George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Edward Snickers, 17 May 1784

From Edward Snickers

May the 17. 1784

Der Generale

I fulley intendid to aweaighted on you to pay you the Respeckte Due you and to Do Sume bisnees but finding by the paper that you wase not at home and parte of my Bisnees wase to no hume is to make the Deeds for the Lande you Solde at Coll mercers Salle and I have gote the five Lotes that Mr James mercer Boughte and Lote number one that William Hickman Boughte and the Lote number 21 which Sedwicke Bought1 and I have gote the Bonde you give Mr mercer and Mr Sedwick asighened to me but not hickmanes as he boughte two Lotes & peaid Mr Lunde Washington the Cash for Sedwickes bonde by the hands of Mr John melton and he never Sighened the Bond to me and I Cane not now git the Cash of Sedwick with out Bringing a sut as I hade peaid him for the Lande before I peaid of his mande and am obliged to Bring Sute in youre name against him which I hope you have no obecksion to[.]2 the persones that Loves on youre 2 Lotes have peaid the Taxes on it quar. Since the yere 1778 agreabile to youre Dereckshones to me in 1779 and I thinke thay qoughte no[w] to begine to pay you Sumthing 3 thay Colde be Rented out now verey well I wase in hopes to aseene you upe in oure Country th⟨is⟩ time—and if you Do not when I heare you are Come home I will weaighte on you and aney thing that I cane sarve you in pies to Command and it will give me plesher to Do it 4 my Complementes to youre Ladey and am with Due esteme youre Sincere frind and moste obedente Humbile Sarvnt

Ed. Snickers

N.B. Sur if you will Calle to mind you and Mr James mercer told me at the Sale that if the Estate Solde for more than twelve thousand five hundrid pounds that I Shude be peaid whate Coll mercer wase in Due me I am yours E.S.


Horse trader, tavern keeper, wagoner, military supplier, plantation manager for others and planter for himself, and land speculator, Edward Snickers before his death in 1790 had become a well-to-do gentleman in Frederick County with extensive landholdings. GW used Snickers’s horses and wagons to have supplies hauled between Alexandria and Winchester for the Virginia Regiment during the French and Indian War and for his own purposes thereafter. Beginning in the 1750s GW also sometimes stopped at Snickers’s ordinary located near where Snickers’s ferry crossed the Shenandoah River. Snickers became a commissary for the Virginia forces on the frontier early in the Revolution, but this came to an end in 1777 when he was accused of fraud. See Jones, “Snickers,” in which the scattered references to Edward Snickers’s multifarious business activities in the Frederick County records and elsewhere have been collected.

1As one of the attorneys, or agents, appointed to dispose of George Mercer’s Virginia property, GW in November 1774 held sales, on 21–22 Nov., of that part of Mercer’s property lying in Loudoun and Fauquier counties and then, on 24–27 Nov., of his property lying along the Shenandoah River in Frederick county. GW himself ended up buying two of the lots in Frederick. In December 1774 he also acquired George Mercer’s half of the Four Mile Run tract in Fairfax County. GW took this land in partial payment of the indebtedness of the John Mercer estate to the Daniel Parke Custis estate. For discussion of GW’s continued involvement with the Mercers as a consequence of these sales, see GW to Francis Lightfoot Lee and Ralph Wormeley, Jr., 20 June 1784, GW to John Francis Mercer, 8 July 1784, and GW’s Statement concerning George Mercer’s Estate, 1 Feb. 1789, and the notes in the three documents. The advertisement, placed in Rind’s Virginia Gazette (Williamsburg), 30 June 1774, by John Tayloe and GW, described the Frederick County tract of land as “5000 Acres on Shenando river . . . opposite to Snicker’s Ordinary, and binding on the River about seven Miles.” Before the sale, the tract was surveyed and divided into twenty-two lots of about three hundred acres each. Snickers seems not to have bought any land at the sale in 1774, but he subsequently had in his possession at one time or another a total of at least eight lots: lot no. 1 and those numbered 16 through 22. On 3 June 1777 Snickers sold lots 16, 17, and 19 in the eastern part of the Mercer tract, and not on the river, to Mahlon Taylor (see Frederick County Deed Book, 17:259); and by the time he made his will in 1790, he owned three adjoining lots along the river, nos. 18, 20, and 22. Five of these six lots were bought at the sale by George Mercer’s brother James. Two other lots that Snickers owned and refers to here are lot no. 1, at the northwestern corner of the tract, which he bought from William Hickman of Frederick County, and lot no. 21 at the northeastern corner of the Mercer tract, which he got from Benjamin Sedwick. Snickers still held lot no. 1 but not lot no. 21 in 1790. For Edward Snickers’s will, see Frederick County Will Book, 5:296.

2GW bought lots 4 and 5 on the river after the sale.

3On 8 Aug. 1785 John Sedwick of Frederick County and GW exchanged letters about this piece of property. Sedwick wrote GW that his father, the late Benjamin Sedwick, bought lot no. 21 at the Mercer sale in November 1774 and in 1776 sold it “to Edward Snickers who by Agreement was to pay of the bond as a part of the Price. Mr Snickers in 1779 or 1780, Paid of[f] the Bond in your Absence to Mr Lun Washington and obtained the Bond, and though he has had the Land in possession ever since 1776, he has now brought A Suit in your Name, I dare say without your knowledge, on my Fathers Bond against his Executors and Security.” GW assured Sedwick he knew nothing of the suit, and on 11 April 1786 John Sedwick wrote from Leesburg that Snickers did pursue his suit but lost and had withdrawn a similar suit that he had instituted in the Virginia General Court. For Snickers’s holdings in the Mercer tract, see also Jones, “Snickers,” description begins Ingrid Jewell Jones. Edward Snickers, Yeoman. In Proceedings of the Clarke County Historical Association 17 (1971–75). description ends 26–27, 40–41.

4For GW’s response to this, see his letter of 25 June.

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