Thomas Jefferson Papers

Samuel Leake to Thomas Jefferson, 28 February 1821

From Samuel Leake

Richmond Febuary 28th 1821—

D. Sir

dureing the life time of my Grandfather Mask Leake (of Abbemarle County) he made me a gift to a claim of Millitary Land which he1 purchased of a soldier by the nam of Geo. Malcome who faugtht at the battle of the meddows under Washington in the year 1754 It appears from examineing the registers office that on the 15th day of December 1772 In grant to savage and others of 28627 Acres of Land on the Ohio river this Malcome is one of the Grantees, now the object of my Trowbleing you is that my Grandfather when he purchased the claim of Malcom he took a receipt for the money expressive of the Object for which he paid it &c my Grandfather in his life time told me that Malcome and himself some short time after the purchase went to Albemarle court with a view, to make a transfer of the Title to the Land by Deed or acknowledment in court of the purchase or something of the kind by which to transfer the title in the best possible manner the nature of the case would admit of—If I mistake not he said you were at the time the presideing member of the bench and that you recommended to them to wait till the Grant or pattent Ishued when they might make a formal conveyance by Deed &c which advice was intended to be pursued but Malcome died or went off or something of the kind—That the Troublesome times came on or rather continued and was then succeeded by the revolution this circumstance braught about—and put off his further attention to this business for a great Lapse of years and he being naturally somewhat delitary never saught farther into the subject—some year or two before his death, which took place sept 1813. he made me a gift of the claim to the Land and papers relating thereto &c—the matter has been neglected by me untill a short time past seeing a decree of the chancery court for the2 stanton district. Malcome name mentioned &c. and on examination of the registirs office finding him one of the Grantees and further understanding that there has been claims of a less auspicious nature established and recollecting to have heard my Grandfather relate the above named circumstances relating to you It accured to me to write you requesting you to recur to in memmory and say if you could recollect the circumstances, If the multiplisity of public business and varied senes through which you have passed have not eraced the recollection from your mind, your answer to this after trying to turn your memmory to the subject will be thankfully received and gratefully acknowledged by   Your Ob st.

Samuel Leake

P.S. I hope the liberty taken by one who has no personal acquaintanc with you, in the above request will need no farther apology than the circunstances themselvs presnt

S. Leake

RC (MHi); addressed: “Thomas Jefferson Esqr Charlottesville Albemarle County Va” by “mail”; franked; postmarked Richmond, 5 Mar.; endorsed by TJ as received 8 Mar. 1821 and so recorded in SJL.

Samuel Leake (1790–1858), innkeeper and farmer, was born in Albemarle County and lived in Richmond by 1820. He purchased a tavern and farm at Rockfish Gap in 1826. The property was known as the Mountaintop Hotel when Leake sold it in 1858. In the 1850 census he is listed as an Augusta County farmer with landholdings valued at $2,965. At his death Leake resided in Henrico County and owned real estate and personal property worth over $44,000, including twenty-four slaves (George Warren Chappelear, Families of Virginia [1932–34], 1:23, 33–4; Woods, Albemarle description begins Edgar Woods, Albemarle County in Virginia, 1901, repr. 1991 description ends , 249; Augusta Co. Deed Book, 45:443–8, 48:409–10, 78:167–8; Richmond Enquirer, 2 Feb. 1836, 15 June 1852; DNA: RG 29, CS, Augusta Co., 1850; Richmond Daily Dispatch, 28 Dec. 1858; Richmond City Circuit Court Will Book [Common Law], 1:398–9, 459–61).

On 23 Dec. 1772 George Washington wrote a public letter to William Rind, the editor of the Williamsburg Virginia Gazette, announcing that officers and soldiers of the 1st Virginia Regiment, including Private George Malcomb (malcome), who had enlisted prior to the 1754 Battle of Fort Necessity (also known as the Battle of the Great Meadows [meddows]) could file land claims under Lieutenant Governor Robert Dinwiddie’s 1754 proclamation. A survey of 28627 acres was patented to John Savage, from which the regiment’s privates were each allotted 400 acres (Washington, Papers, Colonial Ser., 9:143–8). Beginning on 28 Dec. 1820, the Richmond Enquirer advertised “VALUABLE LAND FOR SALE” along with the Superior Court of Chancery’s 21 July 1820 decree that money be collected from Malcomb and the several other patentees to cover fees recently incurred in surveying the large tract. Delinquent lots were to be sold at auction.

1Manuscript: “he he.”

2Manuscript: “the the.”

Index Entries

  • Dinwiddie, Robert; as lieutenant governor of Va. search
  • Fort Necessity, Battle of (1754) search
  • French and Indian War search
  • Leake, Mask search
  • Leake, Samuel; identified search
  • Leake, Samuel; land claim of search
  • Leake, Samuel; letter from search
  • Malcomb, George search
  • newspapers; WilliamsburgVirginia Gazette search
  • Revolutionary War; mentioned search
  • Richmond Enquirer (newspaper); prints court rulings search
  • Rind, William search
  • Savage, John search
  • Superior Court of Chancery for the Staunton District search
  • Virginia; land claims of veterans from search
  • Virginia Gazette (Williamsburg) search
  • Washington, George; as army commander search