Thomas Jefferson Papers

John F. Cocke to Thomas Jefferson, 1 May 1821

From John F. Cocke

Powhatan May 1st 1821—

Dr sir,

some years ago you had a mortgage on an estate in Goochland known by the name of B. Dam, it was sold for your Benefit and purchased by Wm Bentley for the representatives of Wm Ronald late of this County—the object of this Communication, is to be informed if you have receiv’d from Bentley the money due you from the sale, If so be so good as to give me the most speedy information, as your acknowledgement is necessary to the perfection of my rights;—notwithstanding the open and avowed intention of Colo Bentley that he was making the purchase for the legatees of Wm Ronald, he use’d it for his own purposes and gave Mr Wickham a mortgage on the plantation in question, Suit was instituted, and the orphans of Said Ronald recoverd the land By a Chancery Decision and that Mr James Pleasants should Convey to them if Satisfactory evidence is produced to him, of the money being paid, for which the land was sold. Your immediate attention to this will add a personal favour, to the Many I feel and gratefully acknowledge in common with the rest of yr Countrymen

John F. Cocke

PS. Direct to Goochland Ct. House

RC (MHi); endorsed by TJ as received 6 May 1821 and so recorded in SJL; with unrelated calculation by TJ on verso.

John Field Cocke (1784–1856), farmer, was a native of Powhatan County who married Anne Waller Ronald. He served as a captain of militia cavalry during the War of 1812 and supported Martin Van Buren’s presidential campaign in 1836. In 1850 Cocke owned fifteen slaves and real estate valued at $5,000 (William Ronald Cocke’s 1968 membership application in Sons of the American Revolution archive, Louisville, Ky.; “The Cocke Family of Virginia,” VMHB description begins Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, 1893–  description ends 4 [1897]: 434; Stuart Lee Butler, A Guide to Virginia Militia Units in the War of 1812 [1988], 172, 250, 269; Richmond Enquirer, 20 Feb. 1836; DNA: RG 29, CS, Powhatan Co., 1850, 1850 slave schedules; Powhatan Co. Will Book, 15:9; Petersburg Daily Express, 9 Feb. 1856).

b. dam: Beaverdam. For TJ’s earlier involvement in this land sale, see TJ to James Pleasants, 26 Jan. 1810, and enclosure.

Index Entries

  • Bentley, William (of Virginia); account with TJ search
  • Bentley, William (of Virginia); and Beaverdam lands search
  • Cocke, John Field; and Beaverdam lands search
  • Cocke, John Field; identified search
  • Cocke, John Field; letter from search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Business & Financial Affairs; account with W. Bentley search
  • Pleasants, James; and W. Ronald’s estate search
  • Ronald, William; heirs of search
  • Wickham, John; and Beaverdam lands search
  • Willis Creek tract (Cumberland Co.); title to lands at search