Robert King Carter's Correspondence and Diary

   A Collection Transcribed
        and Digitized
   by Edmund Berkeley, Jr.

List of Letters | About This Collection

Electronic Text Center , University of Virginia Library


Letter from Robert Carter to Colonel Nicholas Smith, May 23, 1728

     Robert Carter writes to Colonel Nicholas Smith of King George County, May 23, 1728, concerning John Mercer's debt to Smith, and the layout of the new town of Falmouth in King George.

Letter from Robert Carter to Colonel Nicholas Smith, May 23, 1728

-1 -

[Corotoman, Lancaster County, Virginia]     
May the. 23d: 1728

Colonel Nicholas Smith

Sir --

     Yor. Letter came to me on Tuesday past Twelve
about two hours before my Son Charles was gon over the river for
Wms:Burgh, So that I was forced to make yor. former Letter my plan
if Max. Robinson be added to your Commission you must not blame
me I am glad to find your Court is not so Scrupulous as some others
who I think are more Cautious then needs,

     It Seems Mr. Mercer is in your Debt he tells

-2 -

me your Attorney hath lately prest him very hard for your money
and Threatens to take out Executions upon your Judgmt. Speedily
which makes Mercer very Earnest in ha [s] tening the Conclusion of a
Bargain he and I are upon for a Seat of his wifes Land, The whole
Storey Mr. Warner the bearer will acquaint you with, And the reasons
that I cannot be so hasty in the Consummation of this Bargain
as Mercer would have me I tell Mercer that if you can be Secure
of having your money in my hands I beleive you will be patient
for a month or two without hurrying him into the Charge of
an Execution,

     My Son Charles designs up to the Falls about
the 10th of next month in order to the laying out Fifty Acres for
our Town of FALMOUTH if you and Majr. Thorten will be
there at that Time the Stafford Trustees may also have notice
that you may come to an Agreemt. where to fix upon the fifty
Acres for the Town and Mr. Warner will attend you. As to laying
it of into Lotts Streets &ca: wee need not be in So much hast. Sepr.
may be a proper time for that when Colonel Page if he is able
talks of being there and I reckon to be so to if my health will
give leave You will hear more of this by my Son Charles

I am
Sir --
Yor. very humble Servt.


Source copy consulted: Robert Carter Letter Book, 1727 April 13-1728 July 23, Carter Family Papers, Virginia Historical Society, Richmond. There is a 19th-century transcript of the letter in the Minor-Blackford Papers, James Monroe Law Office and Museum, Fredericksburg, Virginia.

See also Carter's letters to John Mercer, 1728 May 22, and to his some-in-law, Mann Page, 1728 May 21, on the same subject as this letter.

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

[1] Carter refers to the persons receiving commissions as justices in King George County, and to the reluctance of certain county courts to sit until they receive new commissions because more thuan six months have passed since the new king came to the throne.

[2] John Mercer (1704-1768) emigrated from Ireland where he had been trained 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. ; and "John Mercer." 11/4/03)

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

[4]The new town of Falmouth was created by the Assembly in February1727. Carter, Mann Page, Nicholas Smith, William Thornton, John Fitzhugh, Charles Carter, and HenryFitzhugh the younger were the "directors and trustees." The land chosen for the site of the new town layin King George County, and deeds would have been recorded in its court records. ( William Waller Hening, The Statutes at Large; Being a Collection of the Laws of Virginia . . . . [Richmond, 1820. reprint, 1969]. IV, 234-39. )

[5] Major William Thornton (d. 1742/43) of King George County. ( King George County Virginia Will Book A-1 1721-1752 And Miscellaneous Notes. [Fredericksburg, VA: Privately Printed, 1978], p. 277.) )

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