Thomas Jefferson Papers

Robert Anderson to Thomas Jefferson, 22 May 1819

From Robert Anderson

Williamsburg 22d May 1819.


Among the papers of my deceased friend Mary Stith, who departed this life on the 21 January 1816, and who appointed me her sole Executor, I found a letter from you to her, bearing date 7th March 1811, in which mention is made of some lands in albermarle County in which her father, yours, and others were, and are interested. For the benefit of Miss Stith’s residuary legatee, may I beg the favour of you to advise me what steps, if any, have been taken with respect to the lands spoken of? My testatrix, who survived her brother and sisters, all of whom I understand died without issue, was, I suppose, solely entitled to the interests which her father held in the property.

I am, very respectfully, sir,
Yr Obt Servt

Ro: Anderson

(Address to Robert Anderson)

RC (MHi); endorsed by TJ as received 27 May 1819 and so recorded in SJL.

Robert Anderson (1781–1859), businessman and public official, was born in Gloucester County. He worked in the mercantile line in Williamsburg, served as a regimental clerk and adjutant in the Virginia militia, and fought in the War of 1812. Anderson was the mayor of Williamsburg, 1811–12, 1820–21, 1827–28, and 1831. First as a Federalist and then as a Whig, he mounted numerous unsuccessful campaigns for state and federal elective office beginning about 1806, and from the 1830s through the 1850s he was an agent for several insurance companies. In 1850 Anderson’s personal property was valued at $10,000 and included twenty-four slaves. Having been denied legislative permission late in life to emancipate “about a dozen” of his slaves, in his will he ordered eight of them freed. Anderson had sizable landholdings in and near Yorktown, where he died (Anderson Papers [NcD, ViHi, and ViWC]; Anderson Family Papers [NjP]; WMQ description begins William and Mary Quarterly, 1892–  description ends , 1st ser., 12 [1903]: 118; Washington Daily National Intelligencer, 5 July 1813; Richmond Enquirer, 14 June 1839, 22 June 1847, 28 Mar. 1848; DNA: RG 29, CS, York Co., 1850, 1850 slave schedules; petition by Anderson, 18 Dec. 1855 [Vi: RG 78, Legislative Petitions, York Co.]; JHD description begins Journal of the House of Delegates of the Commonwealth of Virginia description ends [1855–56 sess.], 206, 307 [16 Jan., 8 Feb. 1856]; New-York Observer, 10 Feb. 1859; York Co. Will Book, 13:447–51; will filed with Maria Griffin et al. v. Executor of Helen M. Anderson et al. [Vi: James City Co. Chancery Causes, case 1873–005]).

Index Entries

  • Anderson, Robert; as executor of M. Stith search
  • Anderson, Robert; identified search
  • Anderson, Robert; letter from search
  • Jefferson, Peter (TJ’s father); and Limestone Survey search
  • Limestone Survey (Albemarle Co.); TJ’s shares in search
  • Stith, Mary; and Limestone Survey tract search
  • Stith, Mary; family of search
  • Stith, William; and Limestone Survey search