George Washington Papers

To George Washington from John Graham, 14 September 1759

From John Graham

Quantico 14th Septr 1759


I received your letter of the 10th Inst.1 and have Sent you a Copy of Spencers Deed to Osborn the original Deed, is marked in the Record, delivered ⟨mutilated⟩ Wade.2 There are no Deeds Recorded in this ⟨mutilated⟩fice from Spencer to French or Manley, I ⟨h⟩ave Searched for them very carefully, I apprehend they may have [been] purchassed from Some person that Spencer conveyed to, tho’ we cannot feind any Such conveyance.3

You have a true Copy of the courses of Harrisons land from the record, we examined them when Copied, and have again, compared them, with the paragraph in your letter, the course is thence 70 d. Wt 22 po. without mentioning whether it is No. or South,4 I hope this will come Safe; my fee for the Copies is not yet due—I am with respect Sir Your most Obedt Servt

John Graham


John Graham lived at Dumfries in Prince William County, but some years before this he succeeded his father-in-law, Catesby Cocke, as clerk for Fairfax County and then exchanged offices in 1757 with Peter Wagener, Sr., clerk of Prince William County.

1GW’s letter has not been found.

2The copy of William Spencer’s deed to Richard Osbourne (Osborn), dated 2 Nov. 1739, endorsed by GW, was sold at Stan V. Henkel’s sale of Washingtoniana, 21–23 April 1891, catalog no. 663. Richard Osbourne, a burgess for Fairfax County in 1748–49, married Penelope Spencer, widow of Francis Spencer. The tract of land near the mouth of Dogue Run where Osbourne had once resided was at this time part of Daniel French’s land. Zephaniah Wade of Prince Georges County, Md., had bought a small tract on Mount Vernon Neck.

3There are in fact no deeds from William Spencer to Daniel French or to John Manley. Although at one time the land was all a part of the Spencer tract, Manley bought his land on Mount Vernon Neck in May 1744 from Thomas Marshall and George Harrison (d. 1748), and Daniel French’s land was conveyed to him by Richard Osbourne, Margaret Arbuthnot, John Manley, and John Posey.

4John Graham seems to be referring here to land that George Harrison (d. 1748) left to his wife Martha Price Harrison for her lifetime. Her second husband John Posey controlled it at this time. This 200–acre tract that Harrison got from William Spencer in 1739 was near the Potomac and adjoined Mount Vernon. In 1770 after Mrs. Posey’s death GW acquired the land from John West, Jr., who had inherited it.

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