From Christopher Hardwick
Bullskin September 3d 1758
I have Received yours of the 27th Ulto by wch I find you have not Received my last Letter to you, in which I have given an acct of the Crop both of Tobacco & Corn lest it shou’d Miscarry I also send you an acct thereof.1 Viz. The Tobo is very Backward on acct of the Drought, as also the Corn, we have hous’d I believe about fifteen Hundred which I wou’d rather was still out, if it wou’d allow it, as it might have been better since the late Rain we have had on Thursday & Friday last: what is out is much better since the late Rain.
In regard to the Oats, we have made but a very small Crop By Reason of the Drought also, not more I believe than about Twenty Bushels out of Ten Bushels Sowing, I can’t get any one at present to Thresh the wheat without giving an Extraordy price which is a penny half penny more than usual, & if you’l have it Thresh’d at that price I shall get it done, as I can’t spare any of our own people to do it, the Tobo being so Latter that they can’t be spared from it. I have sent the Mare & four Colts to Mount Vernon,2 we have lost no horses nor anything else since you have been gone, Mr Smith has Employ’d the Waggon last Week at the Fort, & Employs it also this Week, I have Wrote to Mr Snickers abt the Mares, his answer is that the Mare he Sold you, he Bought of one Samuel Givins in Augusta County, to whom he wrote about her to make a strict Enquiry for her & if found that he shoud be well rewarded,3 & says also that if the Mare you had of Capt. Lindsey is not stopt, she will come up to the Blue Ridge within about Nine Miles of where he lives, & if she does that he will secure her for you.4
your Negroes are all well, except Adam & old Bland Adam has had the fever & Ague & now is troubled with a Swelling in his Throat, but is getting better,5 we have Two Oxen here, for which I don’t see any use, more so as we have Horses Enough to do any Business we have to do, also they are very troublesome to the Neighbours Destroying their Corn, &c. & if you approve of it, I shall fatten them & make them fit for Markett, as we have Six head more that I can make fit for the Markett, since I have sent the Mare & Colts to Mount Vernon there has been one Pritchard6 with me who lays Claim to them, I asked him how he came by them last Winter, he told me they were brought to him by a Man whose Name he does not know, if you Remember, I have told you that one of the Waggon Horses went off with them last Winter, I Desired the man to Write to you about them as the year & a Day was Expired in posting them,7 I have wrote to you always when I had any thing material to mention to you, & shall Continue so to do.
Our last planting is Just the same since planted by reason of the long drought we have had, ’till this last rain, & am afraid it will never come to any perfection—but shall do my Endeavours to make the most I can of it. I am with due Respect Sir yr most humble & Obedient Servt
1. GW’s letter of 27 Aug. has not been found. Hardwick’s most recent letter to GW was dated 26 Aug., which GW could not have received at Fort Cumberland before writing Hardwick on 27 August. Hardwick wrote GW on 11 July after GW went to his camp at Fort Cumberland and again on 3 August. There is nothing in the correspondence to suggest that he wrote after GW’s departure any letters other than these three.
3. According to Capt. Charles Smith both this black mare that GW bought from Edward Snickers and the bright bay mare that he bought from a man named Lindsay (see note 4) strayed from Col. John Spotswood’s place in Spotsylvania County about the first of June. None of the payments to Snickers in GW’s cash accounts (Ledger A description begins Manuscript Ledger Book 1, 1750-72, in George Washington Papers, Library of Congress. description ends ) appears to be for the purchase of a horse, but the purchase may have been made for GW by Hardwick, John Augustine Washington, Thomas Bishop, or others to whom GW gave sums of money to be accounted for. Charles Smith sought the aid of both Snickers and Samuel Givens to recover the mare. Then on 12 Oct. he wrote GW that he had advertised for both mares in the newspapers at Fredericksburg and Williamsburg. Samuel Givens lived on the Middle River of the Shenandoah. For Smith’s search for the two mares, see Smith to GW, 7, 18 Sept. and 12 October.
4. See note 3. In his letter of 7 Sept. Charles Smith identifies the seller of this mare as “Capt. Lindsey’s Son.” John and James Lindsay were two of the earliest settlers of Frederick County, and Capt. John Lindsay was named a member of the vestry of Frederick Parish in the county in 1752. Apparently Edward Snickers expected the bay to work her way back to Lindsay’s place on Spout Run not far from Snickers’s own place in the pass through the Blue Ridge. It was a short distance due east of Winchester on the road from Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania County.
5. The name Adam appears fairly frequently in GW’s lists of slaves, but the name Bland has not been found on the surviving lists of this period. Adam was up and about within two weeks (Charles Smith to GW, 18 Sept.).
6. A William Pritchard of Frederick County was in Christopher Gist’s company of scouts under GW’s command in 1756, and a Thomas Pritchard was drummed out of the Virginia Regiment in the same year. For the mare and four colts, see note 2.
7. Hardwick was referring to the Virginia act of 1705 (3 Hening description begins William Waller Hening, ed. The Statutes at Large; Being a Collection of All the Laws of Virginia, from the First Session of the Legislature, in the Year 1619. 13 vols. 1819–23. Reprint. Charlottesville, Va., 1969. description ends 275–76) which required a wait of one year before an unclaimed stray could be claimed by the “taker up.” An act of 1748 (6 Hening description begins William Waller Hening, ed. The Statutes at Large; Being a Collection of All the Laws of Virginia, from the First Session of the Legislature, in the Year 1619. 13 vols. 1819–23. Reprint. Charlottesville, Va., 1969. description ends 133–34) had reduced the time to six months.