Colonial Williamsburg Foundation Library Research Report Series - 1086
Colonial Williamsburg Foundation Library
This is a rough draft. The last 10 pages I would very much want to re-write.
You will note in the Appendix that I have only the abstracts of some of the deeds, etc. I would want the deed itself, which, of course, can be gotten easy.
Consists of short outline. Four names used for house: Nicolson. Power. Slaughter. Lindseley. Photographs, remarks on conditions of house at time taken, etc.
Raymond C. Townsend
The Robert Nicolson house is located below the Capitol on the north side of York road leading to Yorktown on lot 26 in the 1749 survey made by William Waller.1
The land upon which this lot and those adjoining were laid off is part of several larger tracts of land acquired by Mann Page of Rosewell, Gloucester County, early in the Eighteenth Century and later sold by his son to Benjamin Waller.
Mann Page died January 24, 1730, deeply indebted to several persons in Great Britain and the Colony. His son Mann Page II inherited the land and subsequently found himself unable to pay off his father's debts nor fulfill the legacies of his will. In order to raise money for these purposes, Articles of Agreement were signed on December 13, 1743 between Benjamin Waller and Mann Page, whereby Page agreed to sell to Waller in fee simple the tracts of land located on the East, North, and West sides of Williamsburg. The consideration was twenty shillings sterling for even acre; half to be paid at the date of the agreement and the other half to be paid when Mann Page obtained an Act of the Virginia Assembly to enable him to sell off his father's lands.2
The petition of Mann Page "… to sell and dispose of certain intailed Lands, to raise Money for the Paiment of his Father's debts,… was presented to the House of Burgess on September 13, 1744. The bill, after several deliberations, was passed by the House and the Council, and on October 24 was approved by the Governor. On April 3, 1747, the confirmation and ratification of the Act by his Majesty was received and ordered to be registered by the Council.
Benjamin Waller laid off into numbered lots part of the land on the East side of Williamsburg that he had acquired from Page. This was surveyed in April 1749 by William Waller and recorded in the York County Court.
Lot 25, to the west of lot 26, was conveyed February 17, 1748/49 by Waller to Alexander Craig, Sadler of Williamsburg, for the consideration of ten pounds:
…Benjamin Waller Hath…Sold…unto the said Alexander Craig…All that…Lot of Land…on the North Side of the main Road leading…towards York Town…which said Lot is Denoted in the plan thereof by the Figures 25…
Lot 27, to the east of lot 26, was conveyed March 19, 1749/50 by Waller to Samuel Spurr, Bricklayer of Williamsburg, for the consideration of ten pounds:
…Benjamin Waller Hath… Sold… unto the said Samuel Spurr…all that…Lot of Land…on the North side of the main Road leading from the said City towards York Town…which said Lot is denoted in the Plan thereof by the Figures 273
The first owner of lot 26 was James Spiers, Cabinet Maker of Williamsburg, who purchased the lot from Waller on May 23, 1750:
…Consideration of the sum of Ten Pounds Current Money…Benjamin Waller and Martha his Wife…Have…sold…unto…James Speirs…All that…Lott of Land lying…on the North side of the Main Road leading from the said City towards York Town…bounded as followeth, to wit: Beginning on the said Main Road at the South East Corner of the Lott sold Alexander Craig thence down the Road South Eighty Degrees East five Poles to the Lott sold Samuel Spurr thence along his Lott North half a Degree East fourteen Poles to his Corner thence North Eighty five Degrees West five Poles to the said Craigs Lott thence along his Lott South half a Degree West fourteen Poles to the first station which said Lott is Denoted in the plan thereof Annexed to the said Wallers Deed to Stephen Brown recorded in the Court of York County by the Figures 26…
This deed contained Waller's building and tree clauses as did most of the deeds for these lots. Spiers was to build:
…within the space of three years…on the Lott£one good Dwellin House Containing Sixteen feet in width and twenty feet in length at least with a Brick Chimney thereto the said House to Front in a line with the Row of Lotts in which it stands at the Distance of six feet from the Extreme Southern Bounds of the said Lott£
If the above was not complied with, the lot was to revert to Waller "…as if the same had not been disposed of…
The tree clause stated:
…shall and may be Lawful…for the said Benjamin Waller…at any time within the Space of one Year…to go upon the Premises hereby sold and to cut Down and Carry away all or any of the Trees and Wood thereon Growing or being…to have and to take to his…own use…4
Spiers retained possession for almost a year but evidently did not build nor develop the lot as on May 17, 1751, he sold it to Robert Nicolson, tailor of Williamsburg, for ten pounds, the same amount he originally paid Waller.
…Between James Spiers… of the one part and Robert Nicolson…Taylor of the other part…in Consideration of the Sum of ten Pounds Current Money…James Spiers Hath…Sold…unto the said Robert Nicolson…All that…Lot of Land…on the North side of the Main Road leading from the said City towards York Town…Beginning on the said Main Road at the South East Corner of the Lott of Alexander Craig Thence down the Road South Eighty Degrees East five Poles to the Lott of Samuel Spurr Thence along his Lot North half a Degree East fourteen Poles to his Corner…Thence North eighty five Degrees West five Poles to the said Criags Lot Thence along his Lot South half a Degree West fourteen Poles to the first Station which said Lot is denoted in the Plan thereof by the figures 26 and is the Lot of Land the said James Spiers purchased of Benjamin Waller Esqr & Martha his Wife…
Although no record of a transaction has been located Nicolson also owned a lot on the south side of York Street, nearly opposite to his house. This was probably lot 54 as shown in the Browne map and others.
In 1767, the Virginia Gazette carried an account of what Robert Nicolson had heard and seen in an attempted duel between Arthur Lee and James Mercer; the latter, at this time, was lodging at Nicolson's. From this account the location of Nicolson's shop across from this house is noted.
According to Nicolson, Mr. Mercer, prior to leaving for the dueling grounds, had his man bring his landlord [Nicolson] to witness some deeds.5
Nicolson and his son, after attesting to the writings,
…immediately went over the street to the Shop. In less than five minutes, Mr. Mercer came out of the street door, and clapping it pretty hard after him, I looked over, and saw him come down the steps,…
The first evidence found of Robert Nicolson in Williamsburg appears in the account book of Alexander Craig, Harness Maker and Sadler of Williamsburg, for sundry work performed for Nicolson in 1750. 
Nicolson was a tailor as is noted in the deed from Speirs. Where he lived or had a shop prior to purchasing lot 26 on York Street in May 1751, is unknown. In the settlement of the estate of Matthew Hubbard, in a bill dated march 15, 1751/52, Nicolson was paid 16 shillings for making "the boys Cloaths."
Nicolson soon built on lot 26 a house suitable to accommodate lodgersapparently. Cuthbert Ogle, a Music Teacher, advertised in March 28, 1755:
THE Subscriber, living at Mr. Nicholson's, in Williamsburg, proposes to teach Gentlemen and Ladies to play on the Organ, Harpsichord or Spinett; and to instruct those Gentlemen that play on other Instruments, so as to enable them to play in Concert. Upon having Encouragement I will fix in any Part of the Country.
Ogle died while at Nicolson's and Nicolson assumed the administration of his estate. From the settlement we learn the charges against Ogle for 6 a "Room and board 3 weeks was, by agreement, £3 a month and amounted to £2..5..-.
September 3, 1766, Nicolson reported in the Virginia Gazette a horse and various personal items stolen from his stable. He offered a 20 shilling reward for information and 5 pounds on conviction of the thief.
"WILLIAMSBURG, SEPTEMBER 5, 1766.
STOLEN out of my stable, some time last night, or early this morning, a middle sized sorrel horse, with a roached mane and bob tail, but the brand forgot. It is imagined that the person who stole the horse broke open a chair box, and took a pair of Boots, two pair of mans pumps, and a dowlas shirt, with several other things. Whoever brings the said horse to me, or gives me such information as I may get him again, shall have TWENTY SHILLINGS reward, and on conviction of the thief FIVE POUNDS,
Williamsburg was a very busy and crowded town during the meeting of the Assembly and General Court. One traveler to Williamsburg wrote, "…at the times of the assemblies, and general courts, it is crowded with the gentry of the country. Many of the residents took advantage 7 of this and offered board and lodging at their houses. September 12, 1766, Nicolson advertised:
WILLIAMSBURG, SEPTEMBER 12, 1766.
GENTLEMEN who attend the General Courts and Assembly may be accommodated with genteel LODGINGS have BREAKFAST and good STABLING for their HORSES, by applying to
Nicolson practiced his craft as a tailor and in January 1, 1767, advertised for Journeymen tailors and also cloth and thread for sale.
WILLIAMSBURG, Jan. 1, 1767.
that understand their business, will meet with good encouragement by applying to ROBERT NICOLSON
?I have a quantity of GLASGOW CHECKS, CHECKT HOLLAND, BROWN HOLLAND, WHITED BROWN THREAD, &c. which will be sold on reasonable terms, for ready money.
In January 1767, Nicolson purchased 35 acres for 125 pounds current money, from William Trebell, Williamsburg Tavern Keeper. This land was located west of Williamsburg.8
He advertised in April 1769:
Peter Feskin, a lodger with Nicolson's, advertised June 20, 1771.
Williamsburg, April 25, 1769.
THE subscriber has on hand a few of Mr. MERCER'S ABRIDGMENT, Which he will now sell at 15s. a piece.
In August 29, 1771, he again advertised for journeymen tailors:
WILLIAMSBURG, June 20, 1771
IF JAMES FESKIN, a Weaver by Trade, Who sailed from Port Glasgow the latter end of last Year, or the Beginning of this, for Virginia, will apply to the Subscriber, at Mr. Robert Nicolson's, he will hear of something to his Satisfaction.
In June 16, 1772, he advertised for a strayed or stolen horse.
TWO JOURNEYMEN TAILORS, who are sober descreet Lads, and complete Workmen. Such may have Encouragement by applying to me in Williamsburg.
? Set of BLACKSMITHS TOOLS to be sold cheap. Inquire as above.
WILLIAMSBURG, June 17, 1772.
STRAYED or stolen from the Subscriber, on the Night of the 31st of May last, a middle sized dark bay HORSE, with his mane new roached and Tail bobbed, and branded on the near Buttock I c. Whoever will bring the said Horse to me shall have TEN SHILLINGS Reward.
Robert Agnew, an apothecary from London traveling through the colonies, advertised he was staying at Robert Nicolson's.
WILLIAMSBURG, July 23, 1772.
I ROBERT AGNEW, late an Apothecary
in London, being desirous to see the Colonies in America, undertook The Journey last March, and arrived at Norfolk, in Virginia, the 14th of May following.
…[Testamonies and various medicines for sale.]
I intend to set out from my present Lodgings in this City (which are at Mr. Robert Nicolson's) on my intended Journey to Orange County, in North Carolina, on Monday next.
Nicolson again advertised for journeymen tailors.
WILLIAMSBURG, October 22, 1772.
JOURNEYMEN TAILORS' that are good workmen, and soberly disposed, will have proper Encouragement from
On May 12, 1773, Nicolson purchased from William Holt, a merchant, part of lot 56 on the Duke of Gloucester street.
…BETWEEN William Holt of the County of James City Merchant…and Robert Nicolson of the City of Williamsburg Merchant…in Consideration…of Fifty Pounds Current Money of Virginia…Hath…sold…unto the said Robert Nicolson…all that…Parcel of Ground…being in the said City of Williamsburg and bounded as follows…Beginning at the West Corner of Henry Nicolsons Lot on Nicholson Street thence to extend up the said Street and along the line thereof thirty feet to William Pasteurs Lot thence Southwardly along the said Pasteurs Lot one hundred and seventy seven feet and to butt against the North west Corner of the ground sold by Andrew Sprowle Charles Turnbull Thomas Yuille and Robert Miller to the said Robert Nicolson by Indenture of even date with these presents thence 9a
The lot is two10 running Eastwardly along the line of the said Nicolson thirty feet equal to and paralel with the first line to the Lot of the said Henry Nicolson thence along his Lot to the beginning…
doorsLots east of the Raleigh Tavern and in the business section of Williamsburg. It may be that Nicolson purchased this lot as a better location for his business of a tailor. [Appendix II, for short bibliography of previous owners.]
This is the first mention of Nicolson as a merchant. On February 18, 1773, he advertised:
WILLIAMSBURG, February 18, 1773.
ALL Persons who have any Demands against the Estate of James Nicolson, deceased, are desired to apply for Payment, and those indebted thereto to be speedy in settleing with
ROBERT NICOLSON, Executor.
Who has for SALE A QUANTITY OF GARDEN SEEDS
Again on October 28, 1773, he advertised:
A FRESH Assortment just imported, viz. EARLIEST PEASE, WINDSOR BEANS, CABBAGE SEEDS of sundry Sorts, GARDEN CRESSES, WHITE MUSTARD, fine COLLIFLOWER SEED, WHITE and PURPLE BROCOLI, TURNIP SEED (of a very large Kind) with all the others small Seeds comonly used in private Gardens.
James Mercer appears to have continued making Nicolson's his lodgings while in Williamsburg, he advertised:
Williamsburg, November 4, 1773.
I SHALL return here the 20th instant: In the interim Mr. Robert Nicolson will receive any payments that any person may incline to make him for
Nicolson continued his craft of a tailor. In June 3, 1774, Robert Carter Nicholson, Treasurer of the Colony, paid "Robt Nicolson for Clothing the Door keepers £20.11.4.
On August 19, 1773, he advertised for a run-a-way tailor:
Williamsburg, August 19, 1773.
TEN POUNDS REWARD.
ABSCONDED last Sunday morning, John BAIN, by trade a tailor. He is about four and twenty years of age, wears his own short light coloured hair, his face is full of spots and pimples, and he is much addicted to liquor. He went off with one PETRIE, a gardener who is a stout made man; and they were seen the day after, about twelve miles from town, on the road to Ruffin's ferry. It is supposed they intend for Alexandria. The above reward will be paid on bringing him to
In April 1774, he advertised his intentions of leaving the Colony and in his absence, his business would be conducted by his son William.
WILLIAMSBURG, April 23, 1774.
AS I intend leaving the Colony about the last of next Month, and to return some Time in October, I think it necessary to acquaint my Customers that the Business in the Meanwhile will be carried on by my Son William Nicolson, whom I flatter myself will use his best Endeavours to give general Satisfaction.
In November 23, 1774, Nicolson purchased 130 acres for 230 pounds current money from the executor of James Sims.
He advertised in November 1774:
Just IMPORTED, a fresh Assortment of GARDEN SEEDS. Also a small Assortment of EUROPEAN GOODS. Which are to be SOLD, for ready Money only, by
Williamsburg, November 10, 1774.
The above may have been from his new location on part of lot 56 on the Duke of Gloucester street. He retained his property on York street and rented it to William Page, "Vendue Master,"needs explanation average person today does not understand this term. who advertised in January 1775:
BEGS leave to inform the publick in general, and his friends in particular, that he has removed to the store formerly occupied by Mr. Robert Nicolson, a little below the Capitol, where he still continues selling, on commission, at publick and private sale, all kinds of MERCHANDISE, or whatever may be committed to his care, for cash only. He assures them that his utmost endeavours shall be exerted to give satisfaction in the management of any business that may be put under his direction, and the favours will be thankfully received and gratefully remembered. I have for sale several CASKS of exceeding good PORT WINE, and a large COLLECTION OF BOOKS.
On February 11 Page advertised merchandise to be sold at his "Vendue Office, Williamsburg. There is no indication that his office was in Nicolson's house on York street.13
Page did not stay long at Nicolson's. By 1777 he was acting on the behalf of James Geddy and renting his house and lot, located on the Duke of Gloucester street.
Nicolson purchased from John Brown, September 5, 1775, lot 36, the last lot in Waller's Development on York street and 45 adjoining acres.
In January 5, 1776, a sale was advertised to be held before Nicolson's store:
To be SOLD before Robert Nicolson's Store,
On Tuesday the 10th Instant A GREAT variety of Cabinet-makers tools, mohogany, walnut, and pine plank, likewise new walnut book cases, desks, tables, &c belonging to the estate of Mr. Peter Scott, deceased. Six months credit will be allowed for all sums above 5£. The purchaser giving bond with good security.
All persons indebted to the said estate, bye bond or open account, are requested to pay off as soon as possible; and those to whom the estate are indebted are desired to call and receive payment, from
ROBERT NICOLSON executors.
In 1775, to provide arms for the Virginia Troops, a gun manufactory was established in Fredericksburg, Virginia. The Commissioners of the manufactory choose Robert Nicolson to act on their behalf in Williamsburg; they advertised:
FREDERICKSBURG, Jan. 24, 1776.
THE commissioners of the GUN MANUFACTORY want a considerable quantity of BRASS, for mountings. Any old brass (not mixed with bell metal) will do. Mr.Robert Nicolson of Williamsburg will receive, and pay for, any quantity that may be delivered there; and the commissioners beg the attention of other gentlemen to this necessary article. The cash will be paid, on notice, by
On March 14, 1776, the Council of the State of Virginia Issued a warrant to Robert Nicolson for "£2..9..2 to be paid to Alexander Banks, "for Gunn locks furnished the public. 
Again on June 15, 1776, a warrant for £7..12..2, "to be charged to the Commissioners of the Fredericksburg Manufactory, for Brass purchased for their use.15
William Nicolson advertised for journeymen tailors:
WILLIAMSBURG, May 1, 1776.
TWO JOURNEYMEN TAILORS, who understands their business, will meet with good encouragement by applying to
In April 1777, Robert Nicolson announced discontinuing taking in lodgers at his house.
"WILLIAMSBURG, April 8, 1777.
THE subscriber begs leave to inform the gentlemen who for these several years past used to put up at his house, that he has now entirely discontinued taking in lodgers.
William Nicolson advertised for journeymen tailors.
TWO journeyment TAILORS, who understand the business. They will meet with good encouragement by applying to WILLIAM NICOLSON
WILLIAMSBURG, April 17, 1777.
Norton and Beale, merchants of Williamsburg, advertised a sale to be held on the 23 August 1777 before Robert Nicolson's store.16
William Nicolson advertised for a journeyman tailor.
A JOURNEYMAN TAILOR that understands his business will meet with good encouragement
by applying to WILLIAM NICOLSON.
WILLIAMSBURG. Oct. 31, 1777.
In November a sale was advertised to take place at Robert Nicolson's store.
To be SOLD at Robert Nicolson's store, on Monday Next, at 4 o'clock after noon, for ready money, SUNDRY pieces of Irish linen, a new pair of yarn stockings, a small quantity of coloured thread, and three pair of Womens white lamb gloves: being what Capt. Arthur Sinclair saved out of the Schooner Little William, that was drove on shore in Lynhaven bay by the men of war,
WILLIAMSBURG Nov. 11, 1777. 
In March 1778, Nicolson advertised for sale a negro lad suitable for house work.
WILLIAMSBURG, March 11, 1778.
FOR [torn] young NEGRO LAD about 18 years old well grown, and would suit a gentleman that travels, as he is very fond of horses. He has been used to the house every since a child, can clean a house out, and wait very well at table. His price is one hundred and fifty pounds sterling. A good bill on any merchant in Great Britain for the above sum will do, but one on London or Glasgow will be more agreeable. For farther particulars inquire of
In an advertisement in November 1778, Nicolson is again noted as a merchant.
RETURNS his sincere thanks to the gentlemen who were so kind as to subscribe for his benefit as an encouragement for the invention of his Wheat machine, and begs the favour of them to pay the money to Mr. Robert Nicolson merchant, in Williamsburg. Those gentlemen who were pleased to take subscription papers will be so good as to send them to Mr. Nicolson as early as possible. 
Robert Nicolson and his son William continued to perform services for the State. William was in charge of the Public Tailor's Shop and was assigned soldiers to assist him.
Williamsburg September 30th 1778
To Cash pd Capt Wm Pointer the difference in Cambrick 2..-..-
bot of Robt Nicolson, rated agreeable to Act of Assembly
"Williamsburg Octr 5th 1778
Rec from the publick Store, Eight Blankets for, Robert Anderson, Thomas Jay, John Glynn, Edward James, Hardy Brown, Samuel Mangum, Wm Hansford, & John Stoneman, Soldiers belong to this State, & employ'd Mr Nicolson, in makg Soldiers Cloths — for which I am to be accountable.
In a letter dated January 19, 1779, from Robert Nicolson to John Norton and Sons, Merchants in London, he mentions his father and requests that a bid of £23 Sterling be paid to him. He also mentions money that he had given to "several poor people in Buckinghamshire.18
In February 1779, Nicolson advertised to be sold before Mr. Southall's door the 130 acres he had purchased in 1774 from the executor of James Sims.
To be SOLD to the highest bidder, for ready money, before Mr. Southall's door, on the 1st day of March next, at 4 o'clock in the afternoon, of Mr. James Symes, in York County, about six miles above Williamsburg. ROBERT NICOLSON
On April 17, 1779, Robert Nicolson sold to his son William his part of lot 56, he had purchased in 1773.
Between Robert Nicolson of the city of Williamsburg Merchant…and William Nicolson of the same place Son of the said Robert…in consideration…of One hundred pounds current Money…All that Lott,…on the North side of Duke of Gloucester Street…and bounded on the North by Nicolson Street on the South by Duke of Gloucester Street, on the East by the Lotts of henry Nicolson and on the West by the Lott of Doctor John Minson Galt lately by him purchased of William Pasteur, being the Lott…purchased by the said Robert Nicolson of Andrew Sprowle, Robert Miller, William Holt and Mary his Wife…by Indentures bearing date the one the Twelfth the other the fifth day of May…one thousand, seven hundred, and seventy three…
The first notice of Robert Nicolson Junior as a physician and surgeon appears in July 1779. He advertised that he had brought with him from Europe an assortment of medicine and intended to practice in the city.19
Nicolson continued to operate as a merchant and advertised in 1780:
JUST imported and to be SOLD by the subscriber at his store, in this city, A LARGE assortment of BOOKS, in different languages and sciences, amusing and instructive; a catalogue of which may be seen at the place of sale. Also writing paper, blank books, watch main springs and crystals, sealing wax, Anderson's and Keyser's pills, Hammond's antimonial essence, and specefick pills, mens shoes, Scotch snuff, and best indigo, &c. &c.
WILLIAMSBURG, March 1, 1780.
In 1782 the first Williamsburg Land Tax records list Robert Nicolson with 3 lots valued at £2/10 and his son, William with 1/3 lot valued at £2.
On October 16, 1784, William Nicolson advertised from Richmond:
Who understand their business, Will meet with employment, by applying to
Richmond, October 12.
On June 9, 1785, Robert Nicolson advertised that his store had been broke into and offered a reward of £20.
TWENTY POUNDS REWARD.
THE store of the subscriber was broke open last night, and the following goods stolen out of it, viz. 1 piece of fine black bombasien 60 yards; 2 1/2 pieces sagathy, 4 pieces of duroy, sundry pieces of coloured jeans and frustians, do. Spotted jeans for waistcoats, 1 piece best Irish tyke, 2 pieces of fine white jeans, 1 piece of fine brown holland, 8 or 20 men's hats different prices, 40 yards sacking, 20 ells of oznabrigs, a pair plated shoe buckles, 4 pair pinch beck ditto. Ten pounds will be given on return of the goods, or in proportion for what above reward, paid by ROBERT NICOLSON
Williamsburg, June 9, 1785
There are accounts of merchandise, 1789-1797, Robert Nicolson sold to St. George Tucker. Nicolson also became the agent in Williamsburg for Baxter and Wilson, printers of the Virginia Chronicle and Norfolk and Portsmouth General Advertiser, in Norfolk. He handled letters, postage, and subscriptions.
Robert Nicolson, in 1796, insured his house and property on York street, policy dated April 19.
I…Robert Nicolson residing at Williamsburg...declare for Assurance…against fire on Buildings…21
My Wooden Buildings on Woodpecker Street at Williamsburg now occupied by myself situated between the lott of Saml Goodson and that of Mrs. Craig…
The Dwelling house marked A at 1000 Dollars, say one thousand Dollars
The Kitchen do B at 100 Do. one hundred do.
The same date he insured his store and shop on the Duke of Gloucester street:
…My Store Buildings on the Main Street at Williamsburg now occupied by myself situated between the Lot of John M. Galt and that of John Crumps Estate…22
The Store house marked A at $750 The Shop do. B at $50
Robert Nicolson died July 14, 1797 and his passing was noted in a Richmond Newspaper:
On Friday last, in this city, Mr. ROBERT NICOLSON, and old and highly respectable inhabitant of Williamsburg.
He was buried in St. John's Churchyard in Richmond and his epitaph on his headstone reads:
Here lies the body of Robert Nicolson
Who departed this life
On the 14th day of July, 1797.
Aged 72 years.
In June 20, 1801, the heirs of William Goodson sold to Elizabeth Armistead of Williamsburg a piece of ground bounded,
…on the West by the lot of Robert Nicolson deceased on the South by the main Street leading to York, and on the east by a small piece of land belonging to Benjamin C. Waller…formerly the Property of Samuel Spurr deceased…
Through 1802, the estate of Robert Nicolson is taxed for 3 lots and William Nicolson for 1/3 lot. The Land Tax for 1803 lists John Power as owner of the lots of "R. Nicolson" and "W. Nicolson."
In the same year, April 11, Power purchased of Elizabeth Armistead:
…about two thirds of an Acre,…begining at the Southeast Corner of the dwelling house of the said Power which he purchased of the executor of Robert Nicolson deceased…23
John Power, eldest son of John Power, was killed in the Battle of Hampton on June 25, 1813, during the War of 1812. He left a widow, Sarah H. Power but no children. The lots reverted to the surviving children of John Power senior: Frederick B. Power, William B. Power, Anne [Power], wife of Allan Chapman, and Elizabeth [Power] wife of William Vail.
The Williamsburg Land tax 1813, lists, "Power John Estate 4 [lots] 100 [dollar value] 2.08 [tax]. The lots continued to be taxed to John Power's estate.
William B. Power died in 1824 and his brother Frederick B. Power was granted administration of his estate.
At a court December 21, 1829, a petition was presented by Frederick B. Power and John F. Bryan,
… as Guardians of the Infant Children of William B. Power decd representing that they are entitled to a House and Lot in the city of Williamsburg, which they are desirous of selling and which they cannot do as Infants are concerned, without the authority of a Court of Chancery…
The Court ordered that Frederick B. Power,
…make sale of the said House and Lot on the following terms, one fourth on cash, and the remaining three fourth, in three equal annual payments,…That the proceeds of said House and Lot be divided between the parties according to their respective rights, after deducting therefrom one seventh of one fourth for the dower right of the Widow of said William B. Power decd…
Prior to the above petition, one lot had already been sold. The Williamsburg City land tax 1823, lists one lot under John Minor "Via F. B. Power, one of the heirs of John Power decd.24
Frederick B. Power did not immediately sell the remaining house and lot. In 1831, a map among loose papers concerning the selling of lot 24 on York street, shows lot 26 to be "Power" with the name "Vail" below.
Mention of the death of John Power and his widow Sarah H. Power appear in various York county court sessions. At a Court November 21, 1831, Sarah Power filed a motion that she be,
…made a party to the petition presented to the court on the 21st of December 1829 by Fred B. Power…and that she receive in lieu of her dower in the two Houses and Lots (one of which was sold before the said petition was presented and the other under said petition the sum of $22.20 Cts being one fifth of one fifth of $555 the proceeds of sale of said House & lots
At a court December 17, 1832, it was noted,
…the Court doth hereby certify from satisfactory evidence… that John Power a private Soldier was killed during the laste War on the 25th day of June 1813 at the Battle of Hampton and left a Widow named Sarah Power who died during the present year.
At a Court November 21, 1831, the petition presented by the,
…Guardians of Wm B. Power's Children for leave to sell a House & Lot in Williamsburg, is dismissed for reasons appearing to the Court.25
To clear the estate from any claim from the widow of John Power, it was recorded at a court August 19, 1833, that John Power,
…a private soldier was killed during the late war on the 25th of June 1813 at the battle of Hampton and left a widow named Sarah H. Power who died in the County of Warwick testate and without issue.
The widow of John Power had no children according to this and evidently no heirs. The lot now became legally the property of the surviving heirs of John Power senior.
In May 18, 1844, James T. Bowery, Williamsburg tailor, filed a damage suit against Allan Chapman, Ann C his wife and other surviving heirs of John Powers estate. Bowers claimed that he had been granted a 13 year lease to the property "commonly called 'Powers House', for the rent of $100 a year, to begin on the first of January 1841 "which has not yet expired. He alleged he had,
…entered into the said houses and lots…and was thereof possessed…afterwards…on the second day of January in the year 1841 [Richard Roe — Allan Chapman] with force and arms to wit with staves sticks knives entered into the said houses and lots..and ejected the said John Doe [James T. Bowery]…to the great damage of the said John Doe…to the value of five hundred dollars and therefore brings suit.
In Court, June 3-8, 1844, Allan Chapman, Ann his wife and the surviving heirs of John Power's estate filed a declaration of "In ejectment" to remove Bowery from the premises. The court noted that,
…James T. Bowery the tenant in possession of the premises had been duly served with a copy of the said declaration… and he not appearing 26 …it is ordered that unless [he] …appear here at the next Term…judgment shall be given for the Plaintiff and the Commonwealth.
At the bottom of this document is written, "Write of Habere Facias Possessionem awarded him. A legal process by which the successful party in an action of ejectment could be placed by the Sheriff in actual possession of the land recovered. It appears from this "Writ" that the heirs were successful in legally removing Bowery from the property.
The property was sold and part payment received in 1846. The estate of Frederick B. Power, recorded May 1, 1850, shows a credit account dated May 1846.
By [Cash] in part for House & lot Sold in Wmsburg....86.92
In the further settlement of Frederick B. Power's estate, recorded April 1852, full payment is recorded under credits, dated April 28, 1851:
By Cash of Wm S. Peachy balance in full for Sale
of House and lot in Williamsburg.......................
John Slaughter was the purchaser of the house and lot. The property continued to be taxed to John Power's estate until the final payment was made in 1851. The Williamsburg Land tax records of 1851 does not list John Power's estate but John Slaughter is taxed for 1 lot.27
John Slaughter appears in the Williamsburg City Personal Property tax for 1841. For the years 1841 and 1842, he is charged with an additional $30 for a "Retail" license. No recording of licenses appear after 1842. He continued to be charged for personal property. 
The Williamsburg Land tax of 1853, shows the assessed value of the lot at $500 and the value of buildings as $2000. The property was "Reassessed by the Commissioners and the 1854 tax book lists the value of the lot as the same and the value of the buildings as $2500, an increase of $500.
John Slaughter advertised in December 22, 1853, his desire to remove to the country and offers to sell or rent the property. The property consisted of two houses on "Woodpecker" street, and a newly built one,
suitable for a small family: there being a large room and a passage below and two comfortable rooms above. The other in which he now resides is a large and commodious building containing ten rooms all in thorough repair…The location is but a short distance from the Female Academy…and the larger dwelling is admirably adapted for a boarding house…
A store house is located between the two dwellings which he states he will either sell or rent.
The advertisement appears again in the January 5, 1854 edition.28
In January 26, 1854, William Lindsey advertised that he had opened a,
SASH, BLIND, and DOOR MANUFACTORY. ABOUT THE CENTRE OF "WOODPECKER" STREET, in the house formerly occupied by Mr. John Slaughter.'
A "BUSINESS DIRECTORY, printed in the Virginia Gazette of May 10, 1855, listed:
ABRAHAM HOFFHEIMER & BRO.
Dry Goods, Groceries and Ready-made Clothing, York St., one door below the residence of John Slaughter, Esq.
It would appear that Slaughter had been successful in renting his property.
The Williamsburg Land tax 1847, lists the lot east of Slaughter under James M. Mahone, "formerly charged to Molly Minor. In 1858, the lot is listed under the name of John B. Dey, and Itinerate preacher. In the 1859 tax, John B. Dey's residence is listed as Norfolk City; 1861, Gloucester; 1865, "Former Resident Norfolk City; and, 1866, "not known. His son Bascom B. Dey eventually became owner of the property.29
During the Civil War the Federal troups occupied much of the property on York Street. The house to the west of John Slaughter was rented by Isaac Smith, tailor, and wife. In the year 1865, no rent had been charged Smith because the property,
…had been vacated when the United States forces took possession of the City of Williamsburg and in consequence thereof the buildings & fences around the lots had been very much injured…Isaac Smith & wife…put the necessary repairs on the property as a consideration for the rent of the year 1865…
The Land tax 1865, lists no value for the buildings on the lot east of John Slaughter, owned by John B. Dey. Under "Explanation" is written, "Building entirely destroyed. It appears that Slaughter's building also suffered. The Land tax of 1865 list John Slaughter's buildings at $1700. In 1866, his buildings are valued at $1500, with the explanation, "$200 deducted for decay. According to an answer to a bill of Complaint by Lavinia Lawson, 1877, John Slaughter "…remainded within the lines of the federal foe…during the late war…
The 1866 Williamsburg Personal Property tax lists John Slaughter and under remarks, "Exonerated on his Person By the Court. In 1867, under remarks, "exempt by Court from Capitation tax. In 1868 and 1869, "Exempt By Court & Common Counsel from Capitation Tax.30
On December 26, 1868, Slaughter deeded to Robert H. Armistead, in trust,
…a house and lot of land containing about a half acre…in the said City of Williamsburg…the present residence of the said Slaughter…situated on Wood pecker Street & is bounded North by lands of Ro. P. Waller. East by lot of John B. Dey South by said Street and west by land now occupied by Isaac Smith and wife…
This was to secure a bond to Lavinia E. Lawson for $800 with interest from March 5, 1858, to be first paid and "then to secure all other just debts and claims of creditors equally…
John Slaughter died late 1869 or early 1870, his name does not appear in the 1870 Williamsburg Personal Property tax. In 1870, Mildred H. Slaughter is listed; and in 1871 and 1872, she is listed as Mrs. Jno Slaughter. She died late 1872 or early 1873, as her name does not appear after 1872.
At a Circuit Court May 27, 1867, William E. Lively, personal representative of Charles Lively deceased brought suit against John Slaughter for a debt of $40.16 and interest, due from the 10 July 1849. Judgment was granted but no satisfaction was obtained.31
On March 26, 1877, William E. Lively submitted a complaint to the Judge of the Circuit Court, in which he stated,
"Your complt obtained…a Judgement against "John Slaughter" for the sum of $40.16 with interest from the 19th day of July 1849 — which Judgement was properly docketed…at the time…the said "John Slaughter" was seized and possessed of a House and lot situate on Woodpecker Street in the City of Williamsburg…
…no execution could then issue by reason of the "Stay Law" which was then in existence, and before the Expiration of said 'stay law' the said 'John Slaughter' conveyed by deed of trust -...26th day of December 1868. — All his estate both real and personal to Ro. H. Armistead trustee, for certain purposes therein named,…
…the said Ro. H. Armistead trustee,…advertised and sold on the [blank] day of [blank] 18 [blank] the real estate…at said sale 'Lavinia Lawson' became the purchaser, but at what price on or what terms, this complainant is not informed,…Your complainant...charges that she never complied with the terms of the sale…the only sum…she has ever paid,…was a small sum…to W.W. Vest who also had a judgement lien on the said real estate,…only been in part satisfied,…
Your Complainant…has a right to subject the real estate…to a sale, in order to satisfy his Judgment, the small personal property of which 'John Slaughter' was possessed at the time this complainants judgment was obtained, has long since been consumed and the said John Slaughter died intestate on the [blank]day of [blank] leaving no personal estate so far as this complainant knows,…there is really nothing to administer on, — Your complainant knows of no remedy save that given him by the aid of a court of Equity…that Justice may be done,…He prays that Moses R. Harrell sheriff…to who has been commited for administration the Estate of john Slaughter dec. 'Lavinia Lawson' R. H. Armstead trustee and W. W. Vest be made parties defendants…that they be required to answer the allegations…that a sale of the aforesaid real estate may be decreed…"
Lavinia Lawson's answer to the complaint read,
…She admits the judgment of Pltiff [Lively]…but…that a prior & larger judgment was recovered against John Slaughter by W W Vest…it is true that said Slaughter in his lifetime on the 26 Dec. 1868 in consideration of a large indebtedness in deed named and due deft…executed a trust deed to Ro H Armestead trustee…for the benefit of this deft, Conveying his house & lot in Williamsburg…from which deft has not yet received or realized any part of her said claim in deed named.
Slaughter died in possession and his widow fell in possession thereof and remained in possession for many years & until her death. Slaughter estate was committed to the hands of…the Sheriff or Sergant at the time. Deft was desirous of owning this property & having…the largest claim agst it…She paid over to W.W. Vest who held a prior Judgt to any other against Slaughter & in part discharge thereof, a large part of his said judgt…
Sometime after the death of Mrs Slaughter…the trustee…exposed the said House & lot to sale at auction & deft to obtain a home induced thereto that from the amount she had advanced on said prior judgt & from the large amount of her just claim in said deed…she became a bidder…the property was struck off to her, but being unable to comply with the terms…she abandons any claim…
This deft further…pleads…all acts of limitation…to the said Judgt of pliff and Judgments that may be exhibited agst said Slaughter…that Slaughter was & remained within the lines of the federal foe & said pliff & pliffs during the late war were & remained in the lines of the Confederates…prays to be hence dismissed with her costs &c.
The Cause of Lively against Slaughter was presented in Court May 7, 1877; Lively's complaint was read and the answer of Lavinia Lawson. The court ordered that the Cause be referred to Master Commissioner Morecock, who was directed to ascertain and report,
…first the amount of the Judgment lien principal interest and Cost due the Complainants by John Slaughter 2nd What other lives there were on the real estate of said Slaughter on the 26th day of December 1868 the day the deed of trust was executed. 3rd The annual and fee simple Value of the real Estate of which John Slaughter was seized and possessed on the 5th day of July 1867 The time at which the Judgment in favor of Charles Lively's personal representation was docketed…33
Morecock filed his report on October 23, 1877. There were three outstanding judgments and the debt of Lavinia Lawson against Slaughter's estate, amounting to $1300.58, exclusive of interest and court costs. This was followed by a list of
outstanding debts against the estate of John Slaughter that are to be paid after those classified above…
These included unpaid Personal Property and Land taxes for the years 1859, 1860, and 1861.
Commissioner Morecock stated that the fee simple value of the house and lot when the deed of trust was made in 1868 was $1800 and the annual value was about $150, and concluded:
From the Knowledge of your Commissioner, the real estate mentioned above, would not bring any thing like what it was assessed at in 1868.
A clear indication that Slaughter's estate was not sufficient to meet the amount of debts.34
The cause was presented at court on November 10, 1877 and the report of the Commissioner was filed with no exceptions,
On Consideration whereof the Court doth Confirm said report, And the court doth further adjudge Order and decree, that the house and lot Situate in the city of Williamsburg, and known in the bill and preceedings as the Slaughter lot, shall be Sold, Such Sale to be made on some public day at public Auction before the Courthouse door of the City of Williamsburg after notice of Thirty days, posted on the door of said Court house and three other public places of the time, place and term of Sale, and on the following terms. To Wit: for so much Cash as will defray the expenses of this Suit and Sale the balance on a credit of One, two and three years, bonds required from the purchaser…and title retained until all the purchase money is paid.
The Court appointed R.H. Armistead and R. L. Henley Special Commissioners to execute the decree and reserved the right to consider all other questions that might arise, especially as to the judgment of W. W. Vest, and the right of Lavinia Lawson.
On May 7, 1878, the case was heard and ordered that the same commissioner, as directed by the last decree, was to find
what portion of the judgment of W. W. Vest against John Slaughter has been paid by Lavinia Lawson and to which amount thereof if any she has paid, she is entitled by substitution…
On November 11 the case was heard and no exceptions were filed against Morecock's report of August 1878. The Court ordered that the report be confirmed and that it appeared,
…that upon the Judgment reported in favor of W W Vest of $400.83 with interest thereon…That Lavenia Lawson has paid the said Vest the sum of $400: in part payment thereof with interest on $200: from the 29 May 1869. further part hero & with like interest on $50: from the 13th May 1870 till paid. She is entittled by reason thereof to receive of said Judgment the said sum and interest and of the proceeds of said real Estate, by virtue of said lien of said Judgment35
The case was heard on November 13 and the Court ordered that the previous order made at the Court of November 11 be set aside and,
if appearing by said report, that upon the Judgment reported in favor of W. W. Vest of $400.83 with interest thereon as reported, That Lavenia Lawson has paid the said Vest in part of Said Judgment the sum of $400 with interest on $200 part thereof from the 30th day of March 1869 $150: with like interest from the 29th May 1869 and $50: with like interest on further part thereof until paid. It is ordered that the said report be referred back to said Commissioner, and of this that he enquire of all the fact touching the payment of the said sums by Lavenia Lawson to said Vest and report the same…
It was not until May 13, 1883 that the cause again appeared in court, with all former papers and reports read:
…And it Appearing to the Court, that the Order entered in this Cause, on the 10th day of November 1877. providing for the sale of the house and lot in the bill and proceedings mentioned has not been executed…
The court revoked the former appointment of R. L. Henley and R. H. Armestead as commissioners and appointed H. B. Warren a Special Commissioner to execute the decree of November 10, 1877.
In compliance with the court order of May 31, 1883, H. B. Warren sold the property to John W. Lawson. The decree of November 10, 1877, specified that the terms of sale be,
…for so much Cash as will defray the expenses of this Suit and Sale the balance on a credit of One, two and three years, bonds required from the purchaser…and title retained until all the purchase money is paid…
Lawson gave three bonds, each dated July 9, 1883. First bond for payment of $103.33 1/3 one year after date of bond; the second bond for payment of $103.33 1/3 two years after date of bond; and the third bond for payment of $103.33 1/3 three years after date of bond.36
John W. Lawson was granted a deed from H. B. Warner, Special Commissioner, on September 16, 1885, with Special Warranty,
…a certain lot of land together with the buildings thereon situated and being in the City of Williamsburg on York street being the lot whereof Jno Slaughter died seized and possessed and bounded by the lot of Thomas B. Mahone on the west, Day [Dey] on the east, south by said York street,…
Final conclusion of the case was settled in Court May 12, 1888. Lavenia Lawson was granted the right of substitution. It appeared to the court,
…from decree pronounced on the 11th day of November in the year 1878…that Lavinia Lawson is entitled to be substituted to all right and privileges and benefits of W. W. Vest, the prior Judgment lien creditors in above named suit to the exten of $400 with interest on $200 from 30th day of May 1870 till paid,…Lavinia Lawson is now dead and her estate Committed to the hands of George E. Richardson the Sheriff of this County as her personal representive…Also that there is now on deposite at the Planters National Bank of Richmond, Va., the sum of $350 which is insufficient to pay off the said indebtedness the Court…decree that B. D. Peachy…appointed a special Commissioner…shall draw his check on said Bank for the full amount now there to the credit of the Cause and pay the same less the unpaid Costs of the suit to the said George E. Richardson administrators of Lavinia Lawson deceased,…
On December 8, 1888, $395.10 was withdrawn from the Planters National Bank of Richmond. $3.29 to the clerk and the balance of $391.81 to George E. Richardson as administrator of Lavinia Lawson deceased.
The account of the estate of Lavinia Lawson, made September 18, 1890 shows $391.81 credited to her estate.37
John W. Lawson and Margaret H., his wife moved to the County of Isle of Wight and on December 14, 1894, conveyed to Bascom Dey of the County of Dinwiddie,
…in consideration of the sume of Four Hundred and Eighty five dollars…sell with general warranty  unto…Bascom Dey the following property, to wit:
All that certain Lot of land together with the buildings thereon situated and being in the City of Williamsburg State of Virginia on York Street being the lot whereof John Slaughter died seized and possessed and bounded by the loss of Thomas B. Mahone on the West Mr. John B. Dey on the East — South by said York street…
John B. Dey died prior to 1905, and his son Bascom Dey inheired the property east of the Slaughter lot. The buildings that had been noted as "entirely destroyed in 1865 had not been rebuilt. In the Williamsburg Land tax 1905, two lots are listed under Bascom Dey one with no buildings and the other with buildings. No place of residence is recorded in the Land tax books of 1905-1906, nor 1909-1910. Dey is listed as Williamsburg from 1911 through 1923.38
Bascom Dey died prior to 1923. His widow and children sold the property on July 5, 1923, to Luther C. Lindsley and Pattie Love Jones Lindsley, his wife, described as,
…parcel of land known as the "Slaughter Lot," and being the same lot…which…Bascom Dey died, seized…and bounded…On the South by York Street, on the East by the lot of W. A. Gore, on the West by the lot of P.G. Powell and on the North by the land of L. W. Lane. The lot…herby conveyed consists
…one of which Bascome Dey, deceased, heired from his father, John B. Dey,…being the only child and heir at law…the other lot…was conveyed to…Bascome Dey from John W. Lawson…December 14th 1894
The Land tax books, 1924 through 1939, list no buildings on the lot east of the Slaughter lot.
Pattie Love Jones Lindsly, wife of Luther C. Lindsley died intestate on October 3, 1933, leaving her husband and her mother Pattie Bugg Jones, her heir at law, her only surviving parent.
Luther C. Lindsley, her right, title and interest in the property bounded,
On the south by York Street, on the east by the lot now or formerly owned by W. A. Gore, on the west by lot now or formerly P. G. Powell, and on the north by land now or formerly owned by L. W. Lane39
In the 1939 Williamsburg Land tax book, the Lindsleys are listed as Williamsburg; in the 1940 book, as Milledgeville, Georgia.
Luther C. Lindsley and his wife Lillas M. Lindsley conveyed the Slaughter and Dey lots to James L. Coger, August 19, 1940. Cogar held the lots until 1965 when they became the property of Colonial Williamsburg Incorporated.
SUMMARY should come first