Thomas Jefferson Papers

Thomas Jefferson to Clifton Garland, 7 August 1813

To Clifton Garland

Monticello Aug. 7. 13.


I have examined the account of the Mutual insurance co. which you put into my hands. so much of it as respects the houses at Monticello is right: but the account for the mill house which1 was the property of the Hendersons, I have nothing to do with, having never purchased nor owned it. it was excepted out of all my deeds. but indeed that account lies against nobody; for on their being obliged to pull down their dam, by a decree in Chancery, the mill became useless, as no water could ever more be brought to it. they therefore sold the house to some person who pulled it down & carried away the materials. the soil then reverted to me. this happened I believe in 1808. but I am not quite sure of this date, as the demolition did not concern me. the part of the account which is right, I copy below, amounting to 43. D 27 c and inclose you an order on Gibson & Jefferson in Richmond for that sum, with the assurance of my respects

Th: Jefferson

PoC (MHi); adjacent to signature: “Mr Garland Agent for the M. A. co.”; endorsed by TJ, with his additional notation: “1811–13”; with subjoined Tr of TJ’s Account with Mutual Assurance Society, [ca. 2 Aug. 1813].

Clifton Garland (d. 1814), merchant and attorney, was a resident of Warren in southern Albemarle County. He was a tobacco inspector there in the 1790s, a partner in the firm of Walker & Garland, a justice of the peace in 1806, the longtime master of Warren’s Masonic lodge, and a captain in the Albemarle County militia. Garland’s law practice encompassed Albemarle, Amherst, Buckingham, Fluvanna, and Nelson counties when he became the Albemarle agent of the Mutual Assurance Society in the spring of 1813. He ran unsuccessfully in the same year for the Virginia House of Delegates. A lifelong bachelor, Garland owned five slaves in 1810 (Woods, Albemarle description begins Edgar Woods, Albemarle County in Virginia, 1901, repr. 1991 description ends , 58–9, 200, 373, 377, 400; JHD description begins Journal of the House of Delegates of the Commonwealth of Virginia description ends [1791–92 sess.], 64; Va. Reports description begins Reports of Cases Argued and Adjudged in the Court of Appeals of Virginia, 1798–  (title varies; originally issued in distinct editions of separately numbered volumes with Va. Reports volume numbers retroactively assigned; original volume numbers here given parenthetically) description ends , 11 [1 Hening & Munford], 423; Freemasons, Grand Lodge of Virginia, Proceedings of a Grand Annual Communication [1801]: 48; [1811]: 31; [1814]: 25; DNA: RG 29, CS, Albemarle Co., 1810; Garland to Samuel Greenhow, 28 Apr. 1813 [Vi: Mutual Assurance Society, Incoming Correspondence]; Albemarle Co. Will Book, 5:346–7, 7:47–8).

The Mutual Assurance Society continued trying to collect the insurance on the Henderson mill house from TJ until the summer of 1817 (James Rawlings to TJ, 9 July, 25 Aug. 1817; TJ to Rawlings, 31 July 1817). For the 1799 decree in chancery forcing the Hendersons to pull down their milldam, see 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 , 31:208, and Haggard, “Henderson Heirs,” description begins Robert F. Haggard, “Thomas Jefferson v. The Heirs of Bennett Henderson, 1795–1818: A Case Study in Caveat Emptor,” MACH, 63 (2005): 1–29 description ends 4–5. Although the enclosed order has not been found, TJ recorded the transaction in 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 , 2:1292.

1Preceding four words interlined in place of “what.”

Index Entries

  • Garland, Clifton; and TJ’s insurance search
  • Garland, Clifton; identified search
  • Garland, Clifton; letters to search
  • Gibson & Jefferson (Richmond firm); payments made for TJ search
  • Milton, Va.; Henderson mill at search
  • Monticello (TJ’s estate); insurance on search
  • Mutual Assurance Society; and TJ’s insurance search
  • Richmond, Va.; chancery court at search
  • Superior Court of Chancery for the Richmond District search