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 Benjamin Grayson, July 13, 1731

     Robert Carter writes to Benjamin Grayson of Prince William County, July 13, 1731, to give him instructions about his supervision of work at the Frying Pan mine and its workers whom Carter believes to be lazy and rogues. Apparently Grayson is selling sugar and rum for Carter as well.

Letter from Robert Carter to Benjamin Grayson, July 13, 1731

-1 -

Corotomon, [Lancaster County, Virginia]

13 July 1731

Mr Benja Grayson,

     I have already written you a Long Letter in relation to the miners & given
you full Instructions how to proceed with them. I now come to your Jour=
nal, which I must needs have you continue; but I would have you a little
more particular, that is, to make an Accot of the Holidays & Absent Days --
& pieces of Days of every Miner; for I shall think it but reasonable that they
should discount out of their wages all their misspent Time. We pay them
for Holidays & Saturdays & Saturdays in the Afternoon as well as for other
working Days If you make out ths accot monthly, it will be easy upon a slight
view to cast up how many misspent Days each Man is to accot for as for
Hawes & Brunton, I look upon them in another Manner our Servants --
as I have said enough to you of them already. I herewith send you a Copy
of a letter signed by Brunton, Honey, Whitford & Haweis, that you may see what
Rogues they are; & what Fools Whitford & Honey are to let the other two
shelter themselves under the Character that they brought with them from
Falmouth. Howeis & Brunton were fellows hired in London . Idle --
Villains that were in want of Bread.

     I have overhauled your several accots & find nineteen pounds
& a Quarter of Sugar, thirty gallons of Rum disposed of. If I remember right I
ordered the sugar not to be sold for less than ten pence. The Rum, considering
the great Loss, is not dear. I sent you forty Gallons & you have sold but thirty
but certainly, if it came safe to you, you might have drawn it off with less
Loss. By your Accot you have the greater part of the sugar by you still --
I shall go nearby the Schooner to adventure another Cask of rum to you --
to try if you can make a better hand another time. I think you give
a very Strange Accot of the Expence of the Carpenter's time I can think of nothing
more, that they have done since the Barn, but getting the Barrel Stuff --

-2 -

some stuff for Timbering the Holes & a little sawing, for a great many
months together, & now you tell me they have three weeks sawing still
Pray let me have them forthwith to Building for my son. If there would
want a Tobacco house at Cub Run for the Crop, you had best set them to do that --
first. You should continue to set that house, where there is a large Quantity of good
Land round; however contriving that it may stand so near to the Quarter to be of
usefulness to it. I believe there wants a negro Quarter there as much as anything
Certainly, if they are no better employed than they have been, we must ex=
pect nothing at all from their Work. Neale is a very Idle Rogue; you
should give him a Great deal of Drubbing, & make him stand in fear of
you. The negroes surely must spent a great deal of their Time in
making Pails & Piggins & Churns for Merchandizing Manuel tells
me the smith does a great many Jobs for the neighbours. I hope he does --
not work for nothing. He can never be employed at third of his Time
in the work of the mine. I shall endeavour to supply you by the schooner &
am your Friend -- --


Source copy consulted: Letter book, 1731 July 9-1732 July 13 , Robert Carter Papers (acc. no. 3807), Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library, University of Virginia. There is a 19th-century transcript of the letter in the Minor-Blackford Papers, James Monroe Law Office and Museum, Fredericksburg, Virginia.

The county and colony have been added for clarity to the heading on this draft.

[1] Benjamin Grayson was, according to Fairfax Harrison, "one of the earliest of the Scots merchants to be established on Quantico, where Dumfries was to arise." He was appointed a justice of Prince William County in November 1731. (Harrison. Landmarks. . . . pp. 156 and McIlwaine. Executive Journals of the Council. . . . , 4[1721-1739]: 256. )

[2] In 1728, Carter, his sons Robert and Charles, and his son-in-law Mann Page, organized a company 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. From this letter it is apparent that Carter had hired Grayson to supervise the work being done at the mine. (Morton. Robert Robert Carter of Nomini Hall. pp. 18-19; and Harrison. Landmarks. . . . p. 342. )

[3] mines

[4] Cub Run lies in today's Loudoun and Fairfax counties, rising in the southern portion of the Dulles Airport reservation, and running more or less south, emptying into Bull Run. It was the original boundary between the two counties. ( Alexandria Drafting Company. Regional Northern Virginia. [Alexandria, VA: Alexandria Drafting Company, 2002], pp. 16, 23, 30,151; and Harrison. Landmarks. . . . Map of Old Prince William" before p. 351. )

[5] A piggin is "a (small) pail or similar vessel, esp. a wooden one with one stave longer than the rest serving as a handle. . . ." ( Oxford English Dictionary Online . Oxford University Press. )

[6] William Manuel, one of Carter's servants.

This text, originally posted in 2006, was revised January12 , 2016, to add footnotes and strengthen the modern language version text.