To Bartholomew Dandridge
Claibornes1 Decr 6th 1773
Upon enquiry of Davenport (who went up to the King William Office last Week) I am convinced that, Black has never receivd any conveyance at all, for the Land that was Grisley’s;2 and I much doubt whether he has ever receivd any for the Mill Tract.3 What is proper to be done under these Circumstances, I am really at a loss to determine; I think the purchase too advantage for Mr Custis to give up altogether, and, if there is no coming at Rights to the before mentioned Tracts (as Grisley it seems is Dead)4 what ought I to do? If good Rig⟨hts⟩ can be had for the King & Queen Estate ⟨mutilated⟩onkoke Lands (bought from Colo. Moore) and a surety can be had from Black, of procuring proper Titles to the other two, I am still willing to hold fast the Bargain; & what further, under my present uncertainties to say, I know not; but beg of you to examine the Office thoroughly, to see if the Deeds may not be recorded althô they do not appear upon the Alphabets5—Davenport tells me that Colo. B. Moore says, his Trust Deed is recorded in the Secretary’s Office,6 if I remember right Mr Wythe could find no such Deed there—was there ever such a Man as Black! Crafty & designing, & yet so stupidly ignorant, & negligent in so important a matter as this!7 I write this from my Qr in very great haste & cannot add
AL (incomplete), ViHi: Lee Family Papers.
1. GW made this entry in his diary for 6 Dec.: “Set out [from Eltham] on my return home. Dined at King Wm. Court Ho[use]” (Diaries description begins Donald Jackson and Dorothy Twohig, eds. The Diaries of George Washington. 6 vols. Charlottesville, Va., 1976–79. description ends , 3:219). Claiborne’s was GW’s dower plantation in King William County.
2. On 27 May 1772 Edmund Pendleton and Peter Lyons, administrators of John Robinson’s estate, deeded to William Black that 550–acre portion of Bernard Moore’s Romancoke plantation that Jeffery Grisley had won in the lottery of Moore’s property in 1769 (Mays, Pendleton Papers description begins David John Mays, ed. The Letters and Papers of Edmund Pendleton, 1734–1803. 2 vols. Charlottesville, Va., 1967. description ends , 1:69–71). See also GW to Cary, 10 Nov., n.6.
3. In his letters to GW of 16 Feb. and 2 April 1774, Dandridge reports the securing of the title to the mill and adjacent 100–acre tract of Romancoke plantation for GW on behalf of John Parke Custis. See also in particular note 6 of the enclosure, Dandridge to GW, 30 December.
4. Grisley’s death was announced in the supplement of the 14 Oct. 1773 Virginia Gazette (Purdie and Dixon; Williamsburg).
5. That is, the indexes.
6. Joseph Davenport’s undated letter to Dandridge regarding Bernard Moore’s trust deed is in ViHi: George Bolling Lee Papers.