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 Secretary [John Carter,] June 23, 1731

     Robert Carter writes to his son, Secretary [John Carter,] June 23, 1731, concerning the need to bring order to the affairs of the Frying Pan mining company which he hopes can be accomplished during John's anticipated visit; he notes that he has written John Randolph to prepare legal document for that purpose.

Letter from Robert Carter to Secretary [John Carter,] June 23, 1731

-1 -

Corotoman, [Lancaster County, Virginia]

June 23.. 1731

To the Secretary

Dear Sir

     The Affair of our copper mine being hitherto under
very loose Circumstances; and the persons concerned being obliged to
one Another by Preliminary Articles; and no stated Account
yet made up of our Respective charges since the beginning of the und:
ertaking, And our Expenses increasing by Seven men that are now
at work who have Sterling Wages, and must be paid quarterly whether they
earn us any thing or no: I have appointed my sons Robert & Charles
to meet you at the time you propse to be here; that we may Set this intricate Affair upon a better foot And it being absolute
--                                                             ly
--                                                             necessary

-2 -

to have the Assistance of a Lawyer I now write to Mr. Randolph to prepare us proper ins=
truments for all the Necessary Purposes sending him copies of the
contracts that have passed between us and giving him the best information
I can in other Respects: These Instruments I have desired him to
have ready for you against your coming to Town & this letter I design
to meet you there; You know there is an Account in Colonel Pages Ledger
against the Frying pan Company a Copy of this Account we ought to have
also, You are the only proper Person I take that can Personate in behalf
of Colonel Pages Widow & Children And pray let us not Slip this opp
ortunity of bringing this business to An issue when we are together

     Yesterday I met with a very unhappy story relating to Ralph
which in Charity to him I will hope is made Worse of than he
deserves I will tell it as it comes from your brother Charles I had it he [fore] from
Colonel Willis & he from Parson Hughes that the youngster has been
Expelled from Eton Schoo l for Drunkeness is at Present at no --
School and Spends his time in raking about London You may have
the Opportunity of knowing the Extent of this story from Mr. Hughes

     Your brother Robert went from hence today Charles yester
day I hope to have the pleasures of Yours & Your familys company
at the time Appointed, Landon & Mary, Expect to be sharers in the same
Satisfaction I am


Source copy consulted: Letter book, 1728 August-1731 July, Robert Carter Papers (acc. no. 3807), Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library, University of Virginia. There is a nineteenth-century copy of this letter in the Minor-Blackford Papers, James Monroe Law Office and Museum, Fredericksburg, Virginia.

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.

[1] In 1728, Carter, his sons Robert and Charles, and his son-in-law Mann Page, organized a company they named Frying Pan to mine for copper on a tract of some 27,000 acres that Louis Morton describes as lying "near the present boundary of Fairfax and Loudoun counties." Fairfax Harrison wrote that the tract was "on the Horsepen of Broad." Today, there is a Frying Pan Park just east of the border of the Dulles Airport reservation, and there are other things with the name in the area. The company was not successful. (Morton. Robert Robert Carter of Nomini Hall. pp. 18-19; and Harrison. Landmarks. . . . p. 342. )

[3] Williamsburg

[4] Carter uses the word "personate" in the sense of "to represent." ( Oxford English Dictionary Online . Oxford University Press. )

[5] Here Carter seems to mean "the action of going or flowing out; the opportunity to flow or go out; exit; release; outflow; an instance of this," a conclusion, when he writes "an issue." ( Oxford English Dictionary Online . Oxford University Press. )

[6] The only person of the name "Ralph Page" in Carleton's Genealogy . . . was a son of Judith (Carter) and Mann Page born in 1713 whom, she states, died in infancy. This may not be correct, for a Ralph Page, a son of "Mann Page" is listed as a student at the College of William and Mary "Supposed to have been at College before 1720." His numerous brothers are also listed. A "Page" without Christian name is listed as a student at Eton in 1728 on page 258 of The Eton College Register 1698-1752 (Eton: Spottiswoode, Ballantyne, & Co., 1927) which also lists Mann Page (1691-1730) as a student in 1706-1707. The Eton College archivist emailed the editor October 15, 2015, "we have virtually no records of the school at all from that period, in fact our lists of the boys who were even here do not begin until 1792." (Carleton. A Genealogy. . . of Robert Carter. . . . p. 212, and Catalogue of William and Mary College in Virginia. [Williamsburg: J. Hervey Ewing, 1855.] p. 18. )

[7] Henry Willis (1691-1740) founder of Fredericksburg. ((See Paula S. Felder, "A Slow Beginning: 1728-1732." Free Lance Star [Fredericksburg, VA] 15 Mar. 2003, and "Fredericksburg's Origins and a History of Its Neighborhoods"; ; "Descendants of Lewis ap David of Cardiganshire, Wales" ; and "Willis Family." William and Mary Quarterly. 1st ser. 5(1896): 24-27, 171-176; 6(1897): 27-29, 206-214.) )

[8] Thomas Hughes (1691-17??), pastor of Abingdon Parish, Gloucester County, from 1719 to 1744, had received a B.A. degree from Oxford in1713. ( John K. Nelson. A Blessed Company: Parishes, Parsons, and Parishoners in Anglican Virginia, 1690-1776. [Chapel Hill and London: University of North Carolina Press, 2001]. p. 312. )

[9] "Eton College, near Windsor, Berkshire, one of England's largest independent secondary schools and one of the highest in prestige. It was founded by Henry VI in 1440-41 for 70 highly qualified boys who received scholarships from a fund endowed by the king. . . . The other students, called Oppidans . . . have traditionally come from England's wealthiest and most prestigious families, many of them aristocratic. Boys enter Eton about age 13 and continue there until they are ready to enter university." ("Eton College" in Encyclopaedia Brittanica online. 12/9/2014)

[10] Landon Carter (1710-1778) was Carter's seventh child by his second wife, Elizabeth (Landon) Willis. Landon would live at "Sabine Hall," Richmond County, and marry three times, leaving many descendants, some of whom own "Sabine Hall" today. As an adult, he would keep a very interesting and useful diary. A reproduction of a portrait of him may be found on the website of the Foundation of Historic Christ Church. (Greene. The Diary of Colonel Landon Carter. . . . )

This text, originally posted in 2005, was revised October 15, 2015, to add footnotes and strengthen the modern language version text.