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Patrick Henry to James Townes, March 20, 1797
Your Letter by Mr. Bookers Servant I have recd. I am not acquainted with the Land he proposes to sell so as to make an offer for it, having not veiwed it. I can only say it will suit me if I can get a good Title to it at a reasonable price—I would wish to see a Copy of the Deed from Jno. Booker to W. M. Booker, & to know whether any thing & what has been done in the Suit below brought by [Terry Dick] Booker & others to obtain the Custody of John & his Estate, & whether that Suit is now depending, or dismissed—This Information is essential & you can easily procure it—The Situation of the Negroes requires attention without Loss of Time. It is said they have no Corn for themselves or the work Beasts. As to other Things you know how they are supplyed— I request therefore that you & M. W. M. Booker will come up imediately bringing a Power of Attorney from Jno. Booker to dispose of the Land in fee simple—Or if Mr. W. M. Booker cannot come, you will bring a Power from him & John to do it. I will then go with you & veiw every part of the Land & so both of us will be enabled to judge of its Value. I must make the Bargain with you, if I do it at all. I have good Grounds to suppose I could make a payment towards it Pretty shortly, & have no Doubt the other might be made to suit—Several Tracts of Land around are offered to me for Sale—But I shall suspend any & all Contracts of that Sort 'til I hear from you—I would propose to take every thing on the Land except the Negroes, if we can agree, & I can supply Corn for the Plantation Use during the Summer—I will expect to hear from you quickly & remain Sir y. ob. hble Serv.
Patrick Henry National Memorial at Red Hill.
James Townes served as an intermediary for Patrick Henry's 1797 purchase of Seven Islands in Halifax County, Virginia, from John Booker, William Marshall Booker, and William's wife Elizabeth, who sold the property to recover debts. Townes was also involved in other business between Henry and William M. Booker, including transactions in crops, livestock, and slaves. Patrick Henry Memorial Foundation, Red Hill (http://www.redhill.org/about/patrickhenry/patrick-henrys-family [accessed: 2016-05-27]); Genealogy Trails, History of Halifax County, Virginia (genealogytrails.com/vir/halifax/historyhalifaxbook_families.html [accessed: 2016-05-27]); Stanton Scenic River Tour: Seven Islands (http://www.oldhalifax.com/county/SevenIslands.htm [accessed: 2016-05-27]).