Winchester, Frederick County, Virginia: 1829. Folio, 8-1/4" x 13-1/4". ,  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