George Washington Papers

To George Washington from John Baylor, 20 June 1757

From John Baylor

New Market 20th June 1757

Dear Sir

Yrs of the 10th I rec’d1 & have by the Bearer sent yr Mare which I make not the least Doubt of being in Foal & you are kindly welcome to send a couple of Mares yearly to my Horses. When we come to recounting Favours I find my self so largely yr Debtor that I shall allways insist on yr commanding with Freedom any & every Thing wherin I can be Serviceable.2 Sorry I am for the unhappy Fall of one of the poorest or least of our back Inhabitants. I wish it were in my Power to prevent it. The Tenderness of my Understanders3 render me incapable of any Atchevts in that Part of the World could we get a peacable or even Forcible Possession of that fine Country lying between the Mississippi & Ohio I had rather live there than any Part of America & more so after a late Confab. with Capt. Gist. I wish my good Friends Capt. Spotswood & Lieut. Baker may not have ventur’d too far with so small Partys but as the brave Harry the 5th told his Soldiers that Victory was not so much owing to Numbers as to Conduct & Courage at the remarkable Battle of Azincourt so I make no Doubt but these Gentln of whom I have an extr[aordinar]y esteem will render a good Acct of their Behaviour. If ever an Oppy offers pray remember my little Friend Capt. Woodford.4 And that you may allways succeed in all yr Undertakings will be ever the most joyful News to Dear Colo. yr most Obedt Hbe Sert & sincere well wisher

J. Baylor


1GW’s letter has not been found.

2John Baylor (1705–1772) of Newmarket in Caroline County was perhaps rivalled as a breeder of racehorses in Virginia only by John Tayloe of Mount Airy. Baylor, who was schooled in England and attended Caius College, Cambridge, imported from England in 1764 a horse named Fearnaught whose progeny “introduced a taste (in imitation of the English) for Course racing” in Virginia (Patrick N. Edgar, The American Race-Turf Register, Sportsman’s Herald, and General Stud Book . . . [New York, 1833]). See John Baylor to GW, 7 June 1756.

3Baylor may have been saying that he had trouble with his legs or feet—his “Understanders.”

4William Woodford, the son of a prominent planter of Caroline County, was serving as a volunteer in the Virginia Regiment. Woodford was a captain of the Caroline County militia and had served on the frontier during the spring and summer of 1756. GW made him an ensign in July (see GW to Dinwiddie, 11 July 1757, n.2).

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