George Washington Papers

To George Washington from James Cleveland, 21 May 1775

From James Cleveland

May 21th 1775—kanhawa Great bend


I Am so well sattes fied that You have Got the Last letter1 that I shall Not right so Full as I should If I thought that Could fail as I give You a Full a Count of all My Prosedeurs & that the sarvents Plaged me Much At that Time Fore of them Ware gone to the Indanes town & that Day I should set out after them but Concluded To send stefenes after them & he Returnd to me Last Ni⟨ght⟩ With two of them & the Man that I have sent with him as a pilet is gone one to the other town as these Two Ware so fare spent that thay Could hardele git home & are know both of them Sick & so pore that if thay live Thay Would Not be abel to worck in less then tenn Day⟨s⟩ the best a Count I Can give you is that one of them is starved to Det⟨h as⟩ he Could Not Swim thay Left him With out ⟨mutilated⟩ tacklen & as thay weare 17 Dayes out so that he Must be Dead but if he shoud Git to any of the towns I shall Git him because I have got Capt. Rusell to right to the king of the Indanes & he has promist if any of his hunters Comes a Cross him he Shall be brought in Safe2 But I thinck he is Dead for When the rest left him he Was all Most spent his Name is Edward Cu⟨mutilated⟩ & John baley & W. braser & Charles Stefenes & Willam trase the head man this trip.3 he is a good hand or I would Sell him the other fore When I stand by Cant Do as Much as he Can but tenn pounds is the most that I have been oferd for ether of them & that Mol⟨iss⟩ Pay so that I Do Not know What to Do but as thay Would Not stay at home & good for Nothing When there & all the hiord hands wore out I am resolved to part With them tho you Would Be a loser the time after them is more as I have Lost 49 Dayes after them be sides Expences so that My Improve ments is small as yet but small as thay Are ther has been No lost time Nor shall Not bee While I live.4

I have got but 25½ busheles of Corn at this time & None to be had hear I hope you would be hear seoon And bring us Corn or flower & I thinck flower is As Cheap as Corn be Caase in broth it goes further & that is Chef of our Diot When we Can Git any thing to Mack it I am bulding know & hope to Right better to you Next time I have had So Much lost Time that my Worck Done is Not worth mencohing So I Con Clud your To Command.

James Cleveland

N.B. Pray let me know how Mattrs Stands be twen great Britton & a merica.

ALS, DLC:GW. This letter has been numbered by Cleveland “No. ⟨9⟩.”

1Cleveland’s most recent known letter is dated 12 May and is numbered “7.”

2The Indian chief was probably the Shawnee chief Cornstalk who had led the Indians at the Battle of Point Pleasant the previous year. After the treaty with Governor Dunmore, Cornstalk attempted to maintain the peace and was a frequent visitor to Fort Blair (Thwaites, Dunmore’s War description begins Reuben Gold Thwaites and Louise Phelps Kellogg, eds. Documentary History of Dunmore’s War, 1774. Madison, Wis., 1905. description ends , 432). At the end of May the commander of the fort, Capt. William Russell, received a long visit from Cornstalk (William Russell to William Fleming, 12 June, in Thwaites, Revolution on the Upper Ohio description begins Reuben Gold Thwaites and Louise Phelps Kellogg, eds. The Revolution on the Upper Ohio, 1775–1777. Madison, Wis., 1908. description ends , 12–17). Cornstalk was murdered by militiamen at Fort Blair in 1777 after he had brought warning of an Indian attack on the fort (Thwaites, Dunmore’s War description begins Reuben Gold Thwaites and Louise Phelps Kellogg, eds. Documentary History of Dunmore’s War, 1774. Madison, Wis., 1905. description ends , 432–33).

3The first three servants have not been identified. Charles Stevens “of Bristol in the County of Somerset Labourer,” was one of the servants bought by GW on 26 Jan. in Alexandria (see Diaries description begins Donald Jackson and Dorothy Twohig, eds. The Diaries of George Washington. 6 vols. Charlottesville, Va., 1976–79. description ends , 3:304). In DLC:GW there are six indentures dated 14 Nov. 1774 of servants brought in on the ship Elizabeth, Frederick Baker master, which “arrived at her Moorings,” probably at Alexandria, on 22 Jan. 1775. Of these, the 22–year-old Stevens was apprenticed to GW for a term of five years. Another one, William Tracey (Trasey), a 30–year-old woolcomber of “the Parish of St George Bloomsbury in the County of Midd[lese]x,” was apprenticed for four years. The other four were: Charles Bush of Southwark in Surry, laborer, 18 years old, to serve for five years; Thomas Spear (Spears) of Bristol in Somerset, a 22–year-old carpenter and joiner, to serve four years; Thomas Doe of the parish of St. James in Middlesex County, a 22–year-old groom, apprenticed for five years; Joseph Smith, a 24–year-old painter from Hertford in the County of Hertfordshire, apprenticed for four years. Only Doe, Spear, and Smith were able to sign their indentures. Thomas Spear was one of two servants who ran away from Mount Vernon in April. See Advertisement for Runaway Servants, 23 April, and note 1 of that document. In August, Joseph Smith ran away from Fielding Lewis’s house at Fredericksburg. He had been sent to paint Lewis’s home and eventually joined Lord Dunmore’s forces. He was wounded and captured at Hampton. See Fielding Lewis to GW, 23 April, n.2, and 14 Nov.; Lund Washington to GW, 3 Dec. 1775.

4For more on Cleveland’s problems with the servants and the eventual disposition of some of them, see Cleveland to GW, 12 May, and references in note 10 of that document.

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