Thomas Jefferson Papers

Thomas Jefferson to Zachariah Morris, 15 June 1812

To Zachariah Morris

Monticello June. 15. 1812


After a lapse of near 40. years since our former acquaintance, I am obliged to sollicit a renewal of your recollection on the following occasion. a certain Samuel Scott, who moved into Bedford about 10. years after you left the Poplar Forest, and settled on Ivy creek, on the road, about half way from the Forest to Lynchburg, has brought suit against me for a part of mr Wayles’s land on that creek adjoining Scott’s (formerly I believe Blankenship’s.)

You will recollect that mr Wayles bought of Richard Tullos a tract of 374. acres on Ivy creek, patented by Tullos; and that he bought from Richard Stith Surveyor an entry of 99. acres adjoining Tullos’s. Scott made a subsequent entry on this 99. acres, and has brought a suit on it against me, denying there ever was such an entry of Stith’s (which indeed we cannot find in either the Surveyor’s or clerk’s office.) as you were living at the Poplar Forest when mr Wayles purchased that entry, I am in hopes you will be able to recollect and state to me the circumstances relating to it, what you recollect of the purchase & paiment, the situation of the land, whether the entry was in Stith’s own name, or obtained by him of any one else, whether it was surveyed, & if in his name or mr Wayles’s, whether the works were returned to the Secretary’s office & a patent obtained whether taxes were paid on the land1 and any other circumstances you can remember about it. if you will be so good as to state these things in a letter addressed to me at Monticello near Milton, & put it into any post office, you will oblige me, and with as little delay as you can, as I am pressed to put in an answer. I shall be happy to learn at the same time that you retain your health and strength. Accept my best wishes and respects.

Th: Jefferson

PoC (ViU: TJP); at foot of text: “Mr Zachariah Morris at the Cutbanks near <Farmington> Farmville”; endorsed by TJ.

Zachariah Morris was living in Bedford County by 1765. He worked as an overseer for John Wayles and continued in that capacity for TJ after the latter’s wife Martha inherited Poplar Forest following her father’s death in 1773. By early in 1779 Morris settled in Amelia County, where men of that name died in 1804 and 1809 (Bedford Co. Order Book, 3:240, 6:120; Bowling Clark to TJ, 27 May 1812; 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 , 1:382, 443; PTJ description begins Julian P. Boyd, Charles T. Cullen, John Catanzariti, Barbara B. Oberg, and others, eds., The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, 1950– , 34 vols. description ends , 2:233–4; Amelia Co. Will Book, 7:87–8, 433–4).

1Preceding seven words interlined.

Index Entries

  • Blankenship, Mr. search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Business & Financial Affairs; dispute with S. Scott search
  • Morris, Zachariah; and TJ’s land dispute with S. Scott search
  • Morris, Zachariah; identified search
  • Morris, Zachariah; letters to search
  • Stith, Richard; and Ivy Creek tract search
  • Tullos, Richard; and Campbell Co. land search
  • Wayles, John (TJ’s father-in-law); and Campbell Co. land search