Thomas Jefferson Papers
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Thomas Jefferson’s Deed of Trust of Milton Lands to Philip N. Nicholas and William Nekervis, 11 July 1821

Deed of Trust of Milton Lands to Philip N. Nicholas and William Nekervis

This indenture made on the 11th day of July1 one thousand eight hundred and twenty one, between Thomas Jefferson of Albemarle on the one part and Philip Norborne Nicholas and William Nekervis2 both3 of the city of Richmond on the other part witnesseth that whereas Thomas J. Randolph of the same county of Albemarle4 and Bernard Peyton of the sd city of Richmond5 have made themselves responsible to the Farmer’s bank of Virginia for one sum of 2500.D. and one other6 sum of four thousand Dollars paid by the sd bank on the Notes7 of the sd Thomas, endorsed by the sd Thomas J. and Bernard and may hereafter continue their responsibility by endorsing renewed Notes for the sd sums or parts thereof;8 or may make themselves responsible by endorsing other & future notes of the sd Thomas to the sd bank9 and the sd Thomas being desirous to indemnify the sd Thomas J. and Bernard against all loss & inconvenience by the payment of the sd sums or any part of them,10 hath executed this trust deed. Now this indenture witnesseth that the sd Thomas, in consideration of the premisses, and of the sum of one Dollar to him in hand paid by the sd Philip Norborne and William, hath granted bargained and sold unto the sd Philip Norborne and William their heirs and assigns for ever, and to the survivor of them, the heirs and assigns of such survivor, certain parcels of land in the sd county of Albemarle adjacent to the town of Milton and the Rivanna river, one parcel whereof Begins at the Northwestern11 corner of the sd town, which is a corner also on the backline of the Dower lands of Elizabeth Henderson, thence along the sd backlines Southwestwardly & Westwardly12 to the sd river, and up the same to an antient Chesnut on it’s Southern bank former corner to Bennet Henderson decd and the sd Thomas, thence along the antient dividing lines between the sd Bennet & Thomas to the line of [Eli Alexander,] thence along the lines of the sd Eli, of John Watson, & Martin [Dawson to the b]oundary of the sd town, and thence Westwardly & Northwardly [along the bound]aries of the sd town to it’s Northwest corner aforesd at the Beginning [which parcel co]ntains by estimation seven hundred and eighty one acres: also all the lots of land between the sd town and river, seven in number, now held by the sd Thomas, to wit, the lots distinguished by the numbers 3. 4. 5. 7. 8. 9. 10. which last No 10. corners also at the North West corner of the town at the beginning of the former parcel,13 and which seven lots contain fourteen acres, comprehending the Warehouses of the Milton inspection and making with the other parcel 795. acres. To have and to hold the sd several parcels of 795. acres of land with their improvements and appurtenances to the sd Philip Norborne and William, their heirs and assigns, & to the survivor of them, the heirs & assigns of such survivor for ever.

In trust nevertheless, and for the sole use and purpose that if the sd Thomas his heirs, exrs or admrs shall fail to pay to the sd Farmer’s bank of Virginia, whenever required by the sd bank, the sd sums of14 2500 and15 four thousand Dollars or any part thereof due or to become due16 on the Notes17 aforesd, or on any future note or notes18 which may be given by the sd Thomas19 to the sd bank either20 in renewal or continuation of21 the sd original notes,22 or for any other purpose23 endorsed by the sd Thomas J. and Bernard, or either of them24 that then it shall be lawful for the sd Philip Norborne & William, or either of them, or the survivor of them, or the heirs, exrs or admrs of either, or25 of such survivor (having first advertised the time & place of sale for two months in some newspaper published in Richmond) to sell the aforesd parcels of land for ready money to the highest bidder, and out of the proceeds thereof to pay the aforesd debts interest and all charges of sale, and the overplus, if any, return to the sd Thomas, or his legal representative.26 And the sd Thomas,27 his heirs, exrs & admrs, to the sd Philip Norborne and William their heirs, exrs, or admrs,28 &29 to the survivor and his heirs, exrs and admrs,30 the sd several parcels of land, with their appurtenances31 will for ever warrant and defend. In Witness whereof the sd Thomas32 hath hereto set his hand & seal on the day & year before33 written.

Signed, sealed
and delivered
in presence of
} <Edmund Meeks> Th: Je[fferson]
<Edmund Bacon>
<Samuel Carr>
  William Bankhead
  Nicholas P.34 Trist
  James M. Randolph

FC (MHi); written in TJ’s hand on indented paper and consisting of original MS of March 1821, subsequently adapted by TJ to serve as FC of document as revised and executed 11 July 1821; clipped to remove TJ’s signature and seal, with text missing on recto supplied from Dft; original witness signatures in the hands of Edmund Meeks, Edmund Bacon, and Samuel Carr canceled, with final witness signatures in TJ’s hand; endorsed by TJ: “Peyton Bernard Th:J. to Nicholas et al. Trust for Peyton amended & executed July 14. 21.” Dft (MHi); on a reused address cover from Joseph C. Cabell to TJ; entirely in TJ’s hand, including witnessing signatures of Meeks, Bacon, and Carr; dated Mar. 1821; endorsed by TJ: “Jefferson T. to N. Nicholas & Nekervis } Deed of Trust. exact copy.” MS (MHi); docket sheet in TJ’s hand for one of the preceding texts; on verso of PoC of TJ to William J. Coffee, 26 Sept. 1822; reading “Th: Jefferson to Nicholas & Nekervis } Trust Deed 795 Acres.” Tr (Albemarle Co. Deed Book, 22:379–80); follows FC; in Alexander Garrett’s hand, with his attestation: “In Albemarle County Court Clerks Office the 12th day of July 1821 This Deed of Trust was presented to me in said office and acknowledged by Thomas Jefferson party thereto & ordered to be recorded.” March version enclosed in TJ to Bernard Peyton, 30 Mar. 1821. July version enclosed in Peyton to TJ, 5 July 1821, and TJ to Peyton, [13] July 1821.

Philip Norborne Nicholas (ca. 1776–1849), attorney and public official, was the youngest brother of TJ’s friend Wilson Cary Nicholas. Educated at the College of William and Mary, he went on to study law. Governor James Monroe appointed Nicholas attorney general of Virginia and he served from 1800 until he gave up the post in 1819 to become president of the Farmers’ Bank of Virginia. In 1823 he was named to the state’s General Court, a judgeship he held for the rest of his life. Nicholas successively supported the presidential aspirations of William H. Crawford in 1824 and Andrew Jackson in 1828, and he was a Jacksonian Democrat thereafter. He was a delegate to the Virginia constitutional convention of 1829–30 and supported the new constitution that resulted. At his death in Richmond, Nicholas owned personal property valued at $8,492, including at least sixteen slaves (DAB description begins Allen Johnson and Dumas Malone, eds., Dictionary of American Biography, 1928–36, repr. 1968, 20 vols. in 10 description ends ; William and Mary Provisional List description begins A Provisional List of Alumni, Grammar School Students, Members of the Faculty, and Members of the Board of Visitors of the College of William and Mary in Virginia. From 1693 to 1888, 1941 description ends , 30; PTJ description begins Julian P. Boyd, Charles T. Cullen, John Catanzariti, Barbara B. Oberg, James P. McClure, and others, eds., The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, 1950– , 44 vols. description ends , 31:204–5; Daniel Preston and others, eds., The Papers of James Monroe [2003– ], 4:353–4; Richmond Enquirer, 14 Jan. 1819, 21 Aug., 4 Sept. 1849; Leonard, General Assembly description begins Cynthia Miller Leonard, comp., The General Assembly of Virginia, July 30, 1619–January 11, 1978: A Bicentennial Register of Members, 1978 description ends , 353; Proceedings and Debates of the Virginia State Convention, of 1829–30 [1830], 882; Hugh Blair Grigsby, “Sketches of Members of the Constitutional Convention of 1829–30,” VMHB description begins Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, 1893–  description ends 61 [1953]: 324; Richmond City Hustings Court Will Book, 12:453–60, 13:80–2; gravestone inscription in Shockoe Hill Cemetery, Richmond).

William Nekervis (d. 1837), banker, may have come to Virginia from Philadelphia. He was a bookkeeper at the Bank of Virginia in Norfolk in 1804, and in 1812 he became cashier of the Farmers’ Bank in Richmond, a position he held until 1836. At his death Nekervis freed his one slave, Henry Patterson, and left him $400 out of a total estate valued in excess of $2,600 (Hazard’s Register of Pennsylvania 10 [1832]: 70; Norfolk Gazette and Public Ledger, 4 Sept. 1804; Richmond Virginia Patriot, 20 Oct. 1812; Richmond Enquirer, 12 Aug. 1836; Richmond City Hustings Court Will Book, 7:396–8, 533–41; Lynchburg Virginian, 7 Sept. 1837).

William Bankhead (1795–1873), physician, was the son of TJ’s friend John Bankhead and brother of Charles L. Bankhead, the latter of whom married TJ’s eldest grandchild, Ann C. Randolph. Bankhead inherited Spring Grove, his father’s estate in Caroline County. In 1840 he was living in that county and owned seventy-six slaves. Expressing a desire to move to Missouri, between 1839 and 1851 Bankhead tried several times to sell Spring Grove and adjacent lands totaling approximately 2,500 acres. By 1850 he had relocated to Fredericksburg, where he owned fifty slaves and real estate valued at $25,000. Bankhead moved to Stafford County by 1860, when his personal estate there was valued at $28,000. Three years before his death at Aquia in Stafford County, he owned property there valued at $10,000 (Sarah Travers Lewis Anderson, Lewises, Meriwethers and their Kin [1938], 42; Richmond Enquirer, 21 Mar. 1839, 4 Sept. 1846, 30 May 1851; DNA: RG 29, CS, Caroline Co., 1840, Spotsylvania Co., 1850, 1850 slave schedules, Stafford Co., 1860, 1870; gravestone inscription in Aquia Episcopal Church Cemetery).

Filed with TJ’s papers is an additional memorandum concerning this deed, which reads: “To remove all doubt as to the meaning of the foregoing Deed, I hereby declare that it is meant to extend not only to the note for 4000 dollars for which the said Thomas J. & Bernard are endorsers at the Farmers Bank of Va but to a note of 2500 at said Bank drawn by me endorsed by them, or any which may hereafter be given for a renewal or continuance thereof; and I do agree that this be taken & considered part of the foregoing Deed & deliver it accordingly witness my hand & Seal this day of   1821” (Dft in ViU: TJP-ER; in an unidentified hand; partially dated; with a written representation of a seal at foot of text; endorsed by TJ: “Peyton Bernard”; with TJ’s additional notations beneath endorsement: “Th: Jefferson to Phil. N. Nicholas & William Neckervis” and “July 11. 21. exd deed in trust for Th:J.R. & Bernard Peyton for 781. as + 14 as being the lands bot of Henderson’s heirs to secure them as endorsers of my notes of 2500 + 4000.D. and any further ones they may endorse for me to the Farmer’s bank of Virginia”). This statement was presumably prepared after TJ executed the original version of the above deed in March 1821 and before he decided to incorporate its substance into the revised 11 July 1821 deed rather than execute it separately.

1Reworked from “the   day of March,” with Dft retaining original wording.

2Preceding six words interlined in Dft in place of “Thomas J. Randolph of the same county & Bernard Peyton.”

3Word not in Dft.

4Preceding six words interlined in Dft.

5Preceding six words interlined in Dft.

6Text from “one sum” to this point interlined in place of “the.” Dft: “the.”

7Dft: “note.”

8Text from “and may hereafter” to this point interlined in Dft and cleanly incorporated in FC, where ending is reworked from “sum or a part thereof.”

9Text from “or may make” to this point omitted in Dft and interlined in FC.

10Reworked from “sum or any part of it,” with Dft retaining original wording.

11Reworked in Dft from “South Eastern.”

12Reworked in Dft from “Northwardly & Eastwardly” to “Southwardly & Westwardly.”

13In Dft TJ here canceled “of 781 acres.”

14Reworked from “sum of.” Dft: “sum of.”

15Preceding two words interlined.

16Preceding four words interlined in Dft.

17Reworked from “Note.” Dft: “Note.”

18Preceding two words interlined in Dft.

19Preceding four words interlined in Dft.

20Word omitted in Dft and interlined in FC.

21Reworked in Dft from “in exchange for, or renewal of.”

22Reworked from “note.” Dft: “note.”

23Preceding five words interlined in place of an interlined “or of any other his note to the sd bank,” with original wording interlined and retained in Dft. The earlier interlineation was made before the original execution of the deed in March, because at foot of text of FC, TJ canceled “the words ‘or of any other his note to the sd bank’ interlined before execution.”

24Preceding twelve words interlined in Dft.

25Preceding three words interlined in Dft.

26Tr: “representatives.”

27In Dft TJ here canceled “for himself.”

28Preceding three words interlined in Dft, with “&” instead of “or.”

29Reworked from “or.” Dft: “or.”

30Preceding three words interlined in Dft.

31Preceding three words interlined in Dft.

32Preceding three words interlined in Dft in place of “he.”

33Word interlined in Dft in place of “above.”

34FC: “J.” Tr: “P.”

Index Entries

  • Alexander, Eli; lands of search
  • Bacon, Edmund; witnesses documents search
  • Bankhead, William; identified search
  • Bankhead, William; witnesses documents search
  • Carr, Samuel (TJ’s nephew); witnesses document search
  • Dawson, Martin; and Milton lands search
  • Farmers’ Bank of Virginia (Richmond); TJ’s loan from search
  • Garrett, Alexander; as Albemarle Co. clerk search
  • Henderson, Bennett; lands of search
  • Henderson, Elizabeth Lewis (Bennett Henderson’s wife); property of search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Business &amp; Financial Affairs; loan from Farmers’ Bank of Virginia search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Writings; Deed of Trust of Milton Lands to Philip N. Nicholas and William Nekervis search
  • Meeks, Edmund; witnesses document search
  • Milton, Va.; TJ’s land at search
  • Nekervis, William; identified search
  • Nekervis, William; TJ deeds Milton land to search
  • Nicholas, Philip Norborne; identified search
  • Nicholas, Philip Norborne; TJ deeds Milton land to search
  • Peyton, Bernard; and TJ’s loan from Farmers’ Bank of Virginia search
  • Randolph, James Madison (TJ’s grandson); witnesses document search
  • Randolph, Thomas Jefferson (TJ’s grandson; Jane Hollins Nicholas Randolph’s husband); and TJ’s financial transactions search
  • Rivanna River; and TJ’s Milton land search
  • Trist, Nicholas Philip; witnesses document search
  • Watson, John (1760–1841); lands of search