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 Chelton, [April 6, 1724]

     Robert Carter writes to John Chelton (Chilton), [April 6, 1724], to explain that he cannot issue warrants for surveys to be made for land on Cub Run. Carter understands that, although Chelton and others had had surveys for land in the area made in 1714, and had presented them to Thomas Lee, then the proprietors' agent, they and Lee had differed about the details and "deeds" were not issued. He tells Chelton that he cannot become involved with the dispute with Lee. He would do a disservice to others who have had patents in the area since, and to the proprietors who have had no rents, were he to issue patents for these lands. He tells Chelton that since he became the agent, he has issued orders to the surveyors to look for the best lands there for his children, and that John Savage is preparing the survey since John Coppege's death. He has refused George Mason's application for lands in the area, and will refuse all others until "I am served." He promises to assist Chelton once his own surveys are completed, and sends Chelton three warrants (not present), reminding Chelton of the fees due for them.

Letter from Robert Carter to John Chelton, [April 6, 1724]

-1 -

[Corotoman, Lancaster County, Virginia]

Mr. Jno. Chelton -- --

     Yours of the 31st of March came to me Yesterday
at Church which I shall now answer, It seems you were at

some charge in the Year 1714 for the laying out some land
on the Cub run a branch of the Bull Run in Stafford
County and that upon presenting these Surveys to the
proprietors Office Colonel Lee the then Officer and You
differed about the Composition and that he would not
pass your Deeds, In the first place you are to know
that I do not take my self at all concerned to Vindicate
Colonel Lee in that Office or to make good what he did
not carry on to perfection, but I must suppose in this --
matter that he demanded of you no more than the Settled
Composition and upon your refusal of payment he
denied passing your Deeds as I should have done had
I been in his place, whether he did you injustice or
no You [illegible] are to dis pute it with him, but I am sure if I
should comply with your desire and make you a
title by Deeds upon them Surveys to take place from 1714
I should do a great piece of injustice both to the proprietors
and to all persons that have taken out warrants Since
for any of those Lands, to the first that they have had
no Quitt [sic] rent nor Composition all this time, and other ad
venturers to be at the charge of warrants &Ca: and yet
to pass Deeds of a Prior Date to destroy all they have bee[ ... ] [n]
doing, Certainly upon a full Consideration you wil[ ... ] [l be]
of Opinion I have neither reason nor power to [ ... ] [oblige]

     But I shall now tell yo[ ... ] / [u a]

-2 -

Story in this matter upon my first having this Office
I was desirous to Inform myself the best I could to learn
where I could find some large Quantities of good Land
to take up for my Children and Grand Children and soon
became Acquainted that you Captain Morriss Jones Captain
Charles Lee and others had Surveyed some quantities of
Land upon the Branches of this Bull Run upon w among
which this Cubb Run was Mentioned and that by your
Neglects none of You got Deeds every body conclu
ding that you totally declined any further meddling
hereupon I directed both Hooper and Coppedge to take -- a
view of these Lands Accordingly Coppedge did giving
me a very good Account of them Encourageing me to hope
he could take up for me at least Ten Thousand Acres of
very good land Accordingly I made an Entry in one of
my Sons names and sent up a warrant for the Surveying
it which was in the possesion of Coppedge at his Death
and in the last Letter he wrote to me he promises me
that this should be the first work he should do and I
have Since given Mr Savage the present Surveyor
Directions to lay off the best of these lands for me --
Colonel Mason wrote to me for a warrant to take up --
Some lands on this Cub Run which I denied to
send him for the aforesaid reason and must be
so plain to tell Every body that I will Issue no --
warrants for any Lands in those places until I am served , and I hope
no body will blame me for regarding my own --
Children in the first place, Y if after my Surveys are
are [sic ] made You can find any berth I shall be ready to oblige
you Here with I send you the three warrants you desire --
[ ... ] [I now] look upon you to be my pay master for the fees now Due
-3 -

which is 175 pound of tobacco from Each, I never Issue these
warrants but I take caution for these fees and I desire you would
do so before you let them have their warrants for it is --
upon your Accot: I send them I am --

Your humble Servt:


Source copy consulted: Robert Carter letter book, 1723 June 16-1724 April 23, Robert Carter Papers (acc. no. 3807), Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library, University of Virginia. There is a 19th-century copy of the letter in the Minor-Blackford Papers, James Monroe Law Office and Museum, Fredericksburg, Virginia.

The name of Carter's home, "Corotoman," the county, and colony have been added for clarity to this unheaded draft.

This undated draft appears in the letter book following two other undated drafts whose internal evidence has led to the date of April 5, 1724, being assigned. In addition, this letter is followed by one dated April 7, 1724.

Carter has reviewed the clerk's draft of this letter and made a few corrections which are indicated by the use of italics.

[1] John Chelton [Chilton] (d. 1726), lived in Westmoreland County where his name is on the lists of justices of that county from 1712 to 1721. ( David W. Eaton. Historical Atlas of Westmoreland County Virginia. [Richmond: Dietz Press, 1942], in an undated reprint. pp. 52, 67; and Norris. Westmoreland County, Virginia. pp. 675-76. )

[2] 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. )

[3] Bull Run is a major tributary of the Occoquan River, forming the foundary between today's Prince William and Fairfax counties, and then between Prince William and Loudoun counties. (See the sources for footnote 2.)

[4] Thomas Lee (1690-1750) was the son of Richard Lee II, and nephew of Edmund Jenings; he would build "Stratford," and succeed Carter on the Council. ( Burton J. Hendrick. The Lees of Virginia: Biography of a Family. [Boston: Little Brown, 1935]. pp. 48, 51, etc. )

[5] Quit rent was the term used for "a (usually small) rent paid by a freeholder . . . in lieu of services which might otherwise be required; a nominal rent paid (esp. in former British colonial territories to the Crown) as an acknowledgement of tenure," in this case, to the proprietors of the Northern Neck. Carter as the proprietor's agent, collected these payments. ( Oxford English Dictionary Online )

[6] Charles Lee (1684-1741) of Cobbs Hall, Northumberland County. He was sheriff of that county in 1725 and 1726. (McIlwaine. Executive Journals of the Council. . . . , 4[1721-1739]: 86, 100. )

[7] John Coppedge (d. ante 1724) appears as surveyor of Northumberland County in 1714, but was not listed in 1726 there when the name appears as the surveyor of Lancaster County. ( Louis des Cognets, Jr., English Duplicates of Lost Virginia Records. [Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc. 1981], pp. 27, 36; and McIlwaine. Executive Journals of the Council. . . . , 3[1705-1721]; 223. )

[8] John Savage was a surveyor, later (1734) to be employed by Lord Fairfax while attempting to establish the boundaries of the proprietary. (Harrison. Landmarks. . . . p. 619. )

[9] George Mason III (c. 1690-1735), justice, sheriff, burgess, andcounty lieutenant of Stafford County, father of the constitutional theorist. (Copeland and MacMaster, The Five George Masons. pp. 50-86 ; and George Harrison Sanford King, The Register of Overwharton Parish Stafford County Virginia 1723-1758 And Sundry Historical and Genealogical Notes . [Fredericksburg, VA: privately printed, 1961.] )

This text, originally posted in 2002, was revised August 16, 2011, to add footnotes, and to strengthen the modern language version text.