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Martin Dawson

Martin Dawson (1772-1835) was the youngest of nine children of John and Sarah Carroll Dawson. He was born at the family home near Faber's Mills in Nelson County, not far from the Albemarle County line. When he came of age, he moved to Milton, in Albemarle County, and became connected with Brown, Rives, & Company. After amassing a considerable fortune, he moved his business from Milton to Scottsville. From 1808 until his death, Dawson was a county magistrate. He was also one of the first school commissioners in Albemarle County. He never married.

Dawson lived in Milton until 1822, when he purchased and moved into Bellair, the former home of Charles Wingfield, Jr., on the Hardware River near Carter's Bridge. In the late 1820s, he became president of the Rivanna Navigation Company, created by the Virginia General Assembly to develop a channel near where the Rivanna River meets the James.1 In his will, he freed his slaves and left them each $200 to start a new life. He also left a tract of land to the University of Virginia, and money for the foundation of three free public schools, two in Albemarle County and one in Nelson County. To do this, the money was transferred to the Literary Fund of Virginia, a constitutionally created fund to build public schools in the state.

Thomas Jefferson's relationship with Dawson was primarily financial. He was not Jefferson's chief supplier, but he did supply Jefferson with staples from time to time. Dawson also bought 256 acres of land from Jefferson below Milton in 1817, land that Jefferson had bought in 1801.2

Douglas Evans, "Jefferson's Neighbors," Monticello Research Report, 1995

Primary Source References

1802 October 7. "Gave ord. on Gibson & Jefferson in favr. Martin Dawson for Brown Rives & co., for 1000.D."3

1803 September 17. "Pd. Martin Dawson for Fontrees for a horse bot."4

1803 October 15. "Inclosed to Martin Dawson for reeves & co. 120.D. See Oct. 1. 1802."5

1804 January 30. "Note 200.D. of Cary's price has been paid by Lilly to Dawson."6

1804 May 5. "Settled with Michael Hope .... Gave him my note to Martin Dawson to remit him 100.D."7

1804 July 9. "Inclosed to Martin Dawson 100.D. for Michael Hope."8

1805 June 14. "Inclosed to Gabr. Lilly 560.D. to be applied as follows ... Dawson 8. do. @ do. 20."9

1805 September 27. "Drew do. in favor Martin Dawson for 100.D."10

1805 October 7. "On a settlement of Sep. 27. with J. Perry for the manufactg. mill & 2 miller's house ... I promised to pay for him as follows ... M. Dawson 350D."11

1805 December 16. "Recd. from bank US. 760.D. ... Inclosed to Martin Dawson 200.D."12

1806 February 10. "Received from US. 1050.D. Inclosed to ... Martin Dawson 100."13

1806 March 10. "Recd. from bank US. 1310.D. & inclosed them as follows ... Martin Dawson on acct. 100.D."14

1806 May 10. "Pd. Martin Dawson 100.D."15

1806 August 12. "Pd. Martin Dawson on acct. 100.D."16

1806 October 28. "I owe to Brown Rives & co. according to an acct. rendered me by Martin Dawson £57-15-3 principal & £4-3-2 interest of which I wrote an acknolegement at the foot of the account."17

1810 August 6. "Pd. Martin Dawson for 6. cattle bot. at Larkin Harlow's sale 42.75."18

1811 August 25. "Recd. from Rob. Rives an ord. on Martin Dawson for 12.34 overpaid by my order ante July 20."19

1811 October 11. "Acceptd. James Salmon's ord. in favr. Martin Dawson for 18.21 payable Nov. 1."20

1812 January 12. "Accepted James Salmon's ord. in favr. Martin Dawson for 14.21 & int. from Aug. 1. say to Mar. 15 = .53."21

1812 June 1. "Drew ord. on Gibson & Jefferson in favr. of Martin Dawson for 176.92 in full of his account."22

1812 August 3. "Drew order on Gibson & Jefferson in favor of Martin Dawson for 72.91 of which 66.37 is for corn @ 20/3.33 for Cradock water carriage & 3.21 for merchandize."23

1813 July 28. "Drew ord. on Gibson & Jefferson in favr ... Martin Dawson do. 95.43."24

1814 March 6. "Drew ord. on do. for 280.D. in favr. Martin Dawson assee. of Craven Peyton for 84. B. corn @ 20/dated Mar. 1."25

1815 May 12. "Pd. Martin Dawson his acct. to 1815. May 1. in full 88.06."26

1815 October 22. "Bought a mule 4. y. old of Jesse Abell of Kentucky and gave him an order on Watson & Dawson for 80.D."27

1816 May 6. "Drew on Gibson & Jefferson in favor of Martin Dawson for 77.85 for 7541. lb oats and 1800. lb fodder."28

1816 June 2. "Martin Dawson. do. 24.87."29

1816 June 21. "Gave Roland Goodman ord. on Martin Dawson for 1. barrel fish 8 1/2 D. 100. lb bacon @ 1/16.67=25.17 See post July 17."30

1816 July 17. "Roland Goodman informs me he made no use of the order on M. Dawson ante June 21. but instead of it got from James Leitch 100. lb bacon @ 1/3 on my acct."31

1817 July 20. "Recd. of Martin Dawson cash 1657.44 ... being the price of the lands sold him below Milton."32

1818 April 1. "Gave to Charles Vest ord. on Martin Dawson for 87.43 the balance due from him to me for 256. as. of Henderson's tract of land sold him."33

1820 March 23. "pd. M. Dawson my note for Laporte 305.62."34

1820 April 13. "Accepted Edmund Meeks's ord. in favr. Martin Dawson for 166.67."35

1820 October 23. "Drew on B. Peyton in favr. Martin Dawson for 339.52 to wit."36

1820 October 27. "Accepted Edmd. Meeks' ord. in favr. Martin Dawson for 18.35 payble Jan. 1."37

1821 March 5. "Drew on him in favr. Martin Dawson 94.62."38

1822 June 12. "Martin Dawson store acct. 65.26."39

1822 September 4. "Drew on do. in favr. Martin Dawson for 49.54 the amt. of my acct. from Aug. 1. 21. to Aug. 5. 22 and including an assumpsit of 21.79 for Ewen Carden which charge to him accordingly."40

1822 October 16. "Accepted do. in favor Martin Dawson for 80. payable June 1."41

1823 March 21. "1823. Mar. Statement of debts ... Dawson Martin (for E. Bacon) 80."42

1824 February 13. "Gave Martin Dawson ord. on Bern. Peyton for 120.73."43

1825 March 30. "Gave Martin Dawson ord. on Raphael 15.67 store acct."44

Jefferson-Dawson Correspondence

1810 March 7. Jefferson and Eli Alexander to Dawson and William D. Meriwether.45

1810 March 8. Dawson and William D. Meriwether to Jefferson.46

1815 October 22. Jefferson to Dawson with Jesse Abell’s Receipt.47

1815 December 29. Dawson to Jefferson.48

1820 February 16. Dawson to Jefferson.49

1820 July 21. Jefferson to Dawson.50

1820 October 26. Dawson to Jefferson.51

1821 February 1. Dawson to Jefferson.52

1823 August 16. Dawson to Jefferson.53

1824 September 19. Dawson to Jefferson.54

1825 November 10. Dawson to Jefferson.55

Further Sources


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