Thomas Jefferson Papers

William H. Cabell to Thomas Jefferson, 28 December 1821

From William H. Cabell

Montevideo. Decr 28–1821

Dear Sir.

I beg leave to introduce to your acquaintance, my son in law, Mr Henry Carrington—He is the son of Judge Carrington, the elder, whom you, no doubt, knew. He is one of several gentlemen appointed Commissioners by the Court of Charlotte, for adopting a suitable plan of a Court house for that County; with authority to contract for the building the same—He was with me some time this fall, when he had an opportunity of seeing the plan of a Court House which you had drawn at the request of Colo Yancey of this County—He was so much pleased with it, that he procured it from Colo Yancey, together with your letter to him; and on submitting it to the other Trustees, they unanimously adopted it, and are anxious to execute it without the slightest change—Influenced by your opinion of the capacity and fidelity of the workmen at the University, they have engaged Mr Carrington to go there, and tender the contract to some of them, giving him full powers to conclude the same immediately. He has not, it is true, any power of attorney, formally executed to him, for this purpose; because it was not supposed that his authority would be questioned, or that any doubt would be entertained of the ratification & confirmation, by the other Commissioners, of any contract he may make in their behalf. Mr Carrington would not have undertaken this agency, but for the hope of obtaining from you that information & aid which you had kindly tendered to Colo Yancey. The object of this letter is to solicit that aid for him; and as he is without experience in drawing contracts of this particular kind, he apprehends he will be at great loss in making a suitable description of the style & manner of executing the work—If it would not trespass too much on your time, he would be particularly indebted to you for information on this head.

I pray you to excuse the liberty I have taken, & to be assured that I shall feel most grateful for any aid you may find it convenient to render Mr Carrington—

With the highest respect, I am Dr Sir, your mo. ob— st.

Wm H. Cabell

RC (MHi); endorsed by TJ as received the day it was written and so recorded (with additional bracketed notation: “by mr Carrington”) in SJL. RC (DLC); address cover only; with Dft of TJ to John Farrar, 10 Apr. 1824, on verso; addressed: “Thomas Jefferson Esqr Monticello” by “Mr Carrington.”

William H. Cabell (1772–1853), public official and judge, was a native of Cumberland County and the elder brother of Joseph C. Cabell. He attended Hampden-Sydney College, 1785–89, and the College of William and Mary, 1790–93, receiving its bachelor of law degree. Cabell studied law in Richmond and was licensed to practice in 1794. He represented Amherst County in the Virginia House of Delegates, 1796, 1798–99, and 1802–05, was a presidential elector for TJ in 1800 and 1804, and served as governor of Virginia, 1805–08. From 1808 to 1811 Cabell sat on the General Court. In the latter year he was appointed to the state’s highest tribunal, the Court of Appeals (which became the Supreme Court of Appeals in 1830). He retired from the bench in 1851, having served as the court’s president since 1842. Cabell was a trustee of Hampden-Sydney College, 1809–30, and attended the 1818 Rockfish Gap meeting as a University of Virginia commissioner. He sold his Buckingham County estate in 1822 and lived thereafter in Richmond. Cabell owned seven slaves in 1850 (ANB description begins John A. Garraty and Mark C. Carnes, eds., American National Biography, 1999, 24 vols. description ends ; DAB description begins Allen Johnson and Dumas Malone, eds., Dictionary of American Biography, 1928–36, repr. 1968, 20 vols. in 10 description ends ; DVB description begins John T. Kneebone, Sara B. Bearss, and others, eds., Dictionary of Virginia Biography, 1998– , 3 vols. description ends ; Alexander Brown, The Cabells and their Kin, 2d ed., rev. [1939; repr. 1994], 271–7; General Catalogue of the Officers and Students of Hampden-Sidney College. Virginia. 1776–1906 [(1908)], 16, 46; 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 , 10; 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 , 203, 211, 227, 231, 235, 239; Proceedings of Rockfish Gap Meeting of the University of Virginia Commissioners, printed above at 4 Aug. 1818; DNA: RG 29, CS, Richmond, 1850 slave schedules; Richmond Enquirer, 14 Jan. 1853; gravestone inscription in Shockoe Hill Cemetery, Richmond).

Henry Carrington (1793–1867), planter, was born in Charlotte County. He attended Hampden-Sydney College, 1810–11, and graduated from the College of New Jersey (later Princeton University) in 1814. Carrington served in the Virginia House of Delegates, representing Charlotte County, 1819–20, and Halifax County, 1834–35. He was a trustee of Hampden-Sydney College from 1827 until 1846. Carrington owned 35 slaves in 1820 and 101 in 1850. In 1860 his real and personal estate in Charlotte County were valued at $48,000 and $5,300, respectively, with an additional $6,000 of real estate and $27,450 of personal property in Halifax County, where he died (Brown, Cabells and their Kin, 608–10; General Catalogue of the Officers and Students of Hampden-Sidney College, 17, 51; General Catalogue of Princeton University, 1746–1906 [1908], 125; 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 , 298, 371; DNA: RG 29, CS, Charlotte Co., 1820, 1850 slave schedules, 1860; Halifax Co., 1850, 1860; Richmond Central Presbyterian, 18 Dec. 1867).

Images of the charlotte County courthouse and the design by TJ on which it evidently was based are reproduced elsewhere in this volume.

Index Entries

  • Buckingham County, Va.; new courthouse in search
  • Cabell, William H.; identified search
  • Cabell, William H.; introduces H. Carrington search
  • Cabell, William H.; letter from search
  • Carrington, Henry; and Charlotte Co. courthouse search
  • Carrington, Henry; identified search
  • Carrington, Henry; introduced to TJ search
  • Carrington, Paul search
  • Charlotte County, Va.; courthouse in search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Correspondence; letters of introduction to search
  • Virginia, University of; Construction and Grounds; workmen search
  • Yancey, Charles (1770–1857); and Buckingham Co. courthouse search