George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Valentine Crawford, 27 July 1774

From Valentine Crawford

Jacob Creek [Pa.] July 27th 1774

Dear Colo.

On Sunday Evining or Munday Morning william orr one of the Most orderley Men I thought I had Ran away and has tuck a horse and other things as I have Sent you an advertisment of and I am Convinced he will Make for Som Ship in potomack River I have Sent two Men after Him and fernished them with horses and Money and have wrote to My Brother Richard Stephenson in Berkeley and James Mccormick to Esist the Men I Sent and to forward this Letter and advertisment to you1 I should have folowed him My Sellfe but all the Men Except Som old men are gon with My Brothers down to the Enden towns and Sence the[y] Started there has been Scen about the Monangahala Som parteys of endens a Coming in to the Enhapetance and we owerLay Expect them to Strike Somwhere the Indens has Keld and taken with in this ten days 13 people up about the forks of Cheat River which is a bout 25 Miles from Me and I would have folowd this Man My Selfe but I have the Charge of Both My Brothers fameley tell there Return and if I would Leve home the people would all give up My fort and Move over the Mountains for I have above 200 people in My Fort att this time Cheifley women and Cildren for all the Men is gon to the towns and Ever Senes the Men Set off to the town Evrey bodys is flew to the Forts and it Scemes to Me our Standing of our ground here a good Dele depends on the Sucsess of our Men that is gon agains the towns the govener wrote verey Ernestly to Capt. Conely to give My Brother Wm Crawford the Comand of all the Men that Is gon against the towns which amount to a bout 700 men Encluding all the Militia that Come from Below and Coneley him Selfe to Reside att Fort pitt Mjer Macdonald Came up here and is gon down [to] wheelin in order to take the Comand But I have Seen Severell Letters from Lordonmore both to My Brother and to Coneley and he has Not Mentioned Macdonalds Name in them but I hered by Mr Brown the axpress who told Me him selfe that on thirsday Last he parted with Lordonmore att winchester and he wase to perseed amedently to this Neabour Hood Where I hope he will Reglate Maters him Selfe.2

I have sold all the Men but two and I bleve should have Sold them but the Man that is Run awaw had a very Sore foot he Cut with an ax which wase Not Long well and John Smith wase Not well of the Fould disorder which he had when he Left your House I Sold peter Miller and John Wood to one Mr Edward Coke for £45 the Money to be aplied to use of building your Mill and I sold Thomas Mcfarson and his Wife and James Low to Majer John Mccoluck and Mr James Enis for £65 pounds paible in Six Month with Intrest from the date and My Brother wm tuck Thomas White and the Boy John Knight and is Ether to pay you for them or Return them in Case you Could prosacute your design down the River and I tuck John Smith and Wm Ore on the same terms So that In Justice I am acountable to you for the Man If he Is Never got3 But I Should have Sold the hole of the Sarvents agreeable to your Letter if I Could a got Cash or good pay but the Confusion of times put it out of My power and out here we had one day peace and the Next day ware So it wase hard to know how to act Even if you where here your Selfe for I have been Confind att home Ever Sen[c]e I Come up here I onley went down to Fort pitt a day or two and two of My own Sarvent and two Meletia Men Ran away and I folowd them My Selfe and Koch them all down att bed ford and brought them back and while I wase gon from home two of your Men John Wood and peeter Miller had Stole a quantity of bacon and bred and wase to a started the verey Night I got home but a man of Mine discoverd on them there design and I Sold them Emedently and I would have sold the hole if I Could or deliverd them to Mr Simson but he would Not be Concarnd with them att Eney Reate my waggon and team had been att work att your Mill for som time a halling of the timber Stone and Lime and Sand for your Mill and I went over to the [mill] to Esist in haling of som of the Largest of the timber but the Leate Elarming acoumpt of the Indens the workemen has all Stopt and I have broate home My team and I thin⟨mutilated⟩ a pitey it wase Ever begun in these ⟨mutilated⟩ Som times as it apears to me it will be a verey Expencive Job to you before it is done all the Carpentrs I brought out for you there pay Stopt the Sixth of May Exept Som of them that wase att work att your Mill I Contnued them Longer but I pay them My selfe I Shall obsarve your orders in R[e]gard to setling with the Carpentrs pray take all peans you Can in Advertising of this Man to provent his geting off by water. So I am Sir your Most Hble Savent

Vale: Crawford


1The enclosed advertisement reads: “Five Pounds Reward[.] Run away from the Subscriber living on Jacobs Creek near Steward Crossings in Westmoreland County Pennsylvania, on Sunday Night the 24th Inst. A Convict servant Man named Wm Orre the Property of Conl George Washington, he is a well made man about 5 foot 10 Inches high, and about 24 years of Age, he was born in Scotland and talks that Dialect pretty much, he is of a Red Complection & very full Faced, with short Sandy coulard Hair, and very Remarkable Thumbs they being both crooked; he had on and took with him, an old Felt Hatt, bound with black Binding, one white Cotton Coat and Jacket with black Horn Buttons, one old brown Jacket, one pair of snuff coulard Breeches, one pair of Trowzers made in Sailers Fashion and they are made of Sail Duck and have not been washed, a pair of Red leggins and Shoes tied with Strings, two Oznabrigs Shirts, and one Holland Shirt marked V.C. which he Stole and a Blanket.

“He Stole likewise a Black Horse about 14 hands high, branded on the near Shoulder and Buttock R.W. & shod before. he has neither Bridle nor Saddle that we know of, I expect he will make to some Seaport Town, as he has been much used to the Seas. Whoever takes up said Servant and secures him, so that he and Horse may be had again, shall Receive the above Reward; or Three Pounds for the Man alone, and Reasonable Charges if brought home paid by Me—Vale. Crawford for Conl Geo. Washington July 25th 1774. N.B. all Masters of Vessels are forbid taking him out of the Country on their Peril. V.C.” (DLC:GW). Orre was probably one of the four convicts bought by Crawford in Baltimore earlier in the year. See William McGachen to GW, 13 Mar. 1774, and note 1 of that document. Orre, also known as William Cunningham, was sold by GW in August. See Cash Accounts, August, n.14. James McCarmick lived on Bullskin Run and had served with GW in the Fort Necessity campaign.

2The expedition to the Indian towns was planned by John Connolly and approved by Dunmore, not only to send troops to destroy the upper Shawnee towns on the Scioto and Muskingum rivers but also to build Fort Fincastle and Fort Gower at the mouths of Wheeling and Hockhocking creeks. Dunmore recommended William Crawford as a “prudent, active, and resolute” man (Dunmore to Connolly, 20 June 1774, Pa. Archives, ser. 1, 4:522–23). Major Angus McDonald, however, did lead the attack on the Shawnee towns in late July and early August. Valentine Crawford’s other brother was John Stephenson, who had settled near the Great Crossing of the Youghiogheny in 1768.

3William McGachen had purchased six indentured servants for GW at the same time he purchased the four convicts. John Smith and Thomas Wight were two of these convicts. See McGachen to GW, 13 Mar. 1774, and note 1 of that document. The five indentures for the six indentured servants are in DLC:GW dated 1 Dec. 1773: Peter Miller of “Entrem” (Antrim) in Ireland was a 21–year-old, unmarried husbandman; John Wood of Lowther in Scotland was an unmarried weaver, 37 years old; Thomas McPherson, husbandman, and his wife Elizabeth were from Nairn in Scotland; James Low (Lou) was a 36–year-old unmarried husbandman; and John Knight “of Auchnea in Scotland but now of the Town and County of Newcastle upon Tyne Yeoman” was an unmarried, 21–year-old “Servant or Bookeeper.” All but McPherson and his wife were to serve three years; the McPhersons were to serve for four years. All were able to sign their names except Elizabeth McPherson. The ship Swift, George Straker master, arrived in Maryland with its load of servants on 26 Feb. 1774.

The young John Knight purchased by William Crawford was probably the surgeon’s mate named John Knight (d. 1838) who was captured with William Crawford in the Sandusky campaign of 1782 and provided an eyewitness account of Crawford’s torture and death at the stake. Knight settled near where William Crawford lived in Pennsylvania and after his service in the Revolution married Crawford’s niece Polly Stephenson. See Crumrine, History of Washington County description begins Boyd Crumrine. History of Washington County, Pennsylvania, with Biographical Sketches of Many of Its Pioneers and Prominent Men. Philadelphia, 1882. description ends , 115, and Butterfield, Washington—Irvine Correspondence description begins C. W. Butterfield, ed. Washington-Irvine Correspondence: The Official Letters which Passed Between Washington and Brig.-Gen. William Irvine and Between Irvine and Others Concerning Military Affairs in the West from 1781 to 1783. Madison, Wis., 1882. description ends , 117–18, n.2.

Edward Cook (1738–1808), a well-to-do resident of Westmoreland County, Pa., later was a member of the Pennsylvania provincial congress and county lieutenant of Westmoreland County. John McCullough, who as a child spent eight years as a captive of the Delaware Indians, was a magistrate for West Augusta. James Ennis (Innis) in 1775 was made a member of the committee of the West Augusta district.

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