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 Colonel George Mason, November 10, 1727

     Robert Carter writes to Colonel George Mason of Stafford County, November 10, 1727, to inform him that he cannot issue grants for two pieces of land because warrants were not first obtained. He sets out problems with the land encroaching upon that for which Francis Awbrey already has warrants, and other problems with lands desired by Mason. He reminds Mason that he remains interested in land offered for sale by John Mercer provided Mason will sell him an adjoining piece.

Letter from Robert Carter to Colonel George Mason, November 10, 1727

-1 -

Colonel George Mason --      [Corotoman, Lancaster County, Virginia]     
Novr. the 10th: 1727

Colonel George Mason --

     I am Sorry I was not at home when you were at
my house but you ought to thank yourself you might Justly reckon
my duty then obliged my Attendance on the general Court. As to the
two plats you have returned without date and made without warrants
I can do nothing upon them and I think it a Presumption in Savage
to Survey the Proprietors' Land without the Leave of their Agent and I must
never Encourage Such a practice Awbrey had a warrant Some time
ago for that piece of Land which Joins upon him and has returned
a plat made by Mr. Thomas which he informs me was Surveyed
before Savage Surveyed for you and it Seems takes in a part of his Im
provements An Error which he was led into by Savage not running
the last line, now it would be very unfair not to grand this land that he
is in a regular way of getting,

     As for the two warrants you had from me Some time
ago when you return the Plats according to the places of your Entries
I Shall be ready to Issue Deeds accordingly for but Thomas demonstrates
to me that the Second he has Surveyed for Awbrey is not within either
of your Entries. Your upper Entry for 4000 Acres begins upon a piece
of Land Sold by Savage to Phillips and Lacewell but never no Deed
Issued for the Land, and upon their being runaway Awbrey both
Entered for it and Surveyed it upon his warrant and your lower En
try begins at the lower End of Savages Sale so that neither way your
Warrants can Include it Thus this matter Stands between you how
ever I Shall delay Some time before I give Awbrey a Deed to hear what
you have to Object against it.

      One of your other Enntries left with my man for a 1000 acres
Mr. Thomas Assures me is within a warrant he has Already in his
hands. The other Entry I have Sent you a warrant for directed to
Mr. Thomas. Savage has played me so many tricks and is so uni
versally Complained of that I do not care how little use I make of him
The other will be up in your parts Soon upon other business and then
he will be ready to Serve you,

     I Should have been glad to have discoursed you about
Mr. Mercers Land which I am Still willing to be a purchaser of
at a reasonable price but I cannot think it to be worth so much as he
Asks Allthough the Convenience of it to me invites me to give more than
Ordinary for it Provided I can have a good title and you agree to let
me have that part of the Land Adjoining to me I am

Your humble Servt: --


Source copy consulted: Robert Carter letter book, 1727 May-1728 July, Robert Carter Papers (acc. no. 3807), Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library, University of Virginia.

The name of Carter's home, the county, and colony have been added as a return address for clarity.

[1] 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.] )

[2] "The governor's Council, also known as the Council of State or simply the Council, consisted of about a dozen of colonial Virginia's wealthiest and most prominent men. Beginning in the 1630s the Crown appointed Council members. . . . Crown appointments were lifetime appointments. From 1625, when Virginia became a royal colony, until the outbreak of the American Revolution (1775-1783), the Council members advised the royal governor or his deputy, the lieutenant governor, on all executive matters. The Council and the governor together constituted the highest court in the colony, known initially as the Quarter Court and later as the General Court. The Council members also served as members of the General Assembly; from the first meeting of the assembly in 1619 until 1643 the governor, Council members, and burgesses all met in unicameral session. After 1643 the Council members met separately as the upper House of the General Assembly." ("The Governor's Council" in Encyclopedia Virginia )

[3] John Savage was a surveyor, later (1734) to be employed by Lord Fairfax while attempting to establish the boundaries of the proprietary. He had been appointed surveyor for King George County the year after that county was formed in 1720, and was referred to then as "gentleman." He was surveyor of Stafford County when he particpated in the Fairfax survey. ( Genealogies of Virginia Families from Tyler's Quarterly Historical and Genealogical Magazine. [Genealogical Publishing Co, 1981] Vol. I [of 4]:473; Brown. Virginia Baron. . . . pp. 83, 86, 88, 92; and Harrison. Landmarks. . . . p. 619. )

[4] See "Robert Carter and the Northern Neck Proprietary " on the home page of this project.

[5] Frank Awbrey (1690?-1741) was an active land speculator in the area that became Loudoun County, and was one of the first justices when Prince William County was organiized in 1731. He was sheriff of that county in 1739. (McIlwaine. Executive Journals of the Council. . . . , 4[1721-1739]:239, 439; and Harrison. Landmarks. . . . pp. 148, 150, 153-54 ff. )

[6] James Thomas was surveyor of Lancaster County, and after 1727, of Westmoreland County. In 1736, he would be one of the surveyors involved in the work of the commission to determine the bounds of the Northern Neck proprietary. (Brown. Virginia Baron. . . . pp. 83, 92. See Carter to Peter Beverley, December 14, 1727. )

[7] John Mercer (1704-1768) emigrated from Ireland where he had been trained as an attorney. "He settled at Marlboroughtown [in then Stafford County] in 1726 as a practicing attorney and at once allowed a facile pen to get him into trouble with the government." He eventually lost his license to practice law, and turned to the land speculation that he had begun as soon as he reached Virginia. "He married first on June 10, 1725 Catherine Mason (June 21, 1707-June 15, 1750) only child of Colonel George Mason (16??-1716) and his second wife Elizabeth Waugh, daughter of the Reverend Mr. John Waugh."(Harrison. Landmarks of Old Prince William p. 315; Copeland and MacMaster. The Five George Masons. ; and "John Mercer." )

This text, originally posted in 2004, was revised May 13, 2014, to add footnotes and strengthen the modern language version text.