George Washington Papers

To George Washington from William Fairfax, 22 March 1757

From William Fairfax

Wmsburg 22d March 1757.

Dear Sr

I rec’d your Favor from Philadelphia dated the 2d inst.1 since which finding the Governor likely to stay there longer than at first expected and many Matters of Government requisite which could not be done without Me I set off from Belvoir and arrivd here the 17th The next Day I was duly qualified in Council as President & Comander in Chief, which has given Me an Opportunity of seeing and treating with Numbers of the Cherokees & Catawba Indians,2 discuorsing with Major A. Lewis & Lieut. Williams on their Affairs. I hope They will soon be under your Command as They appear to be of a warlike Temper and Disposition, fit & willing to encounter any Difficult Attack. I shall be glad to know your Success with Ld Loudoun and his Commands to You in the ensuing Campaign—Thô You may hear of the Genl Assembly’s being prorogu’d to the last Thursday in next Month, yet as several Things as well for your Regiment as the public Weal of the Colony are wanted to be Examind, Setled and adjusted, We expect the Governor will Soon after his Arrival call & appoint a much earlier Meeting—when We shall be glad to See You and give Testimony of our hearty Affection.3

As the Cherokees and Catawba Indians appear to Us well attacht to our Interest We are desirous of preserving Them, therefore endeavor to please & satisfy them. We have furnishd them wth what could be got here: what is yet wanted and you can procure Please to accommodate them and Send or bring the Accot thereof.

Pray remember Me kindly to yr Officers and the brave Men of yr Regiment, and continue to believe that I am with all affecte Regards Dr Sir Yr assurd & loving Friend &ca

W. Fairfax

P.S. I referr to Majr Lewis for pticulars.4


1GW’s letter has not been found.

2For Fairfax’s meeting with the Catawba Indians on 18 and 19 Mar., see Clement Read to GW, 15 Mar. 1757, n.1. On 18 Mar. Fairfax and the council met with “Keeraruftikee” and five other Cherokee men and three women. Andrew Lewis arrived at Augusta Court House on 17 Oct. 1756 from his sojourn in the Cherokee country, with seven Cherokee warriors and three women. Richard Pearis returned later in the month with six Cherokee men and two women (see Andrew Lewis to GW, 28 Oct. 1756). In mid-November GW instructed Lewis to send one of the Cherokee back to the Cherokee country with letters and ordered him and Pearis to conduct from Augusta up to Winchester the Indians that had come with Pearis. At the end of February 1757 Pearis conducted a party of nine Cherokee down from Winchester to Williamsburg on their way back to the Cherokee country. Presumably this was the party that Andrew Lewis had brought up in October 1756, though it may have in part been Pearis’s own party. Fairfax and the council saw at this time “another party of Cherokees being fifteen in Number who came to this Government in February last, had marched two Leagues above Fort Du Quesne and returned on Monday last to this City with a French Prisoner and two Scalps. The Chief of them named the Second Yellow-Bird” was a leader of the 130 Cherokee whom Richard Pearis had conducted to the Virginia frontier more than a year before, in the fall of 1755 (Exec. Journals of Virginia Council description begins H. R. McIlwaine et al., eds. Executive Journals of the Council of Colonial Virginia. 6 vols. Richmond, 1925–66. description ends , 6:28–32).

3Dinwiddie returned from Philadelphia on 31 Mar. or 1 April and immediately summoned the assembly to meet in Williamsburg on 14 April. See William Fairfax to GW, 31 Mar. 1757.

4If Andrew Lewis and John Williams did in fact conduct these small parties of Catawba and Cherokee up to Winchester, as William Fairfax’s letter of 31 Mar. suggests, Lewis had left Winchester before GW’s return to the town at the end of March after being in Philadelphia. See Lewis to GW, 8 April 1757.

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