Thomas Jefferson Papers

Thomas Jefferson to William Champe Carter, 16 January 1813

To William Champe Carter

Monticello Jan. 16. 13.

Dear Sir

Mr Short has made a sale of the lands called Indian camp which he purchased of you in 1796. on applying to the clerk’s office on the occasion for the deed you executed to him we learnt that altho mrs Carter’s acknolegement of it had been taken & recorded,1 yet the deed itself had never been acknoleged by you, nor proved by the witnesses. one of these is since dead, & there having been but three, it cannot now be made good by them. your personal acknolegement of it is therefore become indispensable; and to save you the trouble of coming to this court on purpose, I have prevailed on the clerk to deliver me the original out of the office (on giving my reciept for it) and now send the bearer express with it to you for your acknolegement of it before the court of your own county. as this takes place the day after tomorrow, the bearer will wait, to bring back the original deed with a certificate of the acknolegement from the court. until this is recieved mr Short’s sale is suspended. in order to save mrs Carter the trouble of a reacknolegement either in court or before commissioners (which last method, by the time it would take might defeat the sale) I subjoin a form of acknolegement which if you will endorse on the back of the deed, acknolege it before three witnesses & then reacknolege the same in court, will I think make good mrs Carter’s former acknolegement, and also obviate any objections from your acknolegement not being within the original eight months. the fear of mr Short’s losing his sale by this omission, occasions my urgency on your convenience to cover this defect. Accept the assurance of my great esteem and respect.

Th: Jefferson

Form of acknolegement to be endorsed on the deed. 

William Champe Carter acknoleged before us that he signed sealed and delivered this deed on the day and year therein stated, and again acknoleged his signature, seal and delivery thereof before us this day of January 1813.

to be signed by 3. witnesses.

PoC (DLC); at foot of recto: “W. Champe Carter esq.” and “turn over,” with postscript on verso; endorsed by TJ. Enclosure: Conveyance of Indian Camp to William Short by William Champe Carter and his wife Maria Carter, 8 Dec. 1796, agreeing that in consideration of the sum of £1,567 paid by Short, he is to receive the parcel of Albemarle County land known as Indian Camp, which lies “on the South East side of the South west mountains between the lands and the Property of James Monroe, and the Blenheim tract,” having passed in fee simple from the late Edward Carter to his son William Champe Carter, bounded as follows: “Begining at a stake in the Eastern boundary of the old patent lands of the said Edward adjacent to the lands of Barras and runing new lines North 45 W 144 poles to Pointers on the Blenheim road N 50 W 56 poles to Pointers at the intersection of the branch with the along the said antient Road N 4 W. 18 po. N 1 E 19— N 17½ E 20½ po. N 54 E to the intersection of the antient road with a drain at pointers then leaving the road and runing along the drain N 81 W 54⁸⁄₁₀ po. to pointers at the fork of the Drain. then leaving the drain N 73 W 166 po. to a remarkable large rock and the same course continued 42¼ po further to pointers on the top of the mountain, then along the top of the Mountain N 65 E 3 po to a red oak N 3¾ W. 44 po. to pointers in a low part of the Mountain N. 49 W 24 po to a white oak N 27½ E 44 po to pointers N 13 E 120 po to pointers N 33½ E 121 poles to a chesnut N 52 E 45 po to pointers N. 70½ E 31. po to chesnut Pointers then leaving the Mountain and runing on the lines of James Monroe S 47 E 218 po to a Spanish oak and Dogwood in the fork of a branch then down the branch according to its Meanders 387 poles which meanders coincide nearly with the following Magnetic courses to wit S 75 E 35 po Due E 19 po. S 75 E 13 po S 62 E 19 po. to the antient road and the same course continued 48 poles further S 83. E 28 po. S 58 E 37 po S 73 E 46 po S 44 E 5 po. to the Blenheim road and the same course continued 16 po. further S 51 E 19 po. S 63 E 21 po Due South 45²⁄₁₀ po S 16 E 25 po S 27. E 11 po to a Spanish oak corner to James Monroe in the old Patent line then along the old Patent line S 45 W 382 poles to the begining which said parcel of land contains 1334 Acres be the same more or less,” with the proviso that tenants retain their lawful rights, provided that rents are now paid to Short (Tr in Albemarle Co. Deed Book, 18:267–8; entirely in the hand of Albemarle County clerk John Nicholas, including the signatures of the Carters and of Charles Wingfield, William Wardlaw, and John Coles as witnesses, TJ’s undated acknowledgment that “the Saving at the close of this Deed on behalf of the tenants was inserted before Sealing and Delivery; and that it goes to the rights of Price and cornelius and no others,” Carter’s 1 Feb. 1813 reacknowledgment in the form specified by TJ above and witnessed by E. W. Rootes, N. Burwell, and William Sinton, a 1 Feb. 1813 certification of Carter’s reacknowledgment by the Henrico County Court as attested by clerk Izard B. Whitlocke, and a 1 Mar. 1813 order by the Albemarle County Court that the conveyance be duly recorded, with Nicholas’s attestation). Enclosed in Benjamin Shackelford to TJ, 17 Jan. 1813, and TJ to Carter, 19 Jan. 1813.

William Champe Carter (ca. 1772–1834), whose grandfather John Carter originally owned nine thousand acres of Albemarle County land in the vicinity of Carter’s Mountain, inherited much of this land in 1792 from his own father, Edward Carter. The tract known as Indian Camp Quarter incorporated Dicks and Wheelers plantations and was adjacent to Blenheim, his mother’s estate. TJ acted for William Short when the latter purchased Indian Camp from Carter in 1795. Three years later Carter unsuccessfully sought an officer’s commission in the United States Army. He sold James Monroe his Highland property, which bordered Indian Camp, before moving to Culpeper County, where he engaged in farming. In honor of his wife, Maria Byrd Farley Carter, he gave the name of Farley to the large neoclassical house that he built there in about 1801. Carter represented Culpeper County in the Virginia General Assembly, 1812–13. Three years after his death his personal estate was valued at almost $12,000, including some thirty slaves (Woods, Albemarle description begins Edgar Woods, Albemarle County in Virginia, 1901, repr. 1991 description ends , 163–5; VMHB description begins Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, 1893–  description ends 44 [1936]: 353; Alexandria Daily Gazette, 31 Oct. 1806; 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 , esp. 28:305–6, 430; Washington, Papers description begins W. W. Abbot, Dorothy Twohig, Philander D. Chase, Theodore J. Crackel, and others, eds., The Papers of George Washington, 1983– , 49 vols.  Colonial Ser., 10 vols.  Confederation Ser., 6 vols.  Pres. Ser., 13 vols.  Retirement Ser., 4 vols.  Rev. War Ser., 16 vols. description ends , Retirement Ser., 2:454, 511; Calder Loth, ed., The Virginia Landmarks Register [1999], 130; Leonard, General Assembly description begins Cynthia Miller Leonard, comp., The General Assembly of Virginia, July 30, 1619–January 11, 1978: A Bicentennial Register of Members, 1978 description ends , 269; Fredericksburg Virginia Herald, 28 June 1834; Richmond Enquirer, 4 July 1834; Culpeper Co. Will Book, N:181–2, O:194–7).

John Coles (1745–1808) was the witness to the deed who was now dead (Elizabeth Langhorne, K. Edward Lay, and William D. Rieley, A Virginia Family and Its Plantation Houses [1987], 2–3). TJ’s reciept to the Albemarle County clerk for the original of the enclosed deed, which he described elsewhere as a “written obligation of responsibility for it’s safe return” (TJ to William Short, 10 Feb. 1813), has not been found. The bearer was James Hern.

1Preceding two words interlined.

Index Entries

  • Burwell, N.; witnesses document search
  • Carter, Edward; and Albemarle Co. land search
  • Carter, John; and Albemarle Co. land search
  • Carter, Maria Byrd Farley (William C. Carter’s wife); and W. Short’s land search
  • Carter, William Champe; and W. Short’s land search
  • Carter, William Champe; identified search
  • Carter, William Champe; letters to search
  • Coles, John; witnesses document search
  • Hern, James (TJ’s slave; b.1776); carries letters for TJ search
  • Indian Camp (W. Short’s Albemarle Co. estate); TJ tries to sell for W. Short search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Business & Financial Affairs; and W. Short’s property search
  • Monroe, James; and W. Short’s land search
  • Nicholas, John; as Albemarle Co. clerk search
  • Price, Joseph; rents part of Indian Camp search
  • Rootes, E. W. search
  • Short, William; and Indian Camp search
  • Sinton, William search
  • Wardlaw, William; witnesses document search
  • Whitlocke, Izard B. search
  • Wingfield, Charles; witnesses document search