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 Clayton], April 7, 1724

     Robert Carter writes to the colony's attorney general, [John Clayton], April 7, 1724, concerning his intention to bring an action in the General Court, as Clayton had recommended, to have the murderer, Thomas Glascock, declared an outlaw so that his lands may be granted as an escheat. He reminds Clayton that "Mr. Holloway and Mr Randall" are his attornies and will assist in the procedure for which he expects to pay Clayton as well.

Letter from Robert Carter to [John Clayton], April 7, 1724

-1 -

[Corotoman, Lancaster County, Virginia]
April the 7th: 17234


     When I was at the Oyer and Terminer I was discours
ing you about your prosecuting an out Lawry against Thomas
for the murder he had committed in order to his
Conviction and Attainting which According to the best In
formation I can get from my Books is absolutely Necessary
to be done before his Lands can be granted as Escheat In ans
wer you told me the Oyer and Terminer was not a proper court
to begin the prosecution in it must be done in the General Court
which drawing now very near I think it proper to put you in mind
of it that you may be prepared, Mr. Holloway and Mr Randall
you know are my Lawyers for the proprietors affairs they
will be Assisting to you. for your trouble in this Matter I shall
think it but Justice to give you a fee who am Sr --

Your most humble Servant


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.

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

[1] "Oyer is French for to hear-i.e. hear in court or try; and terminer is French for to conclude. The words mean that the commissioners appointed are to hear and bring to an end all the cases in the county." "In I710 Queen Anne extended the right of habeas corpus to Virginia and decreed that two courts of oyer and terminer be held annually to facilitate 'gaol delivery.' Such courts were to sit the first Tuesdays of December and June 7 ." "Free persons and indentured servants indicted for felony were tried in the General Court at Williamsburg if the justices found sufficient evidence to warrant a trial. Only slaves were tried in county courts for capital offenses. " ( Dictionary of Phrase and Fable . online at infoplease, 8/26/2011; Hugh F. Rankin. "The General Court Of Colonial Virginia: Its Jurisdiction and Personnel ." Virginia Magazine of History and Biography. 70[2(Apr., 1962)]: 144; and Rhys Isaac. The Transformation of Virginia 1740-1790. Williamsburg, VA:, Institute of Early American History and Culture, and Chapel Hill, NC, University of North Carolina Press, 1982; new edition [paperback], 1999., p. 92.)

[2] "William Forrester had been murdered on November 5, 1723, by Thomas Glascock whose son Gregory was named as an accessory." Carter had noted Glascock's capture in his diary on November 13th: "Collo Barber acquaints me me he had Seizd Glascocks who had fled for Murther his Estate Coll Tarpley in the behalf of Glascocks Heir offers to Enter the Land as Escheat " The lands reverted to the proprietors, and Carter apparently managed them for some years for the benefit of Glascock's heirs; he later acquired title to the properties which are mentioned in his will. (Ryland. Richmond County Virginia. . . . p. 101.

This text, originally posted in 2002, was revised August 26, 2011, to add footnotes, and to strengthen the modern language version text.