Thomas Jefferson Papers

Edward Graham to Thomas Jefferson, 3 January 1818

From Edward Graham

Near Lexington Jany 3d 1818


At the request of capt McD Reid & of Patrick I proceeded on the 7th of Novr last to survey your Natural-bridge tract of land. I used the copy of the1 courses & distances which you had furnished to Capt Reid. A double poplar was shewn to me by Patrick on the S.W. side of cedar creek as a corner tree & I began there & run from thence S 52½ E 365 p crossing cedar creek a little below the N. Bridge, and 6 p. to the left hand found the corner a white Oak. I found one or two other corners; but there is considerable uncertainty in the lines on the N.E. side of the creek. The timber in some places is cut away and in one or two places cleared, & enclosed, & cultivated, by the persons holding adjoining tracts.

I would send you a copy of my field notes, if I thought them important to you & I had time to transcribe them; but Patrick has unexpectedly called on me, on his way down to see you. If you should wish for a copy of my field-notes, & will let me know, I will transmit them to you by post, with any additional information that you may want, & I can furnish.

The land belonging to Greenlee, when the N. Bridge2 Survey was made, now belongs to ochiltree’s heirs, who exhibit, & say they posses, no title-papers except a patent made on a inclusive survey in date long subsequent to your patent. The courses in this inclusive patent vary a little from yours. It is unfortunate that you do not own the land of Ochiltree’s3 heirs, as it approaches very close to the Bridge—not leaving room for any convenient settlement. A house of entertainment is much needed there; and so distinguished a natural curiosity as the Natural-Bridge, ought to have around it appropriate improvements, which ought to be conducted by a man of correct taste. In your letter to Capt Reid you express an expectation of visiting the Bridge the insuing summer, & spending some time there. It is certainly desirable you should. You can then probably in some way put an end to any uncertainty that may exist as to the corners, & perhaps make some arrangments for having suitable improvments made; and it is necessary you should be on the ground yourself to enable you to fix upon the plan of those improvments—a work in which the reputation of the state, is in some measure involved.

I am Sir respectfully Yrs

Edw: Graham

RC (MHi); addressed: “Thomas Jefferson Esqr Monticello Favd by Patrick”; endorsed by TJ as received 6 Jan. 1818 from (mistakenly) “New Lexington” and so recorded in SJL.

patrick: Patrick Henry (of Rockbridge County). your patent: TJ’s patent for the 157-acre Natural Bridge tract is dated 5 July 1774 (Vi: RG 4, Virginia Land Office Patent Book, 42:657–8).

1Preceding three words interlined.

2Manuscript: “Bride,” here and two sentences below.

3Manuscript: “Ochitree’s.”

Index Entries

  • Graham, Edward; and improvements at Natural Bridge search
  • Graham, Edward; and survey of Natural Bridge search
  • Graham, Edward; letters from search
  • Greenlee, William; Rockbridge Co. property of search
  • Henry, Patrick (of Rockbridge Co.); and survey of Natural Bridge search
  • Henry, Patrick (of Rockbridge Co.); visits Monticello search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Travels; to Natural Bridge search
  • Monticello (TJ’s Albemarle Co. estate); Visitors to; Henry, Patrick (of Rockbridge Co.) search
  • Natural Bridge, Va.; E. Graham on search
  • Natural Bridge, Va.; survey of search
  • Natural Bridge, Va.; TJ visits search
  • Natural Bridge, Va.; TJ’s patent for search
  • Ocheltree, James; Rockbridge Co. land of search
  • Reid, Samuel McDowell; and Natural Bridge search
  • surveying; and Natural Bridge search