George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Thomas Addenbrooke, 16 December 1771

From Thomas Addenbrooke

at Coalbrookdale near Shiffinall
in Shropshire England 16th December 1771


I have been Informd by My Mother and by some papers in my Custody find that my Grandfather’s Mother a young Widdow her name Broadhurst, Married a Gentleman Called Collonel Washington of Virginia, one of your Ancestors. if so I have the Honour of being a relation to you, which makes me take the Liberty to Trouble you with an Enquiry after an Estate which belonged to my Grandfather, and An Estate left my Mother and her Sisters by their Unkle Gerrard Broadhurst After the Death of my Grandfather the Daughters sent one Penson to Virginia to Manage their Affairs and imprudently Trusted him with their Writeings. he for Some Years made them regular remittances Afterwards took no Notice of their Affairs, by what I can learn kept possession as his Own, as the Estate I believe Joyns to yours shall take it as the Greatest favour you woud inform me of the Situation of the Estate and Pensons heirs, and if you think the Estate is recoverable I am the only representative of the Family of Broadhurst, My Grandfather left Virginia at the Age of 9 Years to take Possession of some Effects left him by an Unkle in Shropshire in England1—as I am Unacquainted With any body in Virginia beg you Will Excuse the Trouble I give you in this Affair, the favour of an Answer of this will be gratefully Acknowledged by Sir Your Most Obedient Humble Sert To Comd

Thos Addenbrooke

ALS, DLC:GW. The letter was addressed to “General Washington In Virginia.” Having received no answer to this letter, Addenbrooke wrote again on 26 July 1773. GW answered in May 1774: “Your Letter of the 26th of July last year, address’d to ‘General Washington, Westmoreland County Virginia’ came to My hands sometime ago—No person Sir, of that name, in this Country, is entitled to the Rank you are pleased to bestow; but as I have been engaged in a Military life, & had the honour to Command the Troops of this Colony, it was presumed by the direction that the Letter must have been intended for me, and I have accordingly opened it.” GW went on to “profess an entire ignorance of the Circumstances you relate, living near one hundred Miles from the Estate you enquire after,” but promised to send the letter to his brother (John Augustine Washington) who lived at the mouth of Nomini Creek (NjMoHP). No further correspondence on the subject has been found.

1After the death of GW’s great-grandmother, Anne Pope Washington (d. 1668), his great-grandfather, Lt. Col. John Washington (1632–1677), married Anne Gerrard Broadhurst Brett (died c.1675). Her two sons by her earlier marriage to Walter Broadhurst (Broddhurst, Broaddus; d. 1659) were named Walter, Jr., and Gerrard Broadhurst. Walter Broadhurst, Jr., Addenbrooke’s grandfather, “came to England very Young,” Addenbrooke wrote on 26 July 1773, and “left a Brother whose name was Gerrard Broadhurst, at Virginia who died after a Short illness at the House of Mr Lawrence Washington [his stepbrother, and GW’s grandfather] in Christmas 1677 and left all his real and personal Estates to my Grandfathers Children of whom I am the only desendant, his plantations were situated at Nemanie in the County of Westmoreland, he left Mr Nicholas Spencer and Mr Washington Trustees for My Grandfathers Children.” Walter Broaddhurst, Jr., never returned to Virginia; he lived out his life in Shropshire, where he had gone at the age of 9 and been raised by his father’s family. Walter Broadhurst, Sr., was the first sheriff and first burgess of Westmoreland County, and the first courthouse and jail were on his land on Currioman Bay, an arm of Nomini Bay.

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