Jefferson's Nephews: A Frontier Tragedy

By Boynton Merrill Jr. | Go to book overview

APPENDIX 2
THE COLLE SALE

THE background of the dispute over the sale of Colle and some of the details of the transaction are discussed in this appendix.

About nineteen years before this time, Mazzei had come to Virginia to live, bringing with him a small group of fellow countrymen from Italy. They were skilled in various trades, and one, named Anthony Gianinni, was a horticulturist.1 Part of Anthony's written agreement with Mazzei was that Mazzei was to pay his passage back to Italy if the vintner decided to return to his homeland. Jefferson stood as security for, or personally guaranteed, this agreement with the worker.2 Anthony went to work for Jefferson when Mazzei returned to Europe. It appears that Anthony was periodically homesick, for as early as 1780 he wished to return to Italy, and twelve years later, at the time Jefferson sold Colle to Thomas, Anthony was pressing his claims for passage and also for clothing which, he said, was due him by agreement.3 Jefferson had persuaded Anthony not to sue Mazzei and himself, since Jefferson intended to pay Anthony's claim out of the money that would be forthcoming from the sale of Colle to Thomas.4

Another of the Italian craftsmen who came to Albemarle and stayed after Mazzei left was a gardener named Giovannini. He was employed by Jefferson for some period of time, and Jefferson thought well of him.

Col. Charles L. Lewis learned of the intentions of Anthony and, apparently confusing Giovannini with Anthony Gianinni, mistakenly feared that both Italians planned to place an attachment on Colle and sue for their money. Colonel Lewis wrote a letter to Jefferson.5 Thomas and his security, Colonel Lewis, were then six months overdue in paying for Colle, which did not surprise Jefferson, but the news that Giovannini was to claim money from Mazzei's estate did shock him, as is evident in Jefferson's reply to the colonel's letter:

Philadelphia June 4, 1793

Dear Sir

The constant calls of public business which scarcely ever permit
me to turn to what is private, will I hope apologize for my late
acknolegement of your letter of March 22. on the subject of the

-348-

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Jefferson's Nephews: A Frontier Tragedy
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vi
  • Constructing Jefferson's Nephews ix
  • Preface xxv
  • Preface to First Edition xxix
  • Acknowledgments xxx
  • 1: Colonial Days 3
  • 2: The Fight for Freedom 12
  • 3: A Colonel in the Militia 20
  • 4: Prosperity 29
  • 5: The Virginia Planter 38
  • 6: The Shipwreck of the Fortunes 44
  • 7: Craven Peyton, Thomas Jefferson, and the Hendersons 55
  • 8: Jefferson and the Lewises 71
  • 9: The Plan to Emigrate 84
  • 10: The Trip to Kentucky 97
  • 11: The Land and Towns 111
  • 12: Houses and Crops 123
  • 13: The Smithland Neighbors 134
  • 14: Issues in West Kentucky, 1808 143
  • 15: The County Court 151
  • 16: The Year of Trouble, 1809 163
  • 17: Lilburne Enters Public Life 175
  • 18: The Church in West Kentucky 189
  • 19: The Presbyterian Lewises 203
  • 20: Insecurity 215
  • 21: Community Affairs, 1810 226
  • 22: Slavery in Livingston 234
  • 23: Tremors in the Dynasty 240
  • 24: Annus Mirabilis 248
  • 25: The Murder 256
  • 26: After the Murder 266
  • 27: The First Grand Jury 274
  • 28: The True Bill 285
  • 29: The Graveyard 293
  • 30: The Orphans 303
  • 31: During the War 312
  • 32: The Aftereffects 322
  • 33: The Epilogue 329
  • Appendix 1 - Notes on Lewis Genealogy 339
  • Appendix 2 - The Colle Sale 348
  • Appendix 3 - The Interview with Matilda 351
  • Appendix 4 - Medical Notes 353
  • Appendix 5 - Lilburne Lewis's Estate 359
  • Index 441
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