Robert C. Nicholas letter to George Hatley Norton, 1844 November 11


Robert C. Nicholas letter to George Hatley Norton, 1844 November 11





Folder 229


Richmond November 11th 1844

My dear Sir,

Your letter of the 19th ultimo
was duly received, in relation to the sale of the Effingham Forest
estate in Fauquier County, and inquiring what interest your
family had in the matter. I have been prevented
by constant engagements from replying soner to your
communications. The suit of Norton v. Norton has
been depending for about 40 years, having been institu-
ted originally in Winchester, but afterwards removed
to this City in consequence of Judge Tucker (who had been
counsel in the cause for several of the parties) being
made Chancellor of the Winchester District, and from his
unwillingness to sit in this case. Some seven or eight
years since, there was a decree for the sale of the
Fauquier lands, and a sale was made in pursuance
thereof and Charle

s B. Smith became the purchaser.
He refused to comply with the terms of sale, and
proceedings were instituted against him to com-
pel a performance of the purchase, during which[illegible]
died, and the proceedings were continued for some time against
his heirs, during which there were two elaborate ar-
guments upon the question whether the heirs should
be compelled to pay the purchase money. The Court
ultimately decided against them, and upon their failing
to pay, decreed a resale of the property, which second
sale, was the one you saw advertized. The property
was resold, and [illegible]out to Joseph Smith, a
brother of the former purchaser, and one of his
sureties in the purchase. It did not sell for as
much by several thousand dollars as at the first
sale, and Joseph Smith and A. Barbee the other surety
of Charles Smith resisted the performance of the contract
of sale, upon grounds similar to those before taken
by the heirs of Charles Smith. But the Court over-
ruled their objections, and decided that Joseph
Smith should pay the amount of the second pur-
chase, and that he and Barbee should make up the deficien-
cy in the first purchase. In am fearful however that
these decrees will prove unavailing, as both of these
parties have become insolvent since the first pur-
chase by Charles Smith. If so, the land will have to be resold.

Your family, as constituting a portion of the heirs of your grandfather,
John H. Norton deceased are parties to the suit, and have a
nominal interest in the disposition of the proceeds of
the property under the control of the Court. The [illegible]
however brought by the creditors of J. H. N. to subject
the wholeto their debts, under 2 mortgages made by him
in his life time, and Mrs. Ambler claimed to charge it
for the annuity devised to her by his will, which
with the interest would exceed the whole value of the
estate. I am of opinion that the whole fund will be exhausted
either by the creditors, or by Mrs. Ambler's annuity, in which event,
there would be nothing left for the heirs of J. H. Norton.
My own individual interest is in conflict with that of the heirs.
Mr. Philip Harrison a lawyer of this City, is counsel for several
of the heirs, but I am not aware that your father is repre-
sented by any particular counsel, though his interest in the
questions involved in the suit, is the same with that of the
other heirs represented by Mr. Harrison.

Yours very truly,

George H. Norton Esquire Robert C. Ncholas

George H. Norton Esuire
Theological Seminary

Original Format

Ink on paper


Nicholas, Robert Carter, “Robert C. Nicholas letter to George Hatley Norton, 1844 November 11,” John Norton & Sons Papers, John D. Rockefeller Jr. Library, accessed November 28, 2022,