An Account of James Monroe's Land Holdings
© Copyright and All Rights Reserved
By Christopher Fennell
Original Deeds and Records of Other Land Holdings in Charlottesville
The deed books in the Office of the Clerk for the Albemarle County Circuit Court reflect the following agreements and transactions concerning these lots:
- 1790 -- September 26, 1790 Memorandum of Agreement was entered between James Monroe and Peter Marks "both of the County of Albemarle," for the future sale of the two lots to Marks. Marks agreed to pay Monroe 75 pounds each year for a duration of ten years, and then pay Monroe the full principal of 1,500 pounds at the end of those ten years. Marks pledged ownership interest in 33 slaves as security for his payment of the annual interest. This agreement also mentions Monroe's expected move to a new residence and related storage of furniture before that move.
The agreement states in pertinent part:
Witnesseth the said James sells to the said Peter his lotts and improvements in the Town of Charlottesville consisting of the acre of ground whereon his dwelling house stands and the lott below the main street where his stables . . . stand with the improvements thereon for the sum of fifteen hundred pounds. which the said Peter hereby contracts to pay to the said James at the Expiration of ten years from the present date [and] in the interim to pay him annual interest on the said sum of fifteen hundred pounds after the date of five per centum and hereby further engage as a security for the payment of the said sum to give to the said James a mortgage on the said property and upon the following slaves, Viz, Sud, Hannah and another woman named Hannah, Patt . . . . [and other slaves listed by name] amounting to thirty three in number it is further agreed on the part of the s[aid] James that the said Peter have all the pine plank and other materials Excepting the plank already planed for one [room] and the walnut plank the said Peter also agrees to give separate Bonds for the annual interest and it is also agreed that the said agreement shall be fully executed at a future date convenient to the parties, the said James agrees that the said Peter may immidiatly take charge of the said property allowing sufficient room for the accomodation of the Furniture of the said James and for his family till his houses are ready to receive them on his farm . . . . This agreement was signed and sealed by James Monroe and Peter Marks, and witnessed by John Steel, Thomas Bell, and Joseph Jones Monroe, "at the Albemarle April Court 1791." It was produced, acknowledged and recorded at the April 1971 Court. John Nicholas was the Clerk of Court. Deed Book 10, pages 187-88.
Edgar Woods contends that Marks' agreement to store "plank" and make "sufficient room for the accomodation of the Furniture of the said James [Monroe] and for his family till his houses are ready to receive them on his farm" was for a residence Monroe intended to build on the Monroe Hill tract (Woods 1901: 280).
- 1791 -- It appears that Monroe soon experienced difficulties in obtaining free and clear title to these lots from George Nicholas, so that he could in turn convey them free and clear to Marks. Monroe issued another instrument dated April 13, 1791 concerning the terms of the sale and related security. In it he pledged 3,000 pounds bond as security that he would obtain and convey clear title to Marks for these lots. This is notable in that Marks had agreed to a mortgage for 2,250 pounds in total, including 750 pounds in interest over ten years and 1,500 pounds in principal. Monroe may have pledged this excess security (750 pounds more than Marks' mortgage) for the purpose of accommodating costs and expenses to Marks in this transaction, or perhaps to compensate for an increasing value of Marks' security of 33 slaves.
This instrument stated in pertinent part:
Know all men by these presents that I James Monroe of the County of Albemarle am held and firmly bound unto Peter Marks of the same County in the penalty sum of three thousand pounds current money of Virginia to which payment will and truly to be made I bind myself, my Heirs [executors] and [administrators] firmly by these presents In witness whereof I have hereunto put my hand and seal this 13th day of April . Whereas a Contract took place Between the said Peter Marks and the said Jas. Monroe bearing date on the 26th Day of Sept[ember] 1790 Whereby the said James for the consideration of Fifteen hundred pounds to be paid at the Expiration of ten years from the Date with interest annually accruing thereon, to be paid at the Expiration of Each year by the said Peter to the said James the payment whereof to be secured as Therein Covenanted and agreed on, Bargained and sold to the said Peter his lotts and improvements in the Town of Charlottesville, purchased heretofore by the said James of George Nicholas now in the District of Kentucky and whereas it was further Covenanted and agreed between them that possession should be immidiatly given of the said property by the said James to the said Peter which was accordingly done, and that the said James should convey the same in fee simple to the said Peter and his heirs at some future convenient time after the legal title should be made in the same, by the s[aid] George Nicholas to the said James and his heirs which is now shortly Expected to be Executed and Compleated, all of which will more fully appear by reference to the said Articles of agreements and Covenants Now the Condition of the above obligation . . . . is such that if the said James shall fully comply on his part and perform the several covenants contained in the above listed Articles of agreement and make a good and complete title in fee simple to the said lotts and improvements to the said Peter Marks and his Heirs, According to the true intent and meaning thereof and as above set forth then . . . the above obligation Shall be Void Otherwise Remain in full force [and effect] . . . . This agreement was signed and sealed by James Monroe, and witnessed by Thomas Bell and William Love "at Albemarle April Court 1791." It was produced, acknowledged and recorded at the April 1971 Court. John Nicholas was the Clerk of Court. Deed Book 10, pages 188-89.
- 1791 -- On April 14, 1791, James Monroe and Peter Marks executed another agreement memorializing their various covenants and agreements for these lots. In this agreement, Marks conveyed ownership of the 33 slaves to Monroe. Monroe paid Marks and additional 50 pounds under this April 14, 1791 agreement in consideration for the conveyance of the 33 slaves, but it was agreed that the slaves would be returned to Marks or his heirs if and when the 1,500 pounds principal due to Monroe was timely paid within the period of the ten-year mortgage made by Marks. It was also acknowledged that Monroe had established a bond of 3,000 pounds in the April 13, 1791 indenture. This April 14, 1791 agreement was produced, acknowledged and recorded at the April 1791 Court of the Albemarle Circuit Court.
- 1791 -- On September 26, 1791, Monroe conveyed clear title to Marks for these three lots. He executed an indenture of bargain and sale in which he acknowledged receipt of payment in full from Marks of "fifteen hundred pound current money" and Monroe "for ever quit claim the said Peter" Marks. As shown below, Monroe had not received 1,500 pounds in cash, but had rather retained the mortgage agreement with Marks.
This September 26, 1791 instrument stated in pertinent part:
[The] said James hath granted, bargained, sold [and] confirmed, [and] by these presents doth grant, bargain, sell and confirm unto the said Peter Marks his heirs [and] assigns, three lots in the town of Charlottesville purchased by the said Monroe of George Nicholas lately resident in the said town, (viz) one half acre lot of land lying [and] being in the said town and County of Albemarle [and] marked in the plan of the said town no. seventeen [and] one other 1/2 acre lott of Land in the s[aid] County [and] Town no. 18 [and] one other lot likewise in the said town [and] County, bounded on one side by the main street, on another by the house of a certain Micajah Childs [and] now occupied by a certain William Jones, on another by a cross street which separates the lot of a certain Thomas West from said lot, together with all buildings, improvements [and] other appurtenances thereunto belonging . . . . This indenture was signed and sealed on September 26, 1791 by James Monroe, and witnessed by Peter Lott, Menan Mills, Cornelius Schenk, and Joseph Jones Monroe. It was produced, acknowledged and recorded at the October 1971 Albemarle Circuit Court. John Nicholas was the Clerk of Court. Deed Book 10, pages 311-12.
- 1791 -- Also on September 26, 1791, Peter Marks executed an indenture memorializing his mortgage to James Monroe for a principal amount of 1,500 pounds and annual interest payments of 75 pounds due and payable on September 25 of each year. At this time in 1791, the remaining term of the mortgage was nine years.
This mortgage indenture dated September 26, 1791 was signed and sealed by Peter Marks, and witnessed by Peter Lott, Menan Mills, and Cornelius Schenk. It was produced, acknowledged and recorded at the October 1971 Albemarle Circuit Court. John Nicholas was the Clerk of Court. Deed Book 10, pages 313-15.
To view a particular topic on Monroe's land holdings,
click on the desired subject below:
Return to Introduction
Ash Lawn-Highland Museum Web Page
Last Modified: September 2, 2012