George Washington Papers

To George Washington from William Crawford, 15 April 1771

From William Crawford

Spring Gardin [Pa.] Aprial 15th 1771

Dr Sir

I Receved yours of March the 11th and1 I am much sirprised at Mr Brooks beheaviour in Regard to that Land ho never had the Least Claim or pretentions to the Medows that I Ever herd of Mr Harrison maid use of the Name of Wm Brooks Expecting that Wm Brooks as his son inlaw would do him the faviour to give him an asignment at any time, but as Mr Harrison has got a permit there was no Accasion of an Esignment or of an order of survay for any survayor would have survayd the Land on the permit and Returnd it into the Office which would have bin Excepted of, any order of survay that he co[u]ld have got would not do inclosed you have a bond from Mr Harrison for the setling the Matter and Making good the Title he says if that you want it don it shall be Returnd in your own name as soon as the survay is Complated it and he will Setle all Disputs in Regard to it.2

There is one William Brooks here ho has Agreed to sign the Bill of sail which is Equil as any man of that name will do as well As him, his having no claim or Right more then any other man of that name, he says that is all he can do at Present, any thing more that is Requesd he will do if Required and if not the Bargain must be Void and he have his papers again as he can sell it Emeditly to saveral People who will pay no Regard to Brooks Claim Looking unpon it as nothing worth.3

As the Bearer Moses Crawford is Oblidged to go of Emedetly I Shall Refair give a full Acount of my Proceedings here for a few days Longer as I have an [opportunity] in a few days and then will give as full an acount as I am able.4 I am Der sir in hast your most Hume Sarvant

W. Crawford


1Letter not found; Crawford wrote “am” instead of “and.”

2During his journey to Pennsylvania and down the Ohio with Crawford in the fall of 1770, GW instructed Crawford to buy for him the 234½-acre tract at Great Meadows belonging to Lawrence Harrison. Harrison agreed to sell his rights to the tract to GW for thirty guineas and did so on 4 Dec. 1770, but in the name of his son-in-law, William Brooks, to whom Harrison had assigned, for unexplained reasons, his right of survey. See Crawford to GW, 6 Dec. 1770, and note 1 of that document. In the missing letter to which Crawford refers, GW evidently informed Crawford of some unforeseen objection or demand made to him by Brooks (see note 3).

3A second conveyance, or bill of sale (see note 2), dated 7 Oct. 1771, witnessed by Robert Thurston and Crawford’s half brothers Marcus and John Stephenson, affirmed that “I William Brooks of Fredrick County in Virginia have Bargaind sold and maid over unto Colo. George Washington of Fairfax County in Virginia a Sartain Tract or Parsel of Land Lying and being in Bedford County in Pensilvania on Bradock’s road and Known by the name of they great Medows whare Colo. Washington had a batle with the frinch and Indians in they year one thousand seven Hundred and fifty four and they same which was Located by Lawr. Harrison in the Proprietors of Pensilvanias office in the name of Wm Brooks.

“for the consideration of the sum of five shillings to me in hand by Colo. George Washington the recpt whereof I do hereby Acknoledge and my self there with fully satisfied . . .” (ViMtvL [photocopy]). GW wrote Crawford on 6 Dec. 1771 asking that the surveys of the Great Meadows be “return’d to the Office” and a plat be made for himself, as GW was “determined to take out a patent for it immediately.” The patent was not issued to GW until 28 Feb. 1782 (ViMtvL [photocopy]).

4See Crawford to GW, 20 April. Moses Crawford (d. 1774) was a son of Crawford’s brother Valentine Crawford.

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