Robert King Carter's Correspondence and Diary

   A Collection Transcribed
        and Digitized
   by Edmund Berkeley, Jr.

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Electronic Text Center , University of Virginia Library


Letter from Robert Carter to Robert Jones, December 4, 1728

     Robert Carter writes to his manager, Robert Jones of Prince William County, December 4, 1728, to chastise him for his "abundance of words" and lack of action, and to let Jones know that he has a good candidate to replace him. He will give Jones one more year but if Jones is planning to move, he wishes to know at once so that he may hire the candidate. He then turns to the disappointing wheat crop and poor quantities of tallow. He gives specific instructions for the herding of his hogs down from plantation to plantation, noting that he has promised certain of the hands that they may come "down" at Christmas, and they could herd the hogs. He writes of the need to present the deeds for lots in Falmouth to the county court, and hopes that Jones and two other witnesses to the deeds will be present.

Letter from Robert Carter to Robert Jones, December 4, 1728

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[Corotoman, Lancaster County, Virginia]     
Decr. 4th. 1728

Mr Robt Jones

     I am now upon yours of the 7th of November if abundance of
words would Answer the want of Deeds I must Allow you would pass for one
of the best managers I ever had to do with but where there wants performan=
ces this wordy talent is of little value in my esteem I shall only tell you upon
your huge promises I Shall adventure to make a trial of you one year long
[e] r that is to enter into Fresh Articles with you when your last year is up
although I have now the offer of a very good man to come into your place
[who] has behaved himself very well in business of the same nature with
yours And is clear of A Burthensome family which you know is no sm-
all charge to me in yours being so large so that it is very much in consider-
tion of the straights you would be Under that brings me into the humor
of continuing you Another year And therefore if you will be so cheerful &
easy Under a present remove as you seem to hint I am very willing you sho-
uld take your leave of me as soon as you have performed the conditions
of your last years Agreement and this I would have you Advise me of by the
first Opportunity that I may close with the person now Offering himself
of whose both industry and Ability I have a very good Opinion

     I shall now take into consideration the Accot you
send me of the Wheat and other things you tell me of Seven Bushels and
one half I spent which was very great House keeping considering I was so
Much of my time at the Out quarters but that I do not Much mind it
more Concerns me that you have sowed no more certainly there might
have four or five bushels been sowed there as well as At the Other quarters
especially considering How convenient the Wheat there is the crops
at the Other quarters fall a great deal short of what the overseers told me
some of them at Least Sabin talked of a hundred Bushels so did Willia [ms]
at the least and So did Cassety the Butter pots are a pretty many in
number they are most of them but small I wish you had Added the

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weights Upon your Tickets and I wish that the small quantities of butter
made may not be the Occasion of the Loss of several of the Calves several [of]
them were so poor and Small that without a great deal of care const
ant housing and good feeding they will not be wintered Although with
good care I am satisfied they may for from my own Experience this very
year several poor Calves by housing and feeding with the benefit of
the Corn fields are grown to be likely & lusty and no fear of wintering

     The number of Hogs you tell me you reckoned upon to be
fattened at the several quarters amount to 86 Out of these After the over=
seers have their Share some for the people and what will be for your
provision I hope you will be able to Afford me Fifty or at Least near it
And I would have of the best of them too Some meat must be kept for
Hurst while he is at work Upon the Town houses Now I am upon
that Subject it is proper to let you know that I have got a promise of Mr
to get what Fraiming Stuff I have Occasion for off of h [is]
Land for my buildings at the Town which will save a great deal of La [bour]

     The Tallow you send me Down is of very different weights your beef
yielded 31 pounds the RichLand 33 pounds and one half the Park 18 3/4 pounds and the Pop
but 14 1/4 pounds. yours and RichLand is a great deal short of what I
Used to have but Certainly Williams & Sabin have played the rogue
egregiously in their Tallow

     What Hogs I am to have I must have them Drove down to me
and I would have them come in Two parcels as Roger Oxford indeed pro
posed to Me to be the best way its very common to the Southward to drive
Hogs as far they put them into Large enclosures three or four days be=
fore they set off with them and Drive them about with Horses and
then they tell me they manage them with a great deal of ease there are
Several Gentlemen in the way that I dare say would Afford them con
veniencys for a Night As Major Thornton Colonel Smith there is Colonel
Quarter at Nansatico where particular Orders are given to give enter=
tainment . to my Overseers and Hogs then there is the head of
Nomini Next to that my Fieldings and my Morattico Quarters and so down to the
Office these Stages in My thoughts will make the Matter Easy I have
promised Ben and Jacob and the Carpenter boys that they shall come
down this Christmas to see their relations I reckon about that

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time these Hogs will be fit to come away You may Contrive to let the
Carpenters come at the same time and to make them Help down
with the Hogs which will save your sending Others

     I have bought Innis's land the Deeds are executed I had
once intended to send them to you to get them Acknowledged but I was exp
ecting to be up at this Court I thought it more proper to send them to Major
Thornton I have also sent to him mine and my familys Deeds for the town
Lots in Order to their being Acknowledged our best Lawyers Assure me
it is Absolutely necessary to be done three of the Witnesses Appearing and giv=
ing their testimony to the Execution of the Deeds confirms the title and no
thing less will do you that are the Evidences at least three of you I hope will
not fail to Appear at the Court for this purpose and I reckon all that have
bought Lots will be willing to have the same Security

     I hope the Overseers Shelton and Threadkill are with you
before now and roundly at their business I hope they will prove a Couple
of brisk fellows in your next you will be Able to give me a near Account of your
Crops both of corn and Tobacco my crops of Corn here are Considerable Lar
ger even than they were Last year I shall be glad to find yours so too

     I have sent by Charles Brent Murdocks Deed to be delivered
with your Approbation the Charges of it I shall make you Debtor for

     I hope Hurst is upon my Town house Ding dong I have
bought Innis's land for money Am Under no Obligation of building anything
for him


Source copy consulted: Robert Carter Letter Book, 1727 April 13-1728 July 23, Carter Family Papers, Virginia Historical Society, Richmond. This letter was published in Berkeley. "Robert Carter as Agricultural Administrator: . . ." pp. 288-291.

The name of Carter's home, "Corotoman," the county, and colony have been added for clarity to this unheaded draft.

[1] John Hust (or Hurst) was the overseer of "Hamstead Quarter," Stafford County, in the 1732 inventory, supervising sixteen slaves with the assistance of one horse. Hust apparently was a carpenter because Carter mentions his doing carpentry work in various letters. (Carter Papers: An Inventory. . . ." )

[2] The new town of Falmouth was created by the Assembly in February 1727. Carter, Mann Page, Nicholas Smith, William Thornton, John Fitzhugh, Charles Carter, and Henry Fitzhugh the younger were the "directors and trustees." The land chosen for the site of the new town lay in King George County, and deeds would have been recorded in its court records. ( William Waller Hening, The Statutes at Large; Being a Collection of the Laws of Virginia . . . . [Richmond, 1820. reprint, 1969]. IV, 234-39. )

[3] Tallow is "a substance consisting of a somewhat hard animal fat (esp. that obtained from the parts about the kidneys of ruminating animals, now chiefly the sheep and ox), separated by melting and clarifying from the membranes, etc., naturally mixed with it; used for making candles and soap, dressing leather, and other purposes." ( Oxford English Dictionary Online . Oxford University Press. )

[4] Roger Oxford was the overseer at Norman's Ford.

[5] Major William Thornton (d. 1742/43) of King George County. ( King George County Virginia Will Book A-1 1721-1752 And Miscellaneous Notes. [Fredericksburg, VA: Privately Printed, 1978], p. 277. )

[6] Nansatico may be the Nanzatico Indian Path in "Westmoreland County near the King George County line. . . ." ( Miller, Place-Names of the Northern Neck. . . . , 19. )

[7] Enoch Innis inherited this Richmond County property from his father, James, who died in 1709. ( Lucy Jane Brent Palmer, "Charles Brent of Stafford County and Some of His Descendants," Virginia Magazine of History and Biography , 34(1926): 280-85 and 378-84 ; and "Abstracts From Records of Richmond County, Virginia," William and Mary Quarterly , (1)17(1908-09): 176-177, which cites records of Richmond County concerning this will, probated December 25, 1709, as from Will Book 3 ).

[8] Henry Shelton was one of Carter's overseers, and they settled in December 1722 on terms for his employment for the coming year as Carter noted in his diary.

[9] William Threalkill is mentioned in the 1733 inventory of Carter's estate as the overseer at Poplar Quarter, Stafford County. (Carter Papers: An Inventory. . . ." .)

[10] Charles Brent (d. 13 January 1756) of Overwharton Parish, Stafford County, married to Hannah Innes. He acted as collector of quit rents for Carter in the county. .("Matthews-Williams Family Genealogy," is as useful as any on the Brent family whose genealogy is complicated.)

[11] Ding dong means " to ring as a bell, or like a bell" but was also used "in reference to peristent or monotonous repetition" which is what Carter probably meant here. ( Oxford English Dictionary Online . Oxford University Press. )

This text, originally posted in 2004, was revised January 23, 2015, to add footnotes and strengthen the modern language version text.