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Charles Massie

Charles Massie (1727-1817) was an Albemarle County landowner whose plantation, Spring Valley, provided apples and cider to Monticello.

Thomas Jefferson's business relationship with Massie began in 1812 and lasted until Jefferson's death in 1826. Their transactions are documented in a number of notations in Jefferson's account books and a handful of letters. Scholars have determined that Jefferson actually dealt directly with Charles Massie's son, also named Charles (1765-1830), rather than the elder Charles: the correspondence continues after the elder Massie's death, but the handwriting remains unchanged.

Nine letters are known to have been exchanged between Charles Massie the younger and Thomas Jefferson, though two letters are unlocated. All of the letters are brief and deal more or less exclusively with arrangements for buying, selling, and delivering cider.

Primary Source References

1812 Apr. 6. "Pd. Charles Massey for cyder at 10½d pr. gallon 9.67."1

1815 Dec. 22. "Pd. Charles Massie for 143. galls. cyder 143/ + 7/ for bringing = 25.D."2

1817 Mar. 3. "Pd. John Wynn for Charles Massie for cyder 37.67."3

1818 Oct. 26. "[P]d. this day to Massie 35."4

1819 June 12. "Drew on Jas. Leitch in favr. Charles Massie for 37.98. for 211. galls. cyder @ .18."5

1820 Oct. 25. "[Gave] John Winn for Charles Massie for cyder 34.83"6

1822 Oct. 9. "Left at Mr. Winn's for CHas. Massie for cyder of 1821 30.15."7

1822 Dec. 21. "Recd. of Chas. Massie 139 galls. cyder. hhd. xp. 1.50."8

1823 Mar. 21. "1823. Mar. statement of debts ... Massie Charles 23.16 ...."9

1823 Aug. 4. "Gave Charles Massey ord. on Jas. Leitch 23.17 D. for cyder."10

1823 Dec. 19. "Recd. from Charles Massey 151. galls. of cyder."11

1824 May 16. "Drew on B. Peyton in favor of John Winn for 64.85 ¶ this pays my assumpsit for ... Charles Massie for cyder ante Dec. 19 22.65."12

1825 Jan. 26. "Recd. of Charles Massie 90. galls. cyder."13

1825 Aug. 10. "Pd. Winn and Davis for Massie for cyder 14.70 ante Jan. 26. Recd. from them cash 35.30."14

1826 Apr. 18. "Gave order on Jas. Leitch in favor of Dr. Massie for Chas. Massie for 20.40. for 102. galls. cyder."15

Further Sources

  • Jefferson-Massie Correspondence. Transcriptions available at Founders Online.
  • Betts. Farm Book. See "Still and Brewing," 413-21.
  • Hatch, Peter J. The Fruits and Fruit Trees of Monticello. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1998. See "Apples: 'Our Democratic Fruit,'" 59-78. Contains no mention of the Massies, but does discuss cider at Monticello and, more broadly, apple cultivation in Virginia in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.
  • Spring Valley Cemetery Association. A group composed of descendants of Charles Massie who are working to preserve the family cemetery at Spring Valley.
  • Woods. Albemarle. See pages 266-67.


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