Thomas Jefferson Papers

Agreement with Benjamin Johnson for Exchange of Poplar Forest Lands, 13 December 1812

Agreement with Benjamin Johnson for Exchange of Poplar Forest Lands

This indented deed of Exchange made on the 13th day of December one thousand eight hundred & twelve between Benjamin Johnson of the county of Bedford on the one part, & Thomas Jefferson of Monticello in the county of Albemarle on the other part witnesseth that the said1 parties being separately siesed in fee simple of lands in the counties of Bedford and Campbell2 adjacent to each other, and respecting the boundaries of which there is also3 some doubt, and being disposed to exchange a part of them for mutual convenience and advantage and therein to merge, settle & compromise for ever the doubted boundaries, in consideration each of the lands which he is to recieve in exchange from the other, have given & granted in exchange to each other as follows, that is to say, the said Thomas, in consideration of the lands he is to recieve in exchange from the sd Benjamin as herein after provided gives and grants in exchange for them to the sd Benjamin so much of a tract of 256. acres of lands in the sd county of Bedford which was granted to John Wayles on the entry of Daniel Robertson by patent bearing date the 1st day of August 1772. as lies on the North East side of a line4 Beginning at a hiccory corner to the sd Thomas & to Saml Poindexter in the side line of David Johnson decd and running across the sd tract of land North sixty eight degrees West 193. poles to a stake in the line of the sd Thomas and of John H Moreman5 137. poles from where it corners with John Gill which portion of the sd tract North East of the sd line contains by estimation thirty two acres besides the doubted part be the same more or less: and the sd Benjamin, in consideration of the sd lands so given & granted in exchange by the sd Thomas as aforesaid, gives and grants in exchange for them to the said Thomas so much of his the said Benjamin’s lands in the sd counties of Bedford and Campbell on both sides of Tomahawk & adjacent to the lands of the sd Thomas called the Poplar Forest, and to the lands of John Thomson as lies within the following lines, that is to say, Beginning at a Chesnut bush on the East bank of Tomahawk creek, in a narrow neck between two points of land nearly separating an upper from a lower piece of bottom land, & running South thirty two degrees East sixty one poles to the sd John Thomson’s line, then on his line South sixty six degrees West sixty nine6 poles 17. links to his corner on the side line of the sd Poplar Forest7 North 18½8 degrees West twenty poles to the creek and the same course continued 719 poles further to pointers now marked in the sd line of the P.F.10 then south11 eighty four degrees East12 fifty nine poles to the beginning which portion of the lands of the sd Benjamin within the sd lines contains by estimation twenty nine acres be the same more or less: To have and to hold the lands so given & granted in exchange by either, to the other and his heirs. and each of the said parties, his heirs, executors & administrators the sd portion of land so given and granted by him in exchange will for ever warrant & defend to the other and his heirs.

In witness whereof, and that each of them hath entered into actual possession of the portion of lands granted him in exchange by the other the said Benjamin & Thomas have hereto set their hands & seals on the day & year first above written

Signed, sealed }
& delivered in
presence of

Lemuel Johnson

Jeremiah A. Goodman

Nimrod Daniel13

Stephen Butler

Lilbourn Johnson

Dft (ViU: TJP); on indented paper; entirely in TJ’s hand, including names of witnesses; endorsed by TJ: “Johnson Ben. with Jefferson T.} Deed of Exchange.” Tr (Bedford Co. Deed Book, 13:785–6); entirely in the hand of Bedford County clerk James Steptoe, including signatures of TJ and Johnson, the witnesses, and an additional witness, Joseph Slaughter; at foot of text: “At a Court held for Bedford County at the Courthouse the 28th day of December 1812. This agreement of Exchange of Lands between Thomas Jefferson & Benjamin Johnson was proved by the Oaths of Lemuel Johnson, Jeremiah A. Goodman & by the Affirmation of Stephen Butler three subscribing Witnesses & Ordered to be recorded—Teste J Steptoe C B C.”; in margin: “Jefferson & Johnson Deed of Exchange.” Enclosed in TJ to Johnson, 29 Nov. 1812.

In preparation for the land exchange described above, TJ calculated that the lands he was giving up to Johnson consisted of 12 acres 104 square poles (i.e., square rods, 160 of which form an acre) on the west side of the road and 3 acres on the east side, each of which he valued at $8 an acre, and an additional 16 acres 46 square poles on the east side valued at $12 per acre, for a total worth of $320.65. He concluded that this would be exactly balanced in value by 5 acres of bottomland and 23 acres 133 square poles of highland from Johnson valued respectively at $26 and $8 per acre. Beneath these calculations TJ prepared two preliminary and incomplete drafts of the survey for the tract of land that he was to receive (MS in ViU: TJP, TB [Thurlow-Berkeley no.] 1136 [532-n3]; in TJ’s hand; undated; on verso of reused address cover to TJ). On the verso of the MS of TJ’s Notes on Benjamin Johnson’s Lands Adjacent to Poplar Forest, [ca. 1 Dec. 1812], TJ wrote the coordinates of his share of the lands described above, with the heading “lines of the lands of B. Johnson on Tomahawk finally laid off for Th: Jefferson Dec. 1812” and his conclusion that the contents totaled “28. as & 132. sq. poles” (MS in ViU: TJP, TB 1136 [532-l]; entirely in TJ’s hand, including additional calculations and draft plat in pencil; undated).

1Word omitted in Tr.

2Reworked in Dft from “in the sd county of Bedford.”

3Word interlined in Dft but omitted in Tr.

4Preceding two words interlined in Dft in place of “the following lines to wit.”

5Preceding five words interlined in Dft.

6Reworked from “sixty one” in Dft.

7Preceding two words interlined in Dft in place of “Thomas.” In Dft TJ here canceled “thence on the sd line.”

8Number interlined in Dft in place of “seventeen.”

9Number interlined in Dft in place of “sixty.”

10Preceding twelve words interlined in Dft.

11Word interlined in Dft in place of “North.”

12Word interlined in Dft in place of “West.”

13Dft: “Nirwood Daniel.” Tr: “Nimrod Daniel.” The signatory was probably Nimrod Darnil.

Index Entries

  • Bedford County, Va.; TJ’s lands in search
  • Butler, Stephen; witnesses agreement search
  • Darnil (Darnell; Darniel; Darnold), Nimrod; witnesses agreement search
  • Gill, John (of Bedford Co.); and Bear Creek lands search
  • Goodman, Jeremiah Augustus; witnesses agreement search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Writings; Agreement with Benjamin Johnson for Exchange of Poplar Forest Lands search
  • Johnson, Benjamin; land transactions with search
  • Johnson, David search
  • Johnson, Lemuel; witnesses agreement search
  • Johnson, Lilbourn; witnesses agreement search
  • Moreman, John H. search
  • Poindexter, Samuel; land of search
  • Poplar Forest (TJ’s Bedford Co. estate); Agreement with Benjamin Johnson for Exchange of Poplar Forest Lands search
  • Robertson, Daniel; land patented by search
  • Slaughter, Joseph; witnesses documents search
  • Steptoe, James; clerk of Bedford Co. search
  • Thompson (Thomson), John (Campbell Co. landowner); and Bedford Co. land search
  • Wayles, John (TJ’s father-in-law); and Bedford Co. land search