AUTOGRAPH LETTER SIGNED, FROM WINCHESTER, VIRGINIA, 6 JANUARY 1829, TO COLONEL ROGER JONES OF WASHINGTON, D.C., THE BROTHER OF THOMAS AP CATESBY JONES, ABOUT MISSING SLAVE SAM LEE; AND AN UNRELATED LAW CASE ABOUT DIVISION OF THE "FAIRFIELD NEGROES, " IN WHICH COLONEL JONES AND WIFE HAVE AN INTEREST. "I HAVE JUST LEARNED THAT NEGRO SAM LEE LEFT THIS PLACE SOME TIME BEFORE CHRISTMAS AND HAS NOT RETURNED. IT SEEMS THAT HE SAID HE WAS GOING TO THE CITY TO SEE HIS MASTER MEANING AS I UNDERSTAND MR. THOMAS APP. C. JONES, SUPPOSED TO BE NOW AT THE CITY . I HAVE THOUGHT IT BEST TO WRITE TO YOU ON THE SUBJECT AS THERE MAY BE SOME UNCERTAINTY AS TO COM. JONES BEING AT THE CITY: AND IT IS PROBABLE THAT IF SAM DID GO TO THE CITY HE PAID YOU A VISIT. IT IS SAID HE HIRED A HORSE OF A MAN HERE, WHO IS UNEASY ABOUT THE HORSE, FEARING SAM HAS GONE OFF NOT TO RETURN . . . I AM NOT CERTAINLY ADVISED, WHO SAM DOES BELONG TO: THE LAST HIRE I PAID FOR HIM, WAS PAID ON THE ORDER OF MR. JOHN MURPHEY, ACTING AS AGENT FOR MRS. ANN TURBERVILLE WHO CLAIMS HIM . I HAVE RECEIVED HIS HIRE FOR LAST YEAR (FORTY DOLLARS) . RESPECTFULLY YOURS, OBED WAITE. "P.S. IN PASSING OVER THE CHANCERY DOCKET THIS DAY IN THE COUNTY COURT, A SUIT WHICH HAS BEEN LONG ON THE DOCKET IN THE NAME OF YOURSELF AND WIFE, AGAINST THE OTHER HEIRS OF WILLIAM B. PAGE DECD WAS CALLED - THIS IS A SUIT FOR A DIVISION OF THE SLAVES BELONGING TO THAT ESTATE . . ."

Winchester, Frederick County, Virginia: 1829. Folio, 8-1/4" x 13-1/4". [3], [1] p. Completely in ink manuscript. Addressed on final page to "Col. Roger Jones | City of Washington" and light postal cancel dated Jan. 9 at Winchester; with manuscript docket note in a different hand: "On the subject of the Division of the Fairfield Negroes - Refers also, to the 200 dollars belonging to poor Jane. . . Th. Colles Jany. 1829" Old mailing folds. Small wax seal and related tear, Very Good.

After discussing runaway Sam Lee, Waite writes a postscript longer than the preceding letter: about two pages, concerning the division of the Negroes of Page's Estate including the Negro Daniel, "who was assigned to one of my wards, was then in jail; where he had been until his keeping amounted to a considerable sum [say some fifty dollars]." The jailor insisted on retaining Daniel until the sum had been paid. "William B. Page had put said Daniel in jail for some offense against himself, and had requested me to sell him; agreeing that upon a division of the slaves, Daniel should be assigned to him . . . and now, the matter stands somehow thus - Daniel runaway and entirely lost; several others dead so that some one or more, of the children have not even one slave, while Taylor has four or five (I think) - This is manifestly unjust. Some of the children on arriving of age have taken the slaves allotted to them, and sold them. These circumstances create some difficulties; yet justice may be done, by holding them liable for the value of the slaves sold and if that be more than their share they must pay to the others such sum as will make them equal . . ."
The writer of this interesting Letter, Obed [born Obediah] Waite [1766-1845], was a judge, Mayor of Winchester, President of the Bank of the Valley from 1823-1845, lifetime member of the American Colonization Society and its Treasurer for Frederick County. [Green: WINCHESTER, VIRGINIA AND ITS BEGINNINGS, 1743-1814, Heritage Books: 2002, p. 126.]
Waite believed that the missing Slave Sam Lee was going to the abode of his presumed master, Thomas ap Catesby Jones [1790-1858], a controversial and colorful U.S. Navy officer. His career, which spanned five decades, is most notable for his unauthorized seizure from Mexico of Monterey California, in 1842, when the United States and Mexico were formally at peace. Col. Roger Jones [1789-1852], the recipient of this Letter, was the brother of Thomas. Roger was Adjutant-General of the United States Army from 1825-1852. A Marine Corpsman from 1809-1812, he joined the Army as Captain of Artillery in the War of 1812. He was breveted Major after the Battle of Chippewa, then Lieutenant Colonel for gallantry at Fort Eric. He was eventually breveted Major General in 1848. William B. Page was a resident of Frederick County and served as a State Senator from 1823-1826. Item #36198

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