Robert King Carter's Correspondence and Diary

   A Collection Transcribed
        and Digitized
   by Edmund Berkeley, Jr.

List of Letters | About This Collection

Electronic Text Center , University of Virginia Library


Letter from Robert Carter to Colonel Thomas Lee, May 10, 1729

     Robert Carter writes to Colonel Thomas Lee of Westmoreland County, May 10, 1729, concerning land that Lee wishes to acquire "at the falls of Petowmack," noting difficulties with the surveys and the warrants, and hoping that 11 acres can be set aside for his son Charles. He reminds Lee that his quitrents have not been paid for 4 years, and he includes an accouint of what Lee owes.

Letter from Robert Carter to Colonel Thomas Lee, May 10, 1729

-1 -

Corotoman, [Lancaster County, Virginia]     
May the 10th. 1729

Colonel Thos: Lee

Esteemed Sir --

     I have now the Leisure to answer your Favor of the 2d. of
April. The Errors of your Surveyer and your Guide you cannot Expect I am
to be answerable Accountable for.

     I now Send my Account stated I think according to your
Expectation, which upon Payment of to Mr. Meeks I order him to deliver
your Deed to whom I now Send it,

     Please to allow me to Say the force of your reasoning
about your Entry of Land at the falls of Potomac is beyond my under= Compre=
standing hension to Comprehend You had a warrant for 150 Acres Circumscribed be=
[t] wee [n] your own two tracts the very words of your warrant, there is a 150 Acres
[. . .] if you resolve to s Insist upon it and there is 11 Acres lying upon
[Major Tu] bervile's Land, to Supply a Small part of my Sons warrant that bears
[the same] date with yours, Certainly no reasoning can be convincing that
in your Grant these 11 Acres Should be Acq [. . .] Included and my Sons --
Warrant Entirely fruitless. As I must do you Justice I am Sure you have
quantity Enough to think I Should be very blameworthy to deny it to my
own Son,

     The warrants you write for are of a very loose nature and not to
be understood where they are to lie Mr. Thomas tells me Pearson has Several
Ps [Parcells] of Land upon the North run, upon which of these and upon which Side of the
side of the [sic ] Tract is not Intelligible and there are Several warrants already out Join
ing upon Pearsons lines, Reads Entry is but little better . . . understand Plainer & I
can tell you Mr. Warner has warrants in his hands upon the [ . . . ] of Colonel Page and my Sons for the taking up all the Lands
that are ungranted upon the branches of Difficult run Horsepen run and

-2 -

toward McCartys Sugarland Tracts, which would have been Surveyed
before now if Warner had not been out of the way when my Son Charles
was last up, and will have a place before any younger warrants, how=
ever I Send you the 2 warrants you desire to take their fate My fees for every Entry and warrant
are 15/ which you [illegible] order me Should be charged to your Accot,

     You will please to pardon me when I put you in mind tht.
you hold 3184 Acres of Land that you owe Quitrents for for 4 Years that do not at least for these
appear to me to be paid for ever Since the Grant, I am

     I Enclose to you 2 Commissions for Captain McCarty and
Captain Allerton with blanks for the Subalterns, I am
Your most

                  Your most Obedient humble Servant

     Colonel Thomas Lee                                                             Debtor --

To Compo: of 7520 Acres of Land at 10/Sterling per 100 Acres -- -- -- -- 39:12" --
To Office fees -- 275 at 1 penny -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --         1" 2"11

     now if you please to pay the money in bills of Exchange I am
willing to allow you 3 bits upon the Pound --

     If you pay in Cash Guineas must go at 21/ other Go [ld at . . .] /
the penny weight cut Gold I must have none. if you pay in Silver every [. . .]
must be 19 penny weight milled money at the British value. 3 bits [ . . . ]
to be deducted and then you will answer your own proposal [ . . . ]
Satisfactory to me

          To his Land in Stafford -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- 2862
          To Ditto in Ditto County -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- 800
     This Land paid for in Westmoreland -- -- -- -- -- -- -- 3662
     Granted in Stafford by me January 15th. 1724/5 -- -- -- 3184
     This Land has never paid Quitrents yet -- --


Source copy consulted: Robert Carter Letter Book, 1727 April 13-1728 July 23, Carter Family Papers, Virginia Historical Society, Richmond.

Robert Carter generally used a return address of "Rappahannock" for the river on which he lived rather than "Corotoman," the name of his home, on his correspondence, especially to merchants abroad. The county and colony have been added for clarity to the heading on the draft.

[1]Thomas Lee (1690-1750) of Westmoreland County was the son of Richard Lee II, and nephew of Edmund Jenings; he would build "Stratford," and succeed Carter on the Council. For a good article on Thomas Lee, see "Thomas Lee of Stratford 1690-1750" by Jeanne A. Calhoun on Stratford plantation's website. ( Burton J. Hendrick. The Lees of Virginia: Biography of a Family. [Boston: Little Brown, 1935]. pp. 48, 51, etc. )

[2] James Thomas was surveyor of Lancaster County, and after 1727, of Westmoreland County. In 1736, he would be one of the surveyors involved in the work of the commission to determine the bounds of the Northern Neck proprietary. (Brown. Virginia Baron. . . . pp. 83, 92. See Carter to Peter Beverley, 1727 December 14. )

[3] Carter may refer to what is called today the north fork of Broad Run. It runs across northwest across today's Prince William County after it leaves Lake Manassas. ( Alexandria Drafting Company. Regional Northern Virginia. [Alexandria, VA: Alexandria Drafting Company, 2002.] pp-. 80, 81, 84. Coverage of Fairfax, Fauquier, Loudoun, and Prince William counties.)

[4] John Warner was the surveyor of King George County in 1727; he laid off the town of Falmouth in 1728. Later he worked for Lord Fairfax, and prepared an important map of his holdings. (Harrison, Landmarks of Old Prince William , 626-628. )

[5] Difficult Run is a stream located in today's Fairfax County flowing into the Potomac River southeast of Bear Island, and running roughly south and southwest from that point. ( Alexandria Drafting Company. Regional Northern Virginia. [Alexandria, VA: Alexandria Drafting Company, 2002.] pp. 15, 18, 19. )

[6] Horsepen Run is a branch of Broad Run and lies partly in today's Fairfax County, and also in Loudoun County running along the eastern and northern sides of Dulles Airport. ( Alexandria Drafting Company. Regional Northern Virginia. [Alexandria, VA: Alexandria Drafting Company, 2002.] pp. 12, 16-17, 151. )

[7] Sugarland Run flows north into the Potomac River in modern Loudoun County north of the town of Herndon. ( Alexandria Drafting Company. Regional Northern Virginia. [Alexandria, VA: Alexandria Drafting Company, 2002.] pp. 136, 145. )

[8] Quit rent was the term used for "a (usually small) rent paid by a freeholder . . . in lieu of services which might otherwise be required; a nominal rent paid (esp. in former British colonial territories to the Crown) as an acknowledgement of tenure," in this case, to the proprietors of the Northern Neck. Carter as the proprietor's agent, collected these payments. ( Oxford English Dictionary Online . Oxford University Press. )

[8] Willoughby Allerton (1664-1724) was a prominent citizen of Westmoreland County where he was burgess, sheriff, and militia officer. ( Allerton Genealogical Data and McIlwaine. Executive Journals of the Council. . . . , 3[1705-1721]: 92,146,381,420. )

[9] A bill of exchange is a kind of check or promissory note without interest. It is used primarily in international trade, and is a written order by one person to pay another a specific sum on a specific date sometime in the future. If the bill of exchange is drawn on a bank, it is called a bank draft. If it is drawn on another party, it is called a trade draft. Sometimes a bill of exchange will simply be called a draft, but whereas a draft is always negotiable (transferable by endorsement), this is not necessarily true of a bill of exchange. (See "Bill of Exchange" in the online Dictionary of Financial Scam Terms: the Truth vs. the Scam. )

[10] Milled money is "a coin or coinage: made by mill machinery; coined or struck in a mill and press (now hist.); (hence) having uniform edges marked by machine, esp. with a repetitive ribbed pattern." ( Oxford English Dictionary Online . Oxford University Press. )

[11] "Applied in the Southern States of N. America, in the West Indies, etc., to small silver coins forming fractions of the Spanish dollar, or (when these are obsolete) to their value in current money. . . . In the eighteenth century the bit was generally the old Mexican real = of a dollar or about 6d. sterling; later values assigned are a half pistareen or of a dollar, of a dollar, and (in some colonies) the value of 1d. sterling." ( Oxford English Dictionary Online )

This text, originally posted in 2005, was revised February 20, 2015, to add footnotes and strengthen the modern language version text.