Thomas Jefferson Papers

John Tayloe Lomax to Thomas Jefferson, 11 March 1816

From John Tayloe Lomax

Menokin, near Richmond Ct House March 11th 1816.

Dear sir,

I have been induced to believe that my fathers family have an interest in some lots in Richmond & Manchester well worth investigation—In the progress of my enquiry I ascertain from an a/c. which I presume is in Mr Wayles’s hand writing—that in the year 1768—he sold my grandfather—Lunsford Lomax—6 Tickets in Birds’ lottery for £30—In the record of a suit in the Chancery Court of Richmond between speaker Robinsons admrs & Birds & Carters heirs an account is filed of the Tickets sold in Bird’s lottery—by whom—to whom—& at what price—It is taken I understand from an old book in Mrs Bird’s possession & kept either by Bird—his agent—or the agent of his Trustees—Under the letter L. there is substantially this Entry—“To Lunsford Lomax from J. Wayles 6 Tickets nos 3807 to 3812 inclusive £30.” Upon reference to the prise book it is ascertained that 3807 & 3811—drew prises viz two ½ acre lots no: 30 in Manchester and no: 465 in Richmond—both of which are represented as very valuable—I have searched in vain for the Tickets—I think it probable from the connection which subsisted between my grandfather & Mr Wayles—that they were permitted to remain with the latter and it is possible that they may yet be found among his papers—or some information relative to them may be derived from that Source—It is suggested to me that you are in possession of Mr Wayles’s papers—I am very much at a loss in what way I shall obtrude upon you a request that you will be So good as to aid me with such information as those papers may impart upon a subject of very great interest to my father’s family—

I beg sir you will excuse the Liberty I have taken—and accept the assurances of my most respectfull consideration.

Jno Tayloe Lomax

RC (MHi); endorsed by TJ as received 27 Mar. 1816 and so recorded in SJL. RC (DLC); address cover only; with PoC of TJ to Thomas Eston Randolph, 3 June 1816, on verso; addressed: “Thomas Jefferson Esqr Monticello”; stamped; postmarked Port Royal, 11 Mar., and Charlottesville, 27 Mar.

John Tayloe Lomax (1781–1862), attorney, educator, and judge, was the son of TJ’s friend Thomas Lomax. The younger Lomax graduated in 1797 from Saint John’s College, Annapolis, studied the following year at the College of William and Mary, and practiced law in Fredericksburg thereafter. In April 1826 he became the first professor of law at the University of Virginia. Lomax left the faculty early in 1830. The Virginia General Assembly elected him associate judge of the Superior Court of Law and Chancery the following year, and he continued his teaching career thereafter by conducting a private law school in Fredericksburg. He was the author of a Digest of the Laws respecting Real Property, 3 vols. (1839), and A Treatise on the Law of Executors and Administrators … and adapted more particularly to the Practice of Virginia, 2 vols. (1841). Lomax was awarded an honorary degree from Harvard University in 1847. He retired from the bench in 1857 and died in Fredericksburg (DAB; Lunsford Lomax Lewis, “Judge John Tayloe Lomax,” Virginia Law Register 2 [1896]: 1–3; Edward Lloyd Lomax, Genealogy of the Virginia Family of Lomax [1913], 20; Elizabeth W. P. Lomax, “John Tayloe Lomax,” Green Bag 9 [1897]: 373–8; Commemoration of the One Hundredth Anniversary of St. John’s College [1890], 104; A Catalogue of the College of William and Mary in Virginia [1859], 48; Bruce, University description begins Philip Alexander Bruce, History of the University of Virginia 1819–1919: The Lengthened Shadow of One Man, 1920–22, 5 vols. description ends , 2:31–2, 102–5, 169; TJ to Lomax, 12 Apr. 1826; JSV description begins Journal of the Senate of Virginia description ends [1830–31 sess.], 272 [18 Apr. 1831]; Harvard Quinquennial Catalogue of the Officers and Graduates 1636–1925 [1925], 965; Washington Daily National Intelligencer, 10 Oct. 1862).

In 1768 William Byrd (1728–77) held a lottery to dispose of a portion of his real estate that included lots in richmond & manchester in an effort to relieve his own debts and additional obligations to the estate of John Robinson, the late speaker and treasurer of the House of Burgesses (Washington, Papers, Colonial Ser., 8:192, 194n; Donald Jackson and Dorothy Twohig, eds., The Diaries of George Washington [1976–79], 2:106–7).

Index Entries

  • Byrd, Mary Willing (second wife of William Byrd [1728–77]); and husband’s estate search
  • Byrd, William (1728–77); lottery for search
  • Carter, Charles; as trustee for W. Byrd (1728–77) search
  • Lomax, John Tayloe; and estate of T. Lomax search
  • Lomax, John Tayloe; identified search
  • Lomax, John Tayloe; letters from search
  • Lomax, John Tayloe; professor of law search
  • Lomax, Lunsford; and lottery for W. Byrd (1728–77) search
  • Lomax, Thomas; estate of search
  • lotteries; for W. Byrd (1728–77) search
  • Richmond, Va.; chancery court at search
  • Robinson, John (1704–66); as Speaker of Va. House of Burgesses search
  • Wayles, John (TJ’s father-in-law); and lottery for W. Byrd (1728–77) search
  • Wayles, John (TJ’s father-in-law); papers at Eppington search