Lot 4: Partly-printed vellum DS, signed "Th: Jefferson" as president and "James Madison" as secretary of state, one page, 12.25 x 10.25, February 15, 1802. President Jefferson confers a title to a tract of land in the Northwest Territory to the widow of a Canadian who was loyal to the rebel cause during the American Revolution. In part: "In pursuance of the act of Congress…entitled 'An Act regulating the grants of Land appropriated for the Refugees from the British Provinces of Canada and Nova Scotia,' there is granted unto Martha Walker, a certain tract of land estimated to contain Three hundred seventeen acres…of the lands set apart and reserved for the purpose of satisfying the claims of the Refugees aforesaid and surveyed and located in pursuance of the act above recited." Neatly signed at the conclusion by President Jefferson and countersigned by Secretary of State Madison. A striking ink and watercolor map of the land is drawn on the reverse, showing Franklinton, the Scioto River, Whetstone River, and Allum Creek in relation to Walker's plot of land. The seal affixed to the lower left remains mostly intact. In very good condition, with intersecting folds, scattered soiling, dampstaining to the lower portion, and a tiny repaired hole affecting only the "J" in Jefferson's signature.
Martha Walker was the widow of Thomas Walker, a British merchant in Montreal who challenged the local English military authorities and eventually took up the American cause for independence. His involvement as a radical in local politics resulted in him being severely beaten by British soldiers who broke into his home and cut off his ear and part of his cheek. In addition to promoting revolt among his fellow Canadians, Walker rubbed shoulders with some of America's most important revolutionaries; he supplied military information to Benedict Arnold and later to Ethan Allen, and also housed Benjamin Franklin, Samuel Chase, and Charles Carroll at his home in Montreal when the three arrived in the city early in 1776. Once the federal government was in place and stable, Congress initiated the process for distributing lands to Canadian refugees and made good on the promise of land grants to those who supported the Revolution. Featuring signatures of two founding fathers, the unusual detailed hand-drawn map on the reverse, and direct association with the American Revolution, this is an exceptional document in all respects.
RR Auction's Fine Autographs and Artifacts Auction 453
Sunday, 17th May 2015
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