Thursday 30th. Mercury at 26 in the Morning—[ ] at Noon and [ ] at Night.
Morning cloudy but Mild—Wind westerly all day. About 9 or 10 Oclock the clouds dispersed and the day turned out very fine and pleasant. Thawing considerably—the frost having stopped the Plow at the Ferry Plantation.
Surveying my New purchases of Manley’s and French Land, in order to lay the whole of into proper inclosures.
Geo. Washington went up to Abingdon in my Chariot to bring his wife and Nelly Custis home who went thither on Monday last.
Jno. Fairfax measured 42 Barrls. of corn at Muddy hole gathered out of the Eastermost (& furthest) cut in the field.
Mr. Lear left this for the Western Parts of Pensylva. in the Neighbourhood of Pittsburgh on my business.
Tobias Lear’s journey to Pennsylvania was precipitated by news from GW’s Pennsylvania lawyer, Thomas Smith, that GW had won his suit of ejectment in the Pennsylvania court against the settlers trespassing on the Millers Run tract in Washington County (see entries for 14, 20, and 22 Sept. 1784). Smith urged GW to appoint an agent in the area to take possession of the lands as soon as the settlers left (Smith to GW, 7 Nov. 1786, DLC:GW). Lear’s primary objective on the trip was undoubtedly to persuade Presley Nevill, John Canon, or George McCarmick to act as an agent. GW also needed local information as to the highest prices he could expect to get for these lands and the smaller Washington’s Bottom tract in Fayette County. GW gave Lear additional commissions: at Bath he was to inquire into the condition of a small tract of land owned by GW in the area; at Col. John Stephenson’s on the road from Fort Cumberland to Pittsburgh, he was to try to collect money owed GW; at Pittsburgh he was to request Gen. Richard Butler’s help in acquiring an Indian vocabulary requested by Catherine the Great; he was to ascertain the condition of GW’s small tenement on Braddock’s Road; and at Winchester he was to attempt to collect money owed GW by the estate of Maj. Gen. Charles Lee (instructions for Lear, 30 Nov. 1786, CSmH). Lear carried with him letters, dated 27 Nov., from GW to Nevill, Butler, and McCarmick; to Thomas Freeman, Canon, and Stephenson dated 28 Nov.; and a blank power of attorney to be given to the person who accepted the job of agent for the Millers Run land (DLC:GW).