Thomas Jefferson Papers

John V. Henry (for Patrick Henry [of Rockbridge County]) to Thomas Jefferson, 25 April 1819

From John V. Henry (for Patrick Henry [of Rockbridge County])

Lexington April 25th   1819


by request of my Brother Patrick Henry I write to inform you of his Dissagreeable situation respecting the house in which he lives. by your permision after your land was run by Mr Grahan & Mr Douthat he built him the house mention within a hundred & fifty yards of the Bridge and is now theatend by oltletree ares of haveing it taking from him to which he has devoted two years laber but he is satisfied in hopeing of seeing you soon he would come to your house but being so bisy plowing on the place Joining your land which he has rented prevents his comeing.

All1 best Your obedient Servant
for Patrick Henry
Jno. V. Henry

RC (MHi); addressed: “Thomas Jefferson Esqr Monticello Albemarle Va”; franked; postmarked Lexington, 27 Apr.; endorsed by TJ as a letter from John V. Henry received 1 May 1819 and so recorded in SJL.

John V. Henry (b. ca. 1799), educator, was a brother of TJ’s caretaker at Natural Bridge, Patrick Henry (of Rockbridge County). The son of a manumitted slave, he was born free in Westmoreland County, and by 1817 he had followed his elder sibling to the Shenandoah Valley. Henry settled in Lexington, where he was a custodian of buildings and grounds at Washington College (later Washington and Lee University) by 1840. A Methodist and a leading member of the free black community, he purchased and emancipated his enslaved wife and children in 1845. Henry owned two draft animals and a four-wheeled carriage valued at $75 in 1849. Listing his occupation as teacher, he immigrated to Liberia with his family early the following year. On his arrival in the West African nation Henry established a mercantile firm, but he reportedly died soon thereafter (Marie Tyler-McGraw, An African Republic: Black & White Virginians in the Making of Liberia [2007], 58–9, 145–6; Rosemary Brana-Shute and Randy J. Sparks, eds., Paths to Freedom: Manumission in the Atlantic World [2009], 372–3; Westmoreland Co. Deeds and Wills, 21:178; Vi: RG 48, Personal Property Tax Returns, Rockbridge Co., 1817, 1849; DNA: RG 29, CS, Rockbridge Co., 1830; Rockbridge Co. Deed Book, Y:280; African Repository, and Colonial Journal 26 [1850]: 103–6).

oltletree ares: James Ocheltree’s heirs.

1Preceding this word, Henry canceled “Close.”

Index Entries

  • Douthat, Robert; and survey of Natural Bridge search
  • Graham, Edward; and survey of Natural Bridge search
  • Henry, John V.; and P. Henry (of Rockbridge Co.) search
  • Henry, John V.; identified search
  • Henry, John V.; letter from search
  • Henry, Patrick (of Rockbridge Co.); as tenant at Natural Bridge search
  • Henry, Patrick (of Rockbridge Co.); letter from search
  • Henry, Patrick (of Rockbridge Co.); rents land adjoining Natural Bridge search
  • Natural Bridge, Va.; survey of search
  • Ocheltree, James; heirs of search
  • surveying; and Natural Bridge search