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 Alderman [Micajah] Perry, September 10, 1731

     Robert Carter writes to London merchant Alderman [Micajah] Perry, September 10, 1731, to cover a bill of lading (not present) for tobacco, and commenting that tobacco has been harvested but the corn crop is ordinary. He orders a pair of Cologne millstones for a mill he is building at Rippon Hall, and reminds Perry of his earlier orders for Madeira and pipe tobacco. He has read Perry's "friendly" letter to Judith (Carter) Page, and hopes that the "Irish stockings" he has ordered for the Page "people" will arrive before winter.

Letter from Robert Carter to Alderman [Micajah] Perry, September 10, 1731

-1 -

Rappahannock, [Lancaster County, Virginia]

Sepr. 10. 1731

Alderman Perry

Sir --

     I have little to say to you at this time Captain Wills
went down York River without calling upon Mrs. Page he left
bills of Lading for 15 hogsheads of tobacco which came not to hand until
he was gone Herein send you a bill of Lading for it.

     Our crops are now in the house what to say of
them I dont know most parts complain of a drought our corn
fields are generally Very Ordinary and it is the Opinion of a great
many we shall not Exceed what was made last Year for my
own part I have no Prospect of doing of it the Countrys so very
much Expanded and we have been so Often deceived in Our guesses
that I shall say no more about it As for our Mine adventures
we had a little run of hopes raised about three or four ton [s]
of good Ore which We send to Mr. Athawes the vein is gone out
and Our hopes flag upon it

     I am building a mill at Rippon in York
River I desire you will send me in in one of Your Ships into York
a pair of Cologne Millstones to be landed at Rippon hall I would
have them four foot and An inch Over with a frog and a
Spindle proper for a trib mill as we call them I shall want no
to her I hope you will remember to Order me two pipes
of Wine by Your ship that calls at Madeira You have charged
me freight at 40 Shillings . Per pipe Sterling I should have paid it here
at currentcy And I also hope you will not forget to send me a box of
Pipe tobacco

     I have seen your letter to Mrs. Page Via Maryland
in Answer to one she Wrote in March -- it is indeed a very friendly one

-2 -

and from it I conceive good hopes that business may run in=
different Smooth -- it is Admirable what became of mine &
my Sons letters which we wrote a month before just After the
funeral Colonel Pages people are entirely without Irish Stockings
we wrote an early letter to you desiring a Supply by the first Oppor
tunity I wish they may be [in] time enough with us for the poor people
against the inclemency of the Winter I am

                   Your most humble Servant

Per Belcher


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.

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] Captain Peter Wills commanded the Booth in 1723-1724, a ship belonging to merchant Thomas Colmore of London (see Carter's letter to Colmore of January 20 and February 15, 1724), and the Amity, a vessel of 500 tons and 21 men, in 1727-1729. He is mentioned in Carter's diary in 1723. ( Survey Report 6800 summarizing Adm. 68/194, and Survey Report 6801 summarizing Adm. 68/195, Virginia Colonial Records Project, Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library, University of Virginia. )

[2] A bill of lading is "an official detailed receipt given by the master of a merchant vessel to the person consigning the goods, by which he makes himself responsible for their safe delivery to the consignee. This document, being the legal proof of ownership of the goods, is often deposited with a creditor as security for money advanced." ( Oxford English Dictionary Online . Oxford University Press. )

[3] 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. (Morton. Robert Robert Carter of Nomini Hall. pp. 18-19; and Harrison. Landmarks. . . . p. 342. )

[4] Rippon Hall had been Edmund Jening's estate in York County which he had acquired in 1687 from John and Unity West when it was named "Poplar Neck." Jenings's bad financial circumstances forced him to mortgage the property to Carter who eventually acquired title to it. ( "Notes and Queries." William and Mary Quarterly. 2[Apr. 1894]: 270-278. )

[5] Millstones have been prepared since Roman times in the areas around the German city of Cologne. ( Charles Howell. "Millstones: An Introduction." )

[6] An American glossary of mill terms does not include "frog." On a British glossary , there appears "frog box" which is defined as "used to transfer powder from Glazing Drum to barrel."

[7] The spindle "is the shaft on which the runner millstone rotates." ( Theodore R. Hazen & Pond Lily Mill Restoration.s"A Glossary of Mill Terms.")

[8] Carter calls his new mill a "trib mill," a term not used in England as mill historians there are not familiar with the usage. It seems to have been used in the colonies to refer to a mill on a tributary stream; a Google search today shows a number of communities with "trib mill roads."

[9] By the term "mill brasses," Carter meant the bearings, and Mildred Cookson thinks "The brasses referred to in the letter,-where it says these will not be needed-were usually packing brasses, and not bearings." Packing brasses were "the three brasses forming the bearing or collar (in the centre of the bedstone) for the runner stone." (See the "Mills Archive" online ; and Email, March 9, 2016, to the editor. Ms. Cookson is a "Mills Archive [Great Britain] Trustee and a traditional water miller of 30 years."

109] A pipe is "a large container of definite capacity for storing solids or liquids, such as meat, fish, or oil. Now: spec. a large cask for storing wine or cider." Wikipedia, citing a book by Ronald E. Zupco, states that a pipe was half a tun which was "a large vat or vessel, most often holding 252 wine gallons," meaning a pipe was roughly 126 gallons of wine. ( Oxford English Dictionary Online . Oxford University Press and Ronald E. Zupko. A Dictionary of Weights and Measures for the British Isles: The Middle Ages to the Twentieth Century . [Memoirs of the American Philosophical Society , 1985, 168.] )

[11] Madeira is "a sherry type of fortified wine." ( Oxford English Dictionary Online )

This text, originally posted in 2006, was revised March 24, 2016, to add footnotes and strengthen the modern language version text.