“I understand there are back taxes on Mr. Dent’s place … which if not paid this month the land will be sold”

I wrote to my friend Charles Ford in St. Louis to ask him to take care of a tax matter concerning my father-in-law’s property.

 

City Point, Va, Jan. 10th 1865.
Dear Ford,
I understand there are back taxes on Mr. Dent’s place (now including two places belonging to me) amounting to some $1,400 00 which if not paid this month the land will be sold. If I send money there to settle this it will be the last of it. Now I want to ask you to do me a favor. Select some eligible man to attend to the matter for me. Let the land be sold for the taxes and buy it in for me and call on you for the means to pay for it. I will send you a draft for $1500 00 as soon as I can procure it and before the money will be required. If this should not prove enough please advance for me and I will pay at once. My only reason for wishing to buy in the land instead of paying off the incumbrance is this. I am not able, and under the circumstances not willing, to lose the money. These taxes were due before I owned any of the land and it is not my debt. John Dent paid off an incumbrance of $4000 00, and taxes, interest, on the whole tract and now owns the whole with the exception of what I have. He made me buy over and pay him the cash for forty acres which Mr. Dent had previously given to Mrs. Grant though it had not been deeded to her. Another forty acres I bought and paid for. Mr. Dent many years ago signified the way his land was to be divided. Now all but the little I have goes to one for a paltry sum. You can understand that I would naturally want to make him pay his own taxes.
Yours Truly
U. S. Grant

 

The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 13, p 260-1

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