George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Major Francis Murray, 13 February 1778

From Major Francis Murray

Newtown [Pa.] Feb. 13th 1778


Col. Stewart about Ten Days since Seized a Quantity of Cloth by approbation of your Excellency, at Mr Thomas Jenks Fulling Mill, belonging to divers Inhabitants of this County1—At that Time and Since there has been near 1000 yds brought and Lodged at my House, where it now remains and nearly the Same Quantity remains at said Mill to be finished off, and then to be brought here—A few days ago I received a Letter from Col. Stewart, informing me that He had your permission to take the White Cloth for his Regiment,2 and in consequence thereof, I have employed the Taylors of his Regimt together with several others who I expect will finish the Same in a Short time—As Col. Stewart has given no direction Concerning the other Cloths, I think it necessary to inform Your Excellency that there is between 7 and 800 yds of good Cloths of different Colours remaing at my House; Which the owners are Dayly applying to me for, and insinuates that I detain them of my own authority only.3

Having no particular orders how to act Respecting said Cloths, Would be Glad to have your Excellencys Directions Concerning the same.

I would observe that those People to whom the Cloths belong are in General Wealthy, or in easy Circumstances, and there is Reason to suspect there is many of them aganst the present measuers.

However there are several of them frindly to the present Cause—and there are several poor People that the want of their Cloths will prove very distressing to them and theire Families—Would beg leave to recommend that the Cloths taken be Valued and paid for as soon as possible, as some people Suspects they never will.

It is suprising what numbers of people pass to Philadelphia from this and other places Daily.

And am inform’d they Carry on Marketing little inferior to former times—there being no guards on the Road between here and the City: the Militia being about Four Miles back from the Cross Roads—it is not in my power to do any thing in Respect of Guar[d]ing the Roads, having only one Subalteron and 18 Privates, Siven of which are Station’d to guard the Fulling Mill While the Cloths are finishing off—Sir I have the Honour to be with Respect your Excellency Most obediant

Francis Murray Major


1Thomas Jenks, Sr. (1699–1797), established in the 1730s a fulling mill on Core Creek, southeast of Newtown in Middletown Township, Bucks County, Pennsylvania. At this time the mill was operated by his son Thomas Jenks, Jr. (1738–1799), who had been appointed a member of the committee of observation for Bucks County in December 1774, was elected to the state assembly in October 1775, and later served in the Pennsylvania state senate. On 9 Oct. 1779 Congress resolved to provide the younger Jenks with $7,467 to repay the owners of the cloth that Col. Walter Stewart had seized by GW’s direction (JCC description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds. Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789. 34 vols. Washington, D.C., 1904–37. description ends , 15:1157; seel also Stewart’s letter to GW of 28 January).

2Although John Fitzgerald informed Stewart of GW’s permission to seize the cloth on 29 Jan., no letter from GW giving Stewart “permission to take the White Cloth for his Regiment” has been found (see Stewart to GW, 28 Jan., source note).

3Loyalists raided Murray’s home a short time after this letter was written, capturing the cloth stored there and at Jenks’s fulling mill, as well as Murray himself (see John Lacey, Jr., to GW, 19 Feb., n.1).

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