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 John Johnson, June 22, 1721

     Robert Carter writes to his new head overseer, John Johnson, June 22, 1721, to give him his initial instructions as he assumes his position. Carter directs Johnson to inspect the several farms now under his supervision, get the crops planted and the wheat harvested when it is ready, keep the overseers at work on their farms, and particularly to check on the arms Carter has provided. He is to send Carter an account of all the stock on the various farms as soon as possible and to write to Carter frequently with information and his needs. Captain Thomas Hooper will assist Johnson in writing (Johnson was illiterate) and in other ways. Dr. Thomas Turner administers to the slaves, and is to be called immediately when needed. Johnson is to keep accounts of all supplies that he issues.

Letter from Robert Carter to John Johnson, June 22, 1721

-1 -

[Corotoman, Lancaster County, Virginia]
June the 22d. 1721

Orders for John Johnson to be observ'd by him after he comes
up to the falls,

     You are first of all to Acquaint yourself with the Condition of the Several plantations are
in & to use Your utmost diligence & Endeavour to get the Crops all planted &
to see tht. the overseers mind their business and keep their homes, You are to take
an Account as soon as You can of my Goods at the Several quarters I now give You a
Copy of my last Letter to Natt Hedgeman, by which You will know what Goods
went up in the last Sloop, You must take especial care of my Arms
at the Several quarters & give me an Account what they are & in what order they are
last winter I sent up a set of Horse Arms to Natt Hedgeman
tht. is a case of pistols & holsters, Sword & belt & carabine & belt. You must
take these arms into Your custody & be answerable for them as he was
You must be very careful & diligent in r [ea] ping and getting in the wheat
as Soon as It is ripe. You must [take care] in all respects [to]

-2 -

perform the Articles of Your agreement As soon as conveniently You can
You must get a particular Account of my Stocks of Cattle & hogs their ages
& Sorts, You must write to me by all opportunity, letting me know
Your wants & in what Circumstances everything is and goes forward, Mr.
will do You all the Service he can by writing or other ways,

      Doctor Thomas Turner undertakes the care of my Familys, You must
be sure to Send for him as often as their is occasion, be sure to keep
particular Account in writing of everything You deliver out, as nails, Tar
&c, --


Source copy consulted: Robert Carter Letter Book, 1720 July-1721 July, BR 227, Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens, San Marino, California. Printed: Wright. Letters of Robert Carter. . . . pp. 105-106. Carter's home and the county and state have been added to this unheaded draft letter for clarity.

[1] Nathaniel Hedgeman had settled his family at "Accokeek" on Potomac Creek in 1707, having purchased it from "the first George Mason." He had been Carter's chief overseer in the falls area, but had died recently apparently in an accident. (Harrison. Landmarks. . . . p. 203.)

[2] "Carabine" is an alternative spelling of "carbine" which the Oxford English Dictionary defines as "a kind of fire-arm, shorter than the musket, used by the cavalry and other troops."

[3] Louis Wright wrote that Thomas Turner was, "a physician and landowner in King George County." There was a prominent Thomas Turner in that county but there is no indication he was a physician. (Wright. Letters of Robert Carter. . . . p. 106.

This text revised May 12, 2009.