One of the major events in Robert Bolling’s life was when he was sued by his brother for supposedly withholding part of his brother’s inheritance.  He was represented in the case by none other than Thomas Jefferson himself.  His brother was represented by Jefferson’s law instructor George Wythe of Williamsburg.  In fact, the case drew so much attention that Jefferson wrote a book detailing the arguments for both sides, and it is still studied by law students today. 

Today (6/16/11), I began the day (After a two hour drive) at the University of Virginia in the special collection room.  There, I spent an extremely tedious 4 hours reading and photographing old books and finally, weeding through and copying about 100 pages of Bolling’s personal poetry, notes, etc.–much scribbled  upon, and extremely hard to decipher through faded microfiche.    But, at the end of the day, I felt a lot closer to Robert Bolling.  One thing that particularly intrigued me was the fact that he doodled on many of the pages of his notebooks–sometimes houses, other times people, sometimes just designs. 

Having collected all I could at the library, I drove the 10 minute ride up to Monticello to “hang out with” Bolling’s friend there.  Since Jefferson was his legal counsel and a friend from the House of Burgesses (and okay, I was in the area), I wanted to see what I could learn there.  A number of Bolling’s poems have to do with wine, as he apparently had his own vineyard, so I’m sure he and Jefferson discussed agriculture.  All I can say is considering the time and incline it took to drive a car up, I can’t imagine how the ride was in a carriage or on horseback.   Tomorrow, I begin weeding through all I copied.

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