Thomas Jefferson Papers

Edward Graham’s Survey of the Natural Bridge Tract, 7 November 1817

Edward Graham’s Survey of the Natural Bridge Tract

Novr 7th 1817 Surveyed for Thos Jefferson Esqr a tract of land including the Natural-bridge, purporting, by patent, to contain 157 acres; Beging at 2 poplars united together at the ground and marked as corner trees on the S.E. side only, supposed to be the beging corner called for in the patent, thence (the course called for in the patent) S 52½° E1 crossing two small fields, and, at 158 poles, a branch, and, at 326 poles, cedar-creek, and thence 39 p. farther, in all 365 p. a White Oak the supposed corner about 6 p. to the left. Near it stood a dead White Oak marked as a corner; and also, near it 2 White oaks dead & fallen down; Beging our next line at the White Oak, thence N 45° E 842 ps 2 White Oaks, the supposed corner-trees, about 1 pole to the left: from the White Oaks N 70°3 W. crossing a branch and up a hill through the corner of a field 634 ps to the top of the hill, the timber a good deal cut away, found 2 Black Oaks marked as corner trees about 4 ps to the left: from sd Black Oaks S 45°5 W. 206 ps 3 White oaks a few feet to the right claimed as a corner to Wm Greenlee’s tract now owned by Ochiltree’s heirs, from sd White Oak N 55° W. crossing a branch 36 ps to the top of the cliff near to the N. Bridge—no corner found—Ochiltrees line to the right: thence N 17° W 66 ps near to an old path on the top of a ridge—no corner-tree found the timber all cut away, thence N 60°7 W passing some line-trees8 to the left, crossing a draft9 13010 ps on a hill-side—no corner or line trees near except 3 White Oaks 16 ps to the left claimed as a corner by Ochiltree’s heirs; from sd White Oaks due North 2811 ps 2 White oaks nearly three poles to the left claimed as corner-trees by Ochiltree’s heirs: from these White Oaks N 3012 E 38 ps into Ochiltree’s13 field in a corner of Woodland the timber much cut away & no corner found. measured three poles to the left to a stake, thence N 30° W 24 ps14 through a field, no corner found, timber all dead or cut down; thence N 4° E. 40 ps15 to the top of a ridge near a Black Oak marked as a line tree supposed to be in a line of Barclay’s16 land.17

MS (MHi); in Graham’s hand; with note by TJ in margin of first page: “56½′.” Tr (MHi); on recto of portion of reused address cover to TJ; abstract in TJ’s hand quoting extensively from the MS but also condensing and abbreviating, with each change of direction beginning on a separate line and all but the first preceded by a penciled check mark presumably indicating that TJ had verified the information; also containing TJ’s interlined corrections as noted below; at head of text: “1817. Nov. 7. Survey of Nat. bridge by Edwd Graham”; with unrelated partial Latin vocabulary chart in TJ’s hand on verso. Enclosed in Graham to TJ, 24 Jan. 1818.

Edward Graham (ca. 1765–1840), attorney and educator, attended Lexington’s Liberty Hall Academy (later successively Washington Academy from 1798, Washington College from 1813, and Washington and Lee University from 1871). Afterwards he served as the principal of New London Academy in Campbell County before returning as a tutor to Liberty Hall. Graham studied law and in 1795 moved to Kanawha County to practice it in that place and in Greenbrier County. He represented the former county in the Virginia House of Delegates for a single term, 1797–98, and was its commonwealth’s attorney in 1801. By 1807 Graham was back in Lexington, where he again turned his attention to education. He was a founding trustee of the Ann Smith Academy that year, served as its first treasurer, and was an assistant teacher in 1808. Graham was also appointed a trustee of Washington Academy in 1807 and was named secretary of the board in 1811, holding both posts until his death. He held the professorship of mathematics at the institution from 1813 until 1829. Graham owned five slaves in the year of his death. He died in Lexington (Washington, Papers, Retirement Ser., 2:131–2; Leonard, General Assembly description begins Cynthia Miller Leonard, comp., The General Assembly of Virginia, July 30, 1619–January 11, 1978: A Bicentennial Register of Members, 1978 description ends , 208; National Intelligencer, and Washington Advertiser, 11 Sept. 1801; Oren F. Morton, A History of Rockbridge County Virginia [1920], 207–8, 488; Washington and Lee University Catalogue description begins Catalogue of the Officers and Alumni of Washington and Lee University, Lexington, Virginia, 1749–1888, 1888 description ends , 37, 39, 42, 51; Washington and Lee University, Historical Papers 3 [1892]: 48, 57–8; DNA: RG 29, CS, Lexington, 1820–40; Richmond Whig and Public Advertiser, 1 Dec. 1840; Rockbridge Co. Will Book, 8:435–6).

In this context a draft or draught is a stream bed or ravine (OED description begins James A. H. Murray, J. A. Simpson, E. S. C. Weiner, and others, eds., The Oxford English Dictionary, 2d ed., 1989, 20 vols. description ends ).

1In Tr TJ interlined “S. 54. E. 365” beneath this measurement.

2In Tr TJ interlined “38½ 85” beneath this measurement.

3In Tr TJ interlined “74¾” beneath this number.

4In Tr TJ interlined “63½” beneath this number.

5In Tr TJ interlined “47¾” beneath this number.

6In Tr TJ interlined “21” beneath this number.

7In Tr TJ interlined “67¼” beneath this number.

8Reworked from “corner-trees.”

9Tr: “draught.”

10In Tr TJ interlined “131” beneath this number.

11In Tr TJ interlined “N. 7¼ W 28¼” beneath this measurement.

12In Tr TJ interlined “24½” beneath this number.

13MS: “Ochitree’s.” Tr: “Ochiltree’s.”

14In Tr TJ gave the measurement as “N. 38. W.”; interlined a “30” above “38” and added “24. po.” after “W.”; and keyed a note at foot of text with an asterisk at the beginning of the measurement: “qu. if this course is N. 38. W. or N. 30. W. 24 po.”

15Preceding two words interlined.

16MS: “Barkley’s.” Tr: “Barclay’s.”

17Tr here adds “last line results in S. 41. W. 150 po. to beginning.”

Index Entries

  • Barclay, Mr.; Rockbridge Co. property of search
  • Graham, Edward; and survey of Natural Bridge search
  • Graham, Edward; identified search
  • Greenlee, William; Rockbridge Co. property of search
  • Natural Bridge, Va.; survey of search
  • Ocheltree, James; Rockbridge Co. land of search
  • surveying; and Natural Bridge search