Thomas Jefferson Papers

John R. F. Corbin to Thomas Jefferson, 17 May 1816

From John R. F. Corbin

May 17—1816

Dr Sir

It is with Some degree of difidence I undertake to address you: I hope however you will not consider it impertinent in me, because I have not had the pleasure of an acquaintence with you.—My object is to learn of you (if in your power to instruct) any thing or some thing concerning the title, or claim, or interest in property generally known and call’d Birds Lottery, in which my Grand Mother Sally Jones, who was Sally Skelton had a considerable interest

Mr Wirt is of opinion the title is a clear one.—A letter address’d to me in winchester, will be thankfully received—

Yr: Very Obt Svt

John R. F. Corbin

RC (MHi); endorsed by TJ as received 1 June 1816 and so recorded in SJL.

John R. F. Corbin was a son of Gawin Corbin and Elizabeth Jones Corbin, who was a daughter of Sally Skelton Jones and Thomas Jones (1726–ca. 1785). In 1814 he was a private in R. W. Carter’s cavalry troop of the Virginia militia, attached to the 41st Regiment, from Richmond County. Corbin died between 1822 and 1830 (Stella Pickett Hardy, Colonial Families of the Southern States of America [1911], 180; Lewis H. Jones, Captain Roger Jones of London and Virginia [1891], 40, 55; “The Corbin Family,” VMHB description begins Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, 1893–  description ends 30 [1922]: 403; Williamsburg Virginia Gazette [Purdie], 10 May 1776; Muster Rolls of the Virginia Militia in the War of 1812 [1852], 202; DNA: RG 29, CS, Frederick Co., Stephensburg, 1820; Burwell et al. v. Corbin et al. [1822] [1 Randolph], 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 , 22:131–64, esp. 132–3; Charles Town Virginia Free Press and Farmers’ Repository, 21 July 1830).

The prizes in the 1768 drawing for the lottery of William Byrd (1728–77) consisted of tracts laid off from his land at and near the falls of the James River. Subsequent problems with the allotment of the parcels prompted the Virginia General Assembly in 1781 to pass “An act to secure to persons who derive titles to lots, lands or tenements under the lottery … of the late William Byrd, esquire, a fee simple estate therein” (DVB description begins John T. Kneebone and others, eds., Dictionary of Virginia Biography, 1998– , 3 vols. description ends , 2:470–2; Neal Elizabeth Millikan, “‘A Taxation Upon All the Fools in Creation’: Lotteries in the British North American Empire” [M.A. thesis, North Carolina State University, 2004], 27–8; Hening, description begins William Waller Hening, ed., The Statutes at Large; being a Collection of all the Laws of Virginia, Richmond, 1809–23, 13 vols.; Sowerby, no. 1863; Poor, Jefferson’s Library, 10 (no. 573) description ends 10:446–7).

Index Entries

  • Byrd, William (1728–77); lottery for search
  • Corbin, John R. F.; identified search
  • Corbin, John R. F.; letter from search
  • Corbin, John R. F.; seeks inheritance search
  • Jones, Sally Skelton search
  • lotteries; for W. Byrd (1728–77) search
  • Wirt, William; gives legal opinion search