Thomas Jefferson Papers

Philip P. Barbour and William F. Gordon to Thomas Jefferson, 7 August 1816

From Philip P. Barbour and William F. Gordon

Charlottesville 7th Augt 1816

Dear sir

On the Subject of the writ of Right, which we have been requested to issue, in Your name & other claimants we have to inform you that on investigating the manner of instituting the Suit, we find that altho’ the property has been conveyed1 in joint tenancy, not Subject to Survivorship; yet that the Joint tenancy has been destroyed both by alienation & descent. That as tenants in Common Cannot maintain a joint action, we should have proceeded to institute Suits in the names of the several tenants2 in common who are known to us, but that we are not in possession of the names of the persons claiming the adversary freehold title, or of the boundaries of the land. We therefore have troubled you by inclosing you a Writ with your own name as demandant of two Sixths of the land. & have to ask the favor of you to insert the names of the Tenants and the boundaries of the Land.   We have the honor to be respectfully

Yr obt Serts
P. P. Barbour
Wm F Gordon

RC (MHi); in Gordon’s hand, signed by Barbour and Gordon; addressed by Gordon: “mr Jefferson Monticello”; endorsed by TJ as received 15 Aug. 1816 and so recorded in SJL. Enclosure not found.

A writ of right, also termed a writ of course, was “issued as a matter of course or granted as a matter of right” (Black’s Law Dictionary description begins Bryan A. Garner and others, eds., Black’s Law Dictionary, 7th ed., 1999 description ends ). TJ owned a one-third undivided share of a 400-acre parcel on property known as the Limestone Survey and situated along the Hardware River in Albemarle County. The persons making an adversary claim to this land were Charles Hudson and John Hudson (TJ to Mary Stith, 7 Mar. 1811, and note; TJ’s List of Landholdings and Monticello Slaves, [ca. 1811–1812]; TJ’s Statement of Albemarle County Property Subject to State Tax, Mar. 1815).

1Word interlined in place of “devised.”

2Reworked from “of all the tenants.”

Index Entries

  • Barbour, Philip Pendleton; and Limestone Survey lawsuit search
  • Barbour, Philip Pendleton; letter from search
  • Gordon, William Fitzhugh; and Limestone Survey lawsuit search
  • Gordon, William Fitzhugh; letters from search
  • Hudson, Charles; and Limestone Survey lawsuit search
  • Hudson, John; and Limestone Survey lawsuit search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Business & Financial Affairs; and Limestone Survey lawsuit search
  • law; civil search
  • law; property search
  • Limestone Survey (Albemarle Co.); lawsuit over ownership of search
  • Limestone Survey (Albemarle Co.); TJ’s shares in search