John Craven (d. 1845) was probably born in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, where his parents lived.[1] He arrived in Albemarle County from Virginia's Loudoun County in 1800, and rented Tufton farm from Thomas Jefferson. He leased Tufton's 500 acres and 45 slaves for £350 a year until 1809 when Jefferson retired from the presidency.[2]

The relationship between the lessee Craven and the lessor Jefferson was not completely harmonious. Craven was disappointed with the Tufton farmhouse upon his arrival in 1801, and according to Thomas Mann Randolph, was very demanding of his landlord.[3] There are no surviving letters between Craven and Jefferson before 1807. In letters that survive from 1807 and 1808, the two men argue about their financial situation and who owes what to whom.[4] After Craven left Tufton, he and Jefferson apparently never wrote again, although they still did business together.[5]

In 1819, Craven purchased Pen Park, then comprising four hundred acres, from Richard Sampson. He had been collecting land for years, and by 1821 owned at least 1500 acres stretching from the top of Rich Mountain to Meadow Creek. He also owned a mill, known then as Park Mills and later known as Cochran's. He was married twice, first to "Elizabeth" and then to Mary Lewis Clarkson. His children were John D., George W., William, Elizabeth, Amanda, and Sarah.[6]


Primary Source References

1800 November 18. "Note 133 1/3 bush. of wheat were sown for Mr. Craven of which 12 were furnished by himself to be returned immedly. in kind."[7]

1801 September 7. "Recd. of J. H. Craven 209 ‚Ñî beef @ 4½d of which Moran takes 69. ‚Ñî from me. Recd. of do. 3200. ‚Ñî fodder."[8]

1801 September 22. "Recd. of John H. Craven 1100. ‚Ñî fodder @ 5/ & 1925. @ 4/6."[9]

1801 December 15. "Gave order on J. Barnes for 77.47 for 1000. ‚Ñî pork @ 46/6 in favr. John H. Craven."[10]

1802 February 19. "Inclosed a 10.D. bank note to J. H. Craven for Wanshaw."[11]

1802 March 8. "To approximate still nearer I should carry out Albemarle rents about & set off against them ... Corn furnished by Craven 100.B. 250 ...."[12]

1802 May 25. "Settled with John H. Craven balce. due me £101-12-6."[13]

1802 September 19. "On settlement with J. H. Craven three articles, to wit ... 102-1-9 overpay his corrected balance of 101-10-2½ balance due him over rent of 1801. 11-6½."[14]

1802 September 20. "G. Lilly has purchased a horse of J. H. Craven for me for £40. I now give him an order on F. Taliaferro for £10 the balance to go towards rent of 1802."[14]

1802 September 25. "Settled with F. Taliaferro as follows ... order favr. Craven ante Sep. 20 33.33 ...."[14]

1803 March 16. "Recd. of John H. Craven 150.D. for rent on acct."[17]

1803 May 4. "By letter from TMR. I am informed that Rives & co. credit John Perry 112.£ who credits it to me. I am to credit it to J. H. Craven who credits it to Rives & co. ... These disbursements have been met as follows ... do. [rents] allowed in acct. with Craven, Perry, Peyton abt. 700."[18]

1804 March 12. "Joseph Daugherty's accts. ... clover seed for John H. Craven 24 ...."[19]

1804 April 6. "Recieved from John H. Craven manifests for the following 14. hhds. tobo. which I enclosed to Gibson & Jefferson to be sold on account of John H. Craven out of the proceeds of which I am to take the rent due, & he to have the balance .... This hhd. No. 206. is set apart for J. Craven himself ...."[20]

1804 April 20. "... sold Kit to John Perry for £125. of which £30. is to be credited in the account for work done at Craven's, now due ...."[21]

1804 April 25. "Paid Williams for 90.b. lime for Craven's house 12.50 D."[21]

1804 May 5. "Settled with Michael Hope for the toll mill house, Craven's house, kitchen & barn .... Settled with John Perry for the mill house, Craven's house & kitchen .... Note the barn is nearly finished & to be settled for."[23]

1804 August 16. "Settled ... with John Perry ... Craven's barn £157-6-4½ his house & kitchen. plank. 20-16-6 ...."[24]

1804 November 30. "Inclosed the 40.D. to James Oldham in Richmd. & I am to answer his order for 20.D. in favor of J.H. Craven."[25]

1805 April 8. "On settlemt. with J. H. Craven a balance is due me of 93-11-4."[26]

1805 August 6. "Agreed with John H. Craven for 300. barrels of corn @ 12/6 one hundred here, and 200. from his place near Charlttesville."[27]

1807 April 25. "Recd. of J. H. Craven 30.D."[28]

1807 April 26. "Allowd. in J. H. Craven's acct. as follows on the ord. of John Perry, to be charged to J. P. 74-10 James Walker do. 26-0 a paiment to Wm. Madox do. 6-0 and drew an order on him in favr. Brown, Rives & co. for 57-15-3 (ante Sep. 28) and £2-12 int. which fully discharges my acct."[28]

1807 May 3. "Drew ord. on J. H. Craven in favr. D. Higginbotham for £100. Settled with J. H. Craven & pd. him 3/2½ balance due him."[28]

1807 September 25. "Assumed to pay for Wm. Mattox to J.H. Craven 7.08."[31]

1807 October 4. (Jefferson to Craven). "The last evening in which I saw you, you asked whether it would not answer my purpose if you let me know some weeks hence whether you would give up your river field in exchange for the privilege of clearing over the Colle road, we taking off 200 cords of the wood, to which I assented. but my principal view in getting that field of you is that I may unite the Meadow part of it with the meadow I hold above & below it. in that case I should begin immediately a thorn hedge to separate the meadow part from the hill, and must send the thorns on from here by my cart when she comes which will be in about a fortnight. I must therefore ask the favor of an earlier decision that I may engage the thorns. if you can let me know by the post which leaves Milton on the 10th. I shall have time to have the thorns taken up & packed in bundles by the arrival of the cart."[32]

1807 October 10. (Craven to Jefferson). "I this moment receivd yours of the 4th. and have not time before the mail Closes to give you a Satisfactory answer I have vewd the land proposed to be Cleard and am not So wel pleasd with it as I expected to be, from the line you have run not going So far up the mountain as I expected, there is two poore Stony redges which I Shall have to run round as I only want tobacco land I Should be glad to take the bottom from the fork of the park and Colly branch up to Mr bacons hous as part you wil want it Cleard and one Crop of tobacco wil be the best preperation it Can have for timothy there would not be more than two acres of it ...."[33]

1807 October 29. (Jefferson to Craven). "I have been so engaged on the meeting of Congress that I could not sooner answer your letter of the 10th. instant. I agree to your clearing the bottom land on the Park branch and so much West of the thoroughfare road opposite your present clearing as will be equal in quantity to the River field you give up to me, on the condition that of the 200. cords of wood which we are to take off, as much shall be from the bottom land beforementioned as it will yield. this part you are to take one crop from, and that of tobacco; the other to retain during the lease."[34]

1807 December 15. (Jefferson to Craven). "A large debt contracted at mr Higginbotham’s while I believed that every thing was going on even, has obliged me to turn over to him my rents in Albemarle. I have thought it might be convenient for you to be apprised of this in time, as you may perhaps have an opportunity of arranging things more to your own convenience with him. I have not yet heard of your draught of 200. D. on me. the money is reserved here in bank ready for it."[35]

1807 December 18. "Drew ord. on bank US. in favr. Wm. Payne assee. of J. H. Craven for 200.D. Note Craven had put that sum into the hands of E. Bacon to be applied to my use, & I repaid it here."[36]

1808 March 8. "Note the 30.D. above remitted to J. Perry, with his order for 70.D. in favr. of J. H. Craven debit him 100.D. for this month."[37]

1809 March 28. "Recd. of John H. Craven on acct. of rent 700.D. Balance remaining due to me pr. settlemt. £78-6."[38]

1809 March 31. "Paid David Higginbotham 600.D. & gave him an order on J. H. Craven for £78-6 = 261.D. ante Mar. 28."[38]

1810 January 2. "Accepted Elisha Watkins's order in favr. of J. H. Craven for £4-12 = 15.33. Recieved from J. H. Craven an order on Richard Anderson for £75. = 250.D."[40]

1810 August 6. "Settled acct. with Oglesby & Fitz for last year's rent of warehouse and after allowing £5-12-6 for J. H. Craven bringing up nailrod and 19-12-1 my ord. in favr. J. H. Craven I now recieve 16-13-8 balance 41-18-3."[41]

1814 April 23. "Craven's waterman bringing up fish 1.D."[42]

1816 March 4. "Paid ... to E. Bacon for ... John H. Craven 150. b. oats @ 3/6 87.50 ... of which he pd. to J. H. Craven for ship stuff 68.60."[43]

1817 June 10. "Inclosed to J. H. Craven for butter 1.D."[44]

1819 April 7. "Sent Mrs. Craven for butter 2.D."[45]

1819 June 14. "[Edmund Bacon] has pd. Craven for hay 20.D."[46]

1820 March 27. "J. H. Craven 8 ‚Ñî butter 2."[47]

1820 October 25. "Gave ... Isaiah Stout for John H. Craven for hay 23.10."[48]

1822 March 27. "Nace having delivered to Rand. & Colcl. 102 Bar. to Craven 125."[49]

- Doug Evans, Monticello Research Report, 1995


  1. ^ Woods, Albemarle173.
  2. ^ Agreement with John H. Craven, August 22, 1800, in PTJ, 32:108, 32:109n. (transcription and editorial note available at Founders Online); Indenture with John H. Craven for the Lease of Fields and Slaves at Tufton and Monticello, September 23, 1800, in PTJ, 32:163-66 (transcription available at Founders Online); Agreement with John H. Craven, September 20, 1803, in PTJ, 41:396-97. See Betts, Farm Book, 168-71.
  3. ^ Randolph to Jefferson, January 3, 1801, in PTJ, 32:390-91. Transcription available at Founders Online.
  4. ^ See, e.g., Craven to Jefferson, January 1, 1808, Massachusetts Historical Society (transcription available at Founders Online); Jefferson to Craven, January 12, 1808, Massachusetts Historical Society (transcription available at Founders Online).
  5. ^ See Memorandum on the Expiration of John H. Craven’s Lease, [ca. January 1, 1810], in PTJ:RS, 2:112, 2:112-13n. Transcription and editorial note available at Founders Online.
  6. ^ Woods, Albemarle174. See also Inventory and Appraisement of the Estate of John H. Craven, Will Book, No. 16, Albemarle County, Virginia, and Will of John H. Craven, Will Book, No. 17, Albemarle County, Virginia.
  7. ^ MB, 2:1030. Transcription available at Founders Online.
  8. ^ MB, 2:1050. Transcription available at Founders Online.
  9. ^ MB, 2:1051. Transcription available at Founders Online.
  10. ^ MB, 2:1060. Transcription available at Founders Online.
  11. ^ MB, 2:1065. Transcription available at Founders Online.
  12. ^ MB, 2:1068. Transcription available at Founders Online.
  13. ^ MB, 2:1073. Transcription available at Founders Online.
  14. ^ MB, 2:1081. Transcription available at Founders Online.
  15. ^ MB, 2:1081. Transcription available at Founders Online.
  16. ^ MB, 2:1081. Transcription available at Founders Online.
  17. ^ MB, 2:1094. Transcription available at Founders Online.
  18. ^ MB, 2:1098. Transcription available at Founders Online.
  19. ^ MB, 2:1121. Transcription available at Founders Online.
  20. ^ MB, 2:1124. Transcription available at Founders Online.
  21. ^ MB, 2:1125. Transcription available at Founders Online.
  22. ^ MB, 2:1125. Transcription available at Founders Online.
  23. ^ MB, 2:1125-26. Transcription available at Founders Online.
  24. ^ MB, 2:1134. Transcription available at Founders Online.
  25. ^ MB, 2:1141. Transcription available at Founders Online.
  26. ^ MB, 2:1150. Transcription available at Founders Online.
  27. ^ MB, 2:1161. Transcription available at Founders Online.
  28. ^ MB, 2:1202. Transcription available at Founders Online.
  29. ^ MB, 2:1202. Transcription available at Founders Online.
  30. ^ MB, 2:1202. Transcription available at Founders Online.
  31. ^ MB, 2:1212. Transcription available at Founders Online.
  32. ^ Coolidge Collection of Thomas Jefferson Manuscripts, Massachusetts Historical Society. Transcription available at Founders Online.
  33. ^ Ibid. Transcription available at Founders Online.
  34. ^ Ibid. Transcription available at Founders Online.
  35. ^ Ibid. Transcription available at Founders Online.
  36. ^ MB, 2:1217. Transcription available at Founders Online.
  37. ^ MB, 2:1221. Transcription available at Founders Online.
  38. ^ MB, 2:1244. Transcription available at Founders Online.
  39. ^ MB, 2:1244. Transcription available at Founders Online.
  40. ^ MB, 2:1251. Transcription available at Founders Online.
  41. ^ MB, 2:1259. Transcription available at Founders Online.
  42. ^ MB, 2:1299. Transcription available at Founders Online.
  43. ^ MB, 2:1319. Transcription available at Founders Online.
  44. ^ MB, 2:1334. Transcription available at Founders Online.
  45. ^ MB, 2:1353. Transcription available at Founders Online.
  46. ^ MB, 2:1356. Transcription available at Founders Online.
  47. ^ MB, 2:1363. Transcription available at Founders Online.
  48. ^ MB, 2:1370. Transcription available at Founders Online.
  49. ^ MB, 2:1384. Transcription available at Founders Online.