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 Mercer, May 22, 1728

     Robert Carter writes to John Mercer, May 22, 1728, concerning documents Mercer must send Carter if they are to complete the sale of land Carter is purchasing. The complications include the documentation of the age of Mercer's wife, Catherine (Mason) Mercer, and deeds among Joseph, John, Alexander, and David Waugh.

Letter from Robert Carter to John Mercer , May 22, 1728

-1 -

Mr. John Mercer --      [Corotoman, Lancaster County, Virginia]     
May the. 23d: 1728

     Yors: of the 9th Instant came to me the 21st: you
seem to be in a great deal of hast for the Consummation of or. bargain
but wee must not make more hast than good speed I have writ to
Colonel Smith an Account of the Treaty between us and I beleive if he
can be secure of his money in my hands he will be patient till wee
can finish the matter as wee ought,

     You have Sent me Alexr: Waughs Deed to Colonel
but you have not Sent me Jos. Waughs Deed to his Brothers
John. Alexander and David, These I must see before I can be well
Apprized of all the Circumstances of the Case, neither have you Sent

-2 -

me the clear proof you promised of the time of your wifes age, by Mrs. Pear=
sons Testimony and others. There is a further thing necessary to be done
before I can tell how to draw the Deeds that is to run the dividing line
between Colonel Mason and you with his Approbation & Consent, and
to run the side lines of your 1610 Acres leaving a full division of the Fifth
part of the last great Tract into David Waughs part in making these Lines &
returning me a Platt Mr. John Warner the Surveyor hath full ins
tructions from me and will be ready to do it when you & Colonel Mason
will appoint the time, This work you will have [it] in your Power to hasten
You know also there is a Joynt Bond to be Signd by Colonel Mason & you
for the repayment of the money for the 400 and odd Acres Surplus land
in Case the Judgement of Law should be that your wife has no right
to it, this bond must be Executed before I pay my money.

     I find the Deeds of Jo: Waughs and Alexander
not to be worded alike Alexanders is not so Strong in favour of the
Surplus Lands as Jo: Waughs is, therefore I have the more reason to
desire the Sight of Jo: Waughs Deeds to his Several Brothers,

     As for your looseing by the rate now Sett upon Silver
that need not trouble you my payment will be most in Gold, My
Son Charles I reckon will be up at the Falls about the 10th of next month
and that will Suit pretty well with your time of Stafford Court I am

              Yor. humble Servt.


Source copy consulted: Robert Carter Letter Book, 1727 April 13-1728 July 23, Carter Family Papers, Virginia Historical Society, Richmond.

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

Mercer owed money to Colonel Nicholas Smith whose attorney was pressing Mercer for payment of the debt. See Carter's letter to Smith May 23, 1728 , for details.

[1] John Mercer (1704-1768) emigrated from Ireland where he had beentrained as an attorney. "He settled at Marlboroughtown 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. ; "John Mercer." )

[2] Alexander Waugh was Mercer's wife, Elizabeth's, brother. (See "Rev. John Waugh .")

[3] George Mason III (c. 1690-1735), justice, sheriff, burgess, and county 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.] )

[4] Joseph was the brother of Alexander and Elizabeth. (See "Rev. John Waugh .")

[5] A plat results from making "a plan or map of; to draw to scale; to plot. . . . Also: to divide up or determine the boundaries of (an area of land) using a scale plan." ( Oxford English Dictionary Online . Oxford University Press. )

[6] John Warner was the surveyor of King George County in 1727; helaid off the town of Falmouth in 1728. Later he worked for Lord Fairfax, and prepared an important mapof his holdings. (Harrison, Landmarks of Old Prince William , 626-628. )

This text, originally posted in 2004, was revised October 10, 2014, to add footnotes and strengthen the modern language version text.