George Washington Papers

Certificate, 20 April 1775


[20 April 1775]

I do hereby certifie that the Bearer Mr. Philemon Waters was a Soldier at the battle of the Great Meadows in the year 1754, and that he this day applied to me to receive his claim to Land under Mr. Dinwiddie’s proclamation of 1754. But as the 200,000 acres granted by that proclamation hath been long since surveyed, distributed and patents issued in the names of those who put in their claim before Novr. 1773, it is not in my power to give him any relief now.1

Given under my hand this 20th day of April, 1775.

Go. Washington.

Greene, Winchester description begins Katherine Glass Greene. Winchester, Virginia, and Its Beginnings, 1743–1814. Strasburg, Va., 1926. description ends , 196. The document is designated “Copy.”

Philemon Waters, Jr. (1734–1796), was born in Prince William County but by 1765 had moved to South Carolina. He kept a livery stable in Charleston but accumulated over the years large grants of land in South Carolina, and during and after the Revolution became a prominent citizen serving in both houses of the legislature and in various other public offices in the state. In 1754 Waters had served in GW’s old Virginia Regiment, and he fired the first shot at the enemy at the action at Fort Necessity.

1Waters wrote Adam Stephen on 3 June 1775 that he had been informed recently of the 200,000 acres that had been laid out for veterans of the Fort Necessity campaign and asking whether it would be worth his while to come and claim his property (ibid., 195–96). Stephen informed him on 17 July that he was eligible for 600 acres under the proclamation “and had it depended on me you should have had a double share for firing the first gun at the Enemy that day July 3d. 1754” (ibid., 196). After coming to Alexandria to receive this certificate of service from GW, Waters made oath before Prince William County justice Henry Peyton on 23 May 1775 that he was entitled to land under the 1754 proclamation but “that being a resident of South Carolina he never heard in any manner whatever until about the middle of April last that any time was limited for the several Claimants under the aforesaid proclamation to come in and make good their several claims to the above Lands or he the said Deponent should have used his best endeavours to have entered his Claim in due time” (ibid., 197).

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