A Collection Transcribed
by Edmund Berkeley, Jr.
List of Letters
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, University of Virginia Library
Letter from Robert Carter to Richard Hickman, September 17, 1729
Robert Carter writes toWilliamsburg resident Richard Hickman, September 17, 1729, to ask for Hickman's assistance in protecting his rights in his house there because his tenant, Dr. Lewis Contesse, has recently died owning Carter many years' rent.
Letter from Robert Carter to Richard Hickman,
September 17, 1729
[Corotoman, Lancaster County, Virginia]
Sep. 17. 1729
Mr Richard Hickman
I have this day heard by Mr Stagg
that Lewis Contesse
is lately dead, that his Widow is removed has left all his Goods & has
locked up into the House, & as she says for me He owed me on the
ninth of August last for seven Years Rent at eight pounds per Annum of --
which he has paid me but eight pounds fifteen shillings so that there
remains due to me forty seven pounds five Shillings, this I can make --
appear by a Writing under his Hand to which Mr Attorney
I cannot think of any person so proper to be of use to me in this
Matter as yourself. Rents are a Debt so sacred a Nature that I think
the Law will allow them to be served before any others. The Widow is ordered to
have removed none of her Husbands Goods, leaving them for me to be
served out of them. I desire you would take Advice what Method is
proper for you to proceed in. To be sure the Goods ought to be valued,
My Request is, & I do hereby empower you to act for me in all Respects
as fully as if I were present
It seems there is a Woman & her Daughter that have pos=
sessed themselves of my Kitchen, & have been desired by Mr Contesse
to take Care of my dwelling House. I must leave it to you either to continue
these people there or else if you can meet with a person whom you like
better to place there in the Room to remove them. The Furniture in
my dwelling House cost me above fifty pounds Sterling . The Care of them
& the Housing, I am mighty desirous should be put into the hands of
some honest Body. Your kindness in the Affair will very much oblige
Your Friend &
Source copy consulted:
Robert Carter Letter Book, 1727 April 13-1728 July 23, Carter Family Papers, Virginia Historical Society, Richmond.
The name of Carter's home, "Corotoman," the county, and colony have been added for clarity to this unheaded draft.
 Richard Hickman (d. 1732) had been deputy clerk of Middlesex County in 1709. After Governor Hugh Drysdale's death, the Council appointed him to manage the Governor's house and its gardens. His name appears a number of times in the Council minutes as he was the doorkeeper, and as he took out land patents. From Carter's letter to William Robertson 1727 July 15, in which he complains that "Mr. Hickman is very dilatory with his probatted Administrations," it seems that Hickman must have done other work for the colonial government. (Edward W. James. "Libraries in Colonial Virginia." William and Mary Quarterly.
3[1,#4, Apr. 1895]:248-51 for Hickman's inventory recorded 1732 May 15 listing many books; "Notes from the Journal of the House of Burgesses, 1712-1726." William and Mary Quarterly.
21[1,#4, April 1913]:257 mentions his being Council doorkeeper; "Notes from the Journal of the House of Burgesses, 1727-1734, William and Mary Quarterly.
22[1, #1, July 1913]:54,56-58, mentions his being clerk of the Committee of Propositions and Grievances; and McIlwaine. Executive Journals of the Council. . . .
 "Dr. Lewis Contesse lived and practised medicine in Williamsburg during the first quarter of the 18th century. His daughter, married John Tyler. Contesse was a French Huguenot." (Mary A. Stephenson. "Robert Carter House
Historical Report, Block 30-2 Building 13 Lot 333, 334, 335." [Colonial Williamsburg Foundation Library Research Report Series-1604. Colonial Williamsburg Foundation Library, 1956 . Williamsburg, Virginia. 1990])
 Carter owned property in Williamsburg from early in his life. "Carter was one of the trustees or feoffees of the city [from 1705], appointed to assign lots." He sold a lot in 1718 to Edmund Jenings, and owned a house there that he bequeathed in his will to his son George. Because early records are missing, it is not certain that this is the property designated today by Colonial Williamsburg as the Carter-Saunders House, but it probably is the one in which Dr. Contesse had been living. (Mary A. Stephenson. "Robert Carter House
Historical Report, Block 30-2 Building 13 Lot 333, 334, 335." [Colonial Williamsburg Foundation Library Research Report Series-1604. Colonial Williamsburg Foundation Library, 1956. Williamsburg, Virginia. 1990]
This text, originally posted in 2005, was revised June 18, 2015, to strengthen the footnotes and the modern language version text.