George Washington Papers

[Diary entry: 30 October 1786]

Monday 30th. Mercury at 49 in the Morning—52 at Noon and 50 at Night.

Raining all the forenoon with the Wind at No. Et.—Misting & very cloudy all the latter part of the day altho the Wind had shifted to the No. Wt.

About One Oclock accompanied by the Governor, I set out to take a view of my land which lay 12 Miles from his House—after doing which and finding it rather better than I expected we returned to the Governrs. having from the badness of the Weather & wetness of the ground given over the idea of Surveying.

This land lyes full level enough. The cleared part has been lively & good but much abused and a good deal worked. The wood part, of wch. there is a good deal, is tolerably full of rail timber and Wood (chiefly spanish Oak & black Jack) but the soil is thin and of a mean quality tho very capable of improvement from the Nature of it & levelness. Govr. Smallwood thinks the whole is worth and would sell for 35 or 40. Shillings Maryland Curry. pr. Acre and seems to have an inclination to buy it himself and that his Manager (one Franklin) is that way inclined also. Being informed by my Tenant (on this Land) George Dunnington of a vacancy containg. 20 or 30 acres within, or adjoining to my lines the Governor promised to obtain a warrant for it on my behalf and a Mr. Stromat who had obtained Warrants for sevel. vacancies one of which being within my Tract sent me word by the above Geo. Dunnington that I might have the latter (more than 100 acres) upon condition of my paying a proportionate part of the expence he had been at to obtain them, which I consented to do & sent him word so by Dunnington.

an inclination to buy it: GW wrote Smallwood on 6 Oct. 1787: “When I had the pleasure of being at your house last fall, you gave me reason to believe that you would become the purchaser of my land adjoining yours, in Charles County—And if I recollect rightly, was to have written to me on that subject from Annapolis” (NjP). GW expressed his continued interest in selling the land to Smallwood, but apparently nothing ever came of it, for GW still owned the land when he died. a vacancy: There were several strips of unclaimed, or waste, land bordering on, or intruding into, GW’s land. Both GW and John Stromatt, whose land marched with GW’s, obtained a warrant to survey the land for their own use. For the ensuing dispute and final settlement, see GW to William Craik, 19 and 27 Mar. 1789 and 8 Feb. 1790, DLC:GW. one franklin: George Augustine Washington mentions an F. P. Franklin as “Govr. Smallwoods agent” in 1788 (LEDGER B description begins Manuscript Ledger Book 2, 1772-93, in George Washington Papers, Library of Congress. description ends , 270). He may have meant Francis B. Franklin who lived in the area in 1790 and owned 29 slaves (HEADS OF FAMILIES, MD. description begins Heads of Families at the First Census of the United States Taken in the Year 1790: Maryland. 1907. Reprint. Baltimore, 1965. description ends , 49).

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