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 James Thomas, October 18, 1728

     Robert Carter writes to surveyor James Thomas, October 18, 1728, to chastise him for his idleness and poor conduct of his work in preparing 20 surveys of lands for which Carter has given him warrants, and threatening to take the work away. He sends a paper (not present) of his observations on 12 of the surveys, and especially berates Thomas for forwarding an out-of-date warrant from a Mr. Barns when Thomas knows very well that he has one for that land in the name of Robert Carter II.

Letter from Robert Carter to James Thomas, October 18, 1728

-1 -

[Williamsburg, Virginia]     
Octobr: 18th 1728

Mr. Jams: Thos:

     I received yours by Major Eskeridge the 14th of this month
wth 20 Surveys returned I send you here a paper of my Observations upon 12 of them
you Ask new Instructions of me but I find it no purpose to give you any
If you look into the instructions you had from me you will find I direct you to keep
strictly to my Warrants both as to quantity & place And have often [been] told you
did not I should not Care to grant Deeds upon such Surveys After I come
from Town you must come down & mend your Works or I shall be at a full
stop from granting Deeds upon your Erroneous Warrts. Surveys You have not
only neglected the warrants you have of mine in your hands I mean those in the name [s]
of my Sons But you have served a great many other people in the same Manner keep=
ing their Warrants by you Until they are worn out of Date Idling Away the pro=
per time of Surveying both in the Spring and this last fall on one silly pretence
or other Some say it proceeds form Laziness others from Sottishness All agree
your Circumstances Are very narrow you have a Numerous family when [sic ] you

-2 -

keep in a very ordinary condition one would think a Sufficient spur upon
you to lay aside slothfulness and to rouse you up to do your business while
you have it your power to be getting something for them -- --

     You tell me you are going up into Stafford to work I hope when you
are there you will Survey all the warrants that you have yet Undone Otherwise
I must be so plain that I must be forced to Call for them out of your hands and put them
or new ones in their Room in the hands of others that will Execute them I designed
you a great deal of kindness and it lies in my power with yor: Diligence to help
you out of your poor Circumstances but if you have not the heart to bestir your self while
you have the Opportunity you must thank yourself & not blame me

     Among Your Surveys you have sent one made by Savage for Mr.
in Which I reackon is a great deal of trick the Warrants dated in October ]17] 17 [...]
the Survey made in the same Month now sent to me in October 1728 how you c [ame]
by it I dont know Savage has played me many A Villanous Trick and I [am]
Apt to think this is a link of the same Chain Which you may Let Mr. Barn [s]
know The first time you see him I shall not think it fit to Allow it proper to g [ive]
him any Deed upon this Survey This land or some thereabouts was f [irst]
pretended to By Francis Awbry and then by Colonel Mason and now at La [st by]
Barns and Savage together think they have got me in A Noose what re [ason]
has made them to keep this Survey so long by them until the Warrts time of the
Warrt was Expired for Several months I Cant tell and at last to make you
the Instrument of sending it to me when you know very Well you had a
Warrant of my Son Roberts Subsisting in your hands for these several years
together for the very same piece of Land before Any of the Above persons made
any pretentions to it You may be Able to Unfold this Mystery but I can't
tell what to make of it I am

              Your friend


Source copy consulted: Robert Carter Letter Book, 1727 April 13-1728 July 23, Carter Family Papers, Virginia Historical Society, Richmond. The right margin of the second page of the draft has suffered some damage.

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

[1] 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. )

[2] Williamsburg

[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] This may be Richard Barnes who would be appointed tobacco inspector at Nailors Hole in Richmond County in 1732. (McIlwaine. Executive Journals of the Council. . . . , 4[1721-1739]:286. )

[5] Francis (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 organized 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] 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.] )

This text, originally posted in 2004, was revised January 15, 2015, to add footnotes and strengthen the modern language version text.