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 Thomas Barber, April 13, 1724

     Robert Carter writes to Richmond County surveyor Thomas Barber, April 13, 1724, to give him instructions concerning surveys that Barber is to conduct for Carter at the colony's frontier in parts of present Prince William, Fairfax, and Loudoun counties. He directs Barber to leave "barren" lands out of his surveys, and to keep a journal with notes on the water, timber, and quality of soil, and that he should carry on the work with "Vigour."

Letter from Robert Carter to Thomas Barber, April 13, 1724

-1 -

Instructions To Mr: Thos: Barber about the Surveys
he is to make for me

[Corotoman, Lancaster County, Virginia]

April the 13th: 1723:4 --

Mr. Barber -- --

     I have already acquainted you with the names of
the places where I am informed by Capt Russell there are great
quantities of Good Land to be taken up to Witt at least 15000
Acres at the thourrow fare of broad runn and as large a
Quantity at the head of that runn he tells me that John
Russell Assures him there may taken up 40000 Thousand
Acres of very good Land from upon Bull runn its branches & to the head of Sugar
runn and he further tells me that this Russell informs
him that there is a vast quantity of Extraordinary good
Land to be had upon the Goose Creek and that this Jno.
Russell is very desireous to Serve me, I have writ to both
these Russells to be your Guides and to Assist you in
what Surveys you shall make, & I have also writ to the
Germans to be your chain carriers and markers whose promise I have
alwayes to be ready to Serve me when I have Occasion,
I beleive twill be necessary that you make your beginning
upon the Lands upon the broad runn, You ought to Spend
Some time in Veiwing these Lands before you begin your

     Mr. Savage hath already warrants for the
Lands upon the broad runn and upon the Bull runn, as also
Directions about the Lands upon the Goose Creek, I would
not have you limitt yourself as to the particular quantities
you take up in each Tract but in that you must guide
yourself as you find the Lands. hold good where you
find the Lands are barren for a Considerable quantity to
[ . . . ] other there I would have them left out and new Surveys
[be] gun upon the better Lands and all the in what Surveys you
[mak] e I would have you take care that Your lines are plainly mark[ed]

-2 -

and that you take notice of all remarkable places an[d]
keep a constant distinct Journall of the Qualities of all the
Land and the particular places you pass over how they are
Suppplied with Water Timber &Ca: and also where they
are Stoney and what Nature the Soil is, I should be Glad
you would take a Veiw of the Lands upon Goose Creek
and upon the bull runn, I write to Mr. Savage to give you
his best advice and Assistance and tell him that for the
Surveys you lay of from upon any of the warrants he has You wi[ll]
be Contented to take half pay and I desire you will so we[ll]
agree with one another that the business may be carried
on with Vigour, which will be the only way to give
Satisfaction to me who am Sr

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.

Carter has made a few changes in his own hand (indicated by italics) to the clerk's draft, and the clerk as entered others at Carter's direction.

[1] Thomas Barber of Richmond County was a surveyor, and would be appointed a justice of that county in 1730, tobacco inspector in1734, and sheriff in 1736. (McIlwaine. Executive Journals of the Council. . . . , 4[1721-1739]: 215, 342, and 369. )

[2] William Russell (1680?-1741) was a well-known ranger and explorer who eventually settled in Prince William County (later Fauquier). Fairfax Harrison thinks he may have been one of the rangers who accompanied Spotswood's Knights of the Golden Horseshoe. (Harrison, Landmarks of Old Prince William, p. 204. )

[3] In Carter's time, a "thoroughfare" was a gap through mountains.The thoroughfare of Broad Run (a branch of Occoquan River) is today called Thoroughfare Gap. It lies about five miles northwest of Gainesville in Prince William County. (Harrison. Landmarks. . . . p. 468. and Margaret T. Peters. A Guidebook to Virginia's Historical Markers. [Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia for the Virginia Historic Landmarks Commission, 1985.] p. 17. )

[4] Sugarland Run flows into the Potomac River in Fairfax County along the Loudoun County line. ( Alexandria Drafting Company. Regional Northern Virginia. [Alexandria, VA: Alexandria Drafting Company, 2002.] Coverage of Fairfax, Fauquier, Loudoun, and Prince William counties.)

[5] Goose Creek flows into the Potomac River just east of Leesburg in Loudoun County. (Alexandria Drafting Company. op. cit. )

[6] Governor Alexander Spotswood had encouraged immigration of Germans into Virginia in 1714, and they settled "in what was then Stafford Co. . . .. later Prince William and now Fauquier." The men worked in Spotswood's iron mines, but around 1718 took grants in the proprietary in what was then Stafford County. (See "Germantown" in Harrison. Landmarks. . . . pp. 207-221. and Elizabeth Chapman Denny Vann and Margaret Collins Denny Dixon. Virginia's First German Colony. Richmond: Privately printed, 1961. p. 33.)

[7] 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. )

[8] Bull Run is a major tributary of the Occoquan River, forming the foundary between todays Prince William and Fairfax counties, and then between Prince William and Loudoun counties.(Alexandria Drafting Company. op. cit. )

This text, originally posted in 2002, was revised August 29, 2011, to strengthen the modern language version text.