Thomas Jefferson Papers

John G. Gamble to Thomas Jefferson, 20 July 1813

From John G. Gamble

Richmond July 20th 1813


My apology for giving you the trouble of reading this letter, is, that I have purchased of Mr David Higgenbotham the lott conveyed to him by you.

In your deed of conveyance the lott is said to be bounded “on the North Western side, by the Common laid off as a road from Shockoe Warehouse to the1 Wharf. The South Western side bounded by a Common towards the River.” Both of these Commons, are claimed as individual property; but the claim upon that on the South Western side may be easily set aside.

The fact of the North Western side of the lott,2 being, or not being, upon a Common, will make an incalculable difference in its value. The Common upon that side is claimed by Colo Jno Mayo, under a deed executed in 1781 by Colo Byrd to James Lyle. I understand that your purchase from the late Colo Byrd, was in 1774, but have not been able to find, in any of the offices kept in this City, a record of the deed to you, from Colo Byrd or his Trustee. If that deed shall prove to be of date prior to 1781, my right of Common will be established.

If it is within your recollection, I will esteem it a singular favor, that you inform me of the date of your deed, & where I will find it recorded.

Very respectfully Your Mo. Ob Servt

John G Gamble

RC (MHi); between dateline and salutation: “Thos Jefferson Esqe”; endorsed by TJ as received 27 July 1813 and so recorded in SJL.

John Grattan Gamble (1779–1852), merchant, banker, and planter, accompanied John Marshall on a diplomatic mission to Paris in 1797. He studied science at the College of New Jersey (later Princeton University) and was awarded an honorary certificate in 1801 and an honorary A.M. degree there three years later. In 1805 he entered into a mercantile partnership with his brother Robert Gamble in Richmond. John G. Gamble became a prominent businessman and civic leader, and he was one of four men who acted as bail bondsmen for Aaron Burr during the latter’s 1807 treason trial. Gamble was also a superintendent of the new Farmers’ Bank of Virginia in 1812 and was elected a director of that institution in 1816. He was first lieutenant of the Richmond Light Infantry Blues when the unit was mustered for active duty in 1814, and he acted as a commissioner for various turnpikes. Gamble relocated by 1827 to Tallahassee in Florida Territory, where he owned a plantation, served as postmaster for Jefferson County, and became the president of the Union Bank (FTaSA: Gamble Family Notes; Richmond Enquirer, 10 May 1805; Faculty Minutes, College of New Jersey, 29 Sept. 1801, 26 Sept. 1804 [NjP]; Reports of the Trials of Colonel Aaron Burr [Philadelphia, 1808], 106; Acts of Assembly description begins Acts of the General Assembly of Virginia (cited by session; title varies over time) description ends [1811–12 sess.], 7, 51–2; [1817–18 sess.], 132; “Richmond Light Infantry Blues of Richmond, Virginia,” Huddy & Duval’s U.S. Military Magazine 3 [1841]: 28; Norfolk American Beacon and Commercial Diary, 8 Jan. 1816; Terr. Papers description begins Clarence E. Carter and John Porter Bloom, eds., The Territorial Papers of the United States, 1934–75, 28 vols. description ends , 23:982, 25:109–10; Washington Daily National Intelligencer, 25 Oct. 1852).

TJ’s deed of conveyance to David Higginbotham is printed above at the end of November 1811. Charles Carter of Shirley (1732–1806) was the surviving trustee of the estate of William Byrd (1728–77) on 9 Nov. 1777, the date on which, according to TJ’s records, the deed for the lot in Richmond was executed (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 , 1:453–4).

1Gamble here canceled “River.”

2Preceding three words interlined.

Index Entries

  • Byrd, William (1728–77); supposed land sale to J. Lyle search
  • Byrd, William (1728–77); TJ purchases lot from search
  • Carter, Charles search
  • Gamble, John Grattan; identified search
  • Gamble, John Grattan; letters from search
  • Gamble, John Grattan; Richmond lot sold to search
  • Higginbotham, David; purchases Richmond lot from TJ search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Business & Financial Affairs; sells Richmond lot search
  • Lyle, James; supposed land purchase from W. Byrd search
  • Mayo, John search
  • Richmond, Va.; TJ’s lot in search