Thomas Jefferson Papers

Thomas Jefferson to William P. Martin, 14 May 1812

To William P. Martin

Pop. For. May 14. 12.

Th: Jefferson asks the following favors of mr Martin.

1. to examine his entry books in order to find Stith’s entry of 99. as adjoing to Tullos’s 374. as on which mr Scott laid his entry & survey of 50. as. this entry was made before 1773. but how long before is not known. it may have been made by some other person & transferred to Richard Stith. perhaps it may stand in mr Wayles’s name.

2. to furnish him a certified copy of Scott’s entry of Apr. 15. 1789.

3. do of Scott’s or Tate’s entry of Apr. 26. 1803. it is believed to have been Tate’s.

4. do of the following surveys, all platted on one paper, side by side, as they actually lie, to wit, Tullos’s 374. as Stith’s 99. as Wilkerson’s, Timberlake’s & Anthony’s surveys, & to lay down Scott’s 50. acres on them, as it actually lies on them. all the preceding are named in Scott’s & Tate’s entries, & their collocation is necessary to shew how far Scott’s survey corresponds with the entries.

5. that mr Martin will add to his certificate of the preceding plats that he had gone round the lines of Stith’s 99. acres, & found them fully marked, & the marks appearing to be of an age corresponding with the date of the Survey. this last is necessary to prove there was an actual survey, which Scott pretends to deny.

Th: Jefferson is aware the above will give mr Martin a good deal of trouble, but he prays him to make his own charge which shall be paid on the delivery of the above, & he hopes he can let him have it by Sunday at farthest, as he will leave Poplar Forest on Monday. he wished to have gone to mr Martin’s to explain his wants verbally; but bodily feebleness is gaining on him with years, & these rides fatigue him.

Th: Jefferson

P.S. on recollection, as some of these entries & surveys were made previous to the division of Bedford, perhaps they may not have been transcribed on1 the books of the surveyor in Campbell. in that case, as it will be necessary for Th: Jefferson to search the Books of the surveyor of Bedford mr Martin will be so good as to inform him who he is, & where he lives.

PoC (ViU: TJP); dateline beneath signature; endorsed by TJ.

William Peters Martin (1745–1829), surveyor, was a native of King William County. In 1775 he served as clerk of the Pittsylvania County Committee and was nominated a militia captain. Martin was an attorney when he moved to Halifax County by 1788 and became a Methodist minister. About that time he manumitted his fifteen slaves. Subsequently living in Franklin and Botetourt counties, Martin moved to Lynchburg about 1797 and continued preaching. He was surveyor of Campbell County by 1803 and received assistance from a deputy surveyor from 1817 until his retirement about 1824. After a lengthy illness, Martin died in Lynchburg (William J. Van Schreeven, Robert L. Scribner, and Brent Tarter, eds., Revolutionary Virginia, the Road to Independence: A Documentary Record [1973–83], esp. 2:268–9, 300, 4:148–9; William Asbury Christian, Lynchburg and Its People [1900; repr. 1967], 30, 100; Campbell Co. Record of Surveys [1781–1827]; Lynchburg Will Book, A:367; Lynchburg Virginian, 9 Nov. 1829).

For an 11 Jan. 1771 receipt for stith’s entry, see enclosure to Archibald Thweatt to TJ, 23 June 1812. On 19 May 1812 TJ paid Martin four dollars for his services. TJ did not leave poplar forest for Monticello until Wednesday, 20 May (MB description begins James A. Bear Jr. and Lucia C. Stanton, eds., Jefferson’s Memorandum Books: Accounts, with Legal Records and Miscellany, 1767–1826, 1997, The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, Second Series description ends , 2:1277, 1278).

1Preceding two words interlined in place of “transferred to.”

Index Entries

  • Anthony, Christopher; and Campbell Co. land search
  • Campbell County, Va.; TJ’s land in search
  • Ivy Creek (Campbell Co.); S. Scott claims TJ’s land on search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Business & Financial Affairs; dispute with S. Scott search
  • Martin, William Peters; Campbell Co. surveyor search
  • Martin, William Peters; identified search
  • Martin, William Peters; letters to search
  • Scott, Samuel; TJ’s land dispute with search
  • Stith, Richard; and Ivy Creek tract search
  • Tate, Edmund; and TJ’s Campbell Co. land search
  • Timberlake, Mr.; Campbell Co. landholder search
  • Tullos, Richard; and Campbell Co. land search
  • Wayles, John (TJ’s father-in-law); and Campbell Co. land search
  • Wilkinson (Wilkerson), John; Campbell Co. landholder search