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 John Carter, February 10,1721

     Robert Carter writes to his son John Carter, February 10, 1721,thenin London, concerning his lease of the Northern Neck proprietary,asking John to clarify with Colonel William Cage, one of LadyFairfax's trustees, whether land grants in the proprietary thatCarter makes must carry only the name of the underage Lord Fairfax,or those of his trustees as well. He turns to the question of theBrent Town grant within the proprietary, the need for a survey of its30,000 acres, and the difficulties that shroud taking up lands therewhen the bounds remain unknown. He asks John to pursue the questionof a survey with Robert Bristow, the current owner of the Brentongrant, and also asks him to contact the heirs of London Alderman JohnJeffreys concerning the 14,000 acres granted to Cadwallader Jones inStafford County that has not been settled, and which has not paidquit rents.

Letter from Robert Carter to John Carter, February 10,1721

-1 -

Rappahannock, [LancasterCounty, Virginia]
Feby. 10th.1720/21

Son John

     The Foregoing was to come by a Bristol man She past
by with [outstop] ping Its necessary, to say something more to You
about the Northern Neck affair, The Power of Atturney [sic] already
Mentiond to You must be had and I must have the Proprietors
Direcs. in whose name theGrantsI make for Lands must
run whether in the LordFairfax's namealone or with the
Addition of Collo. Cage & the other Trustee of My Ladys will

     I have sent to Mr. Perry also Copys [sic] of the Bronton Pattents [sic]
upon perusial of wch. You'l findMy Lord Culpeper in 1686 Grants
to AldermanBristow and others Thirty Thousand Acres of
uncertainLands in the Back Woods at the rent of two Shills:
per a hundred Acres in 1688 he Releases this Rent and only
reserves the acknowledgemt. of a Beaver Skin Yearly in the
First Grant there is a Provisoe for my Lord to Survey in the
Lattr. no notice of any such Provisoe, Brent a long time
ago makes aSettlement upon the Lower part of these lands
soon after hisDeath It was deserted and ever since hath
layn without anyCultivation from any of the Grantees
and the bounds of thisGrant wholly unknown to this day
where they will Extend whichmakes people mightily affra[id]
to takeup back Lands very much to the Damage of the

-2 -

Proprietors and I Should think not at all to the advantage of
those that Claim this Grant for certainly the more the Lands are
Peopled thereabouts the more value will their Estate be of and
besides if Any persons shall take new Grants of the Lands by
Mistake & Should Sett down withtheir familys and Improve make chargable
Improvements thereon `twould bea harsh Case and I believea
Difficult one to turn them of, upon the whole seeingaccord=
=ing to my Thoughts [everybody'sin] terest Should prompt them
to Contribute what in them lyes to give bounds to these Lands
withall possible ExpeditionI cantsee wt. shouldobstruct it I shall do all I can when I receive
direcs. about It, but `twould bebest and Easiest done if both
partys were Consenting and willpay their proportion of the
Charge, You are accquainted withMr. Bristow I believe and
You know where toapply to the Proprietors, I would have You
leave no Stoneunturn'd to gett this business Effected put upon some
Foot or other It would be a mighty Sattisfaction to the people
as well as a benefit to all concernd.

     EsqrJeoffrys holds 14,000 and [odd] Acres of Land in the
backwoods of Stafford County It was never yett [sic] Seated or paid
any Quitt Rents nor are the bounds Certainly known. I would
have You know hismind abt. this Land and where I'm to apply
for my Quitt Rents, As I suppose the Pattent for them is in
the name of Cadwalliter Jones whoconvey'd them over to the
Alderman or Sr. Jeoffrys this is a matter worth looking
After the Rents in my time will come to above four score
pound, I tell Mr. Perry I have instructedYou in all these matters
and You will Ease him of the greatestpart of the trouble


Source copy consulted: Robert CarterLetter Book, 1720 July-1721 July, BR 227, Huntington Library, ArtCollections, and Botanical Gardens, San Marino, California. Printed:Wright. Letters of Robert Carter. . .. pp. 64-66.

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, especiallyto merchants abroad. The county and colony have been added forclarity.

[1] This sentence was written into the draft by RobertCarter as is indicated by the use of italics.

[2] Quit rent was the term used for thepayment due from the holder of land to the "lord of the manor," inthis case, to the proprietors of the Northern Neck. Carter as theproprietor's agent, collected these payments. No services wererequired of the landholder as had been true in mediaevaltimes.

[3] Cadwallader Jones (1652?-1700?), an Indian traderand fighter, was lieutenant colonel of the Stafford militia. FairfaxHarrison writes that "in 1677 he patented, with David Jones, 17,114acres in the Stafford backwoods . . . on the drains of Accotink andPohick." (Harrison. Landmarks. . . . p. 608. ) He got into financial trouble, and left forEngland in 1687. The holders of many of his debts were the Jeffreys,prominent London merchants. The alderman to whom RC refers is JohnJeffreys (1614-1688), master of the Grocers Company and alderman in1661. He was in business with his nephew, Sir Jeffrey Jeffreys, MP,who was his heir. ( J. R. Woodhead, The Rulers ofLondon. London: London and Middlesex Archaelogical Society,1965. pp. 97-98. ; Harrison. Landmarks. . . . p. 607-612. ; and variousreferences in Davis, William Fitzhugh. . .. )

This text revised March 17,2009.