than what I designd, if you will please to inform me whether it includes more than the above mention,d Land you will Set my mind Considerably at ease he2 informd me that he had left two protested orders in your hands to be Sued for one on himself3 for Sixty odd pounds and the other on Isham Henderson for twenty five Said orders were Given me from my brother John if this is the Case I Suppose your information on the Subject will be Satisfactory and Correct if you have such orders in your possession you will be Kind Enough to forward them4 to me or inform me the Situation of them my design is immedeately to dispose of all the property adjoining milton belonging to me which I have not deeded away or otherwise dispos,d of I am Sorry that I have neglected this bussiness So long my brother James has made a Vast Confusion in my affairs and am Sorry to add that his Character in Kentucky is now at a low Ebb indeed I am told he is living Near Natchez in affluent Circumstances

no news of importance So I conclude Your Friend &c

Bennett H Henderson

RC (ViU: TJP); torn at seal; addressed: “Mr Craven Peyton Near Milton Albemarle County Virginia”; stamped and postmarked.

Bennett Hillsborough Henderson was born on 5 Sept. 1784 in Albemarle County. He had moved to Shelby County, Kentucky, with his mother and several of his younger siblings by 1802. In mid-September of that year, acting as TJ’s unnamed agent, Peyton purchased Henderson’s landholdings in and around Milton through his elder brother James Henderson. The sale included all of Bennett H. Henderson’s Milton lands, not just the 102 acres specified above. Henderson confirmed the transfer late in June 1804, when he was nineteen years old (affidavit relating to the lands of Bennett Henderson, 22 Nov. 1815 [KyHi]; Albemarle Co. Deed Book, 14:520–1, 15:164–5; Robert F. Haggard, “Thomas Jefferson v. The Heirs of Bennett Henderson, 1795–1818: A Case Study in Caveat Emptor,” MACH description begins Magazine of Albemarle County History, 1940– (title varies: issued until 1951 as Papers of the Albemarle County Historical Society) description ends 63 [2005]: 1–29).

The fact that Peyton had purchased the lands in question on TJ’s behalf was not yet known to Henderson. Peyton most likely regarded himself merely as the proxy in the case of this letter and immediately forwarded it to TJ.

1Manuscript: “proble.”

2Henderson here canceled “also.”

3Manuscript: “himself Self.”

4Word interlined.

Index Entries

  • Henderson, Bennett Hillsborough; and Milton lands search
  • Henderson, Bennett Hillsborough; identified search
  • Henderson, Bennett Hillsborough; letter from to C. Peyton search
  • Henderson, Isham search
  • Henderson, James L.; and Henderson estate search
  • Henderson, John; and B. H. Henderson search
  • Henderson case; and B. H. Henderson search
  • Peyton, Craven; and Henderson case search
  • Peyton, Craven; letter to from B. H. Henderson search