George Washington Papers

To George Washington from John Baylor, 25 April 1785

From John Baylor

Newmarket [Va.] Ap⟨ril the⟩ 25 1785—

Dr Sir

I am just returned from Richmond, where by appointment, I was to have met Mr Dandridge and to have fixed upon some Mode of settling the Debt due from my Father’s Estate to Mr Custis’s, as his Death prevents that settlement and the only Administrator 1—as I am informed. I should now bee happy to have an interview with you, I should have waited upon you, but by your Advertisment, I find you are to be in Richmond in a few Days, therefore hope if not inconvenient, that I may either have the pleasure of your Company here or meet you at the Bowling Green the Day that you will be there 2—This sum is to be raised by my Brother George’s Estate,3 I have given a replevy Bond for upward of thirty three hundred Pounds, and if the affair is rigorously enforced, it would greatly prejudice my Brother’s Estate, he has directed by his Will that as much of his Land shall be sold as will pay his proportions of my Father’s and his own Debts, I would also give up as many Negroes at present as would prevent Mr Custis’s Estate from falling into any disagreeable Situation—Mr Dandridge in a late letter did observe that if I could raise about one fourth Part of the Sum this Month, that he could wait for the Ballance 4 I very much wish to see you—I have the Honor to be Dr Sir Yr

John Baylor


John Baylor (1750–1808) of Newmarket, Caroline County, was the eldest son of John Baylor (1705–1772), from whom he inherited Newmarket.

1Bartholomew Dandridge was the sole administrator of the estate of his nephew, John Parke Custis, who died in 1781. Dandridge had died earlier this month, and so Baylor was turning to GW, as Custis’s stepfather, to deal with the Baylor family’s indebtedness to the Custis estate.

2For GW’s “Advertisement” regarding the meeting of the Dismal Swamp Company on 2 May, see GW to Bushrod Washington, 3 April, n.3. GW spent the night of 30 April at Baylor’s Newmarket en route to Richmond to attend the meeting. Bowling Green was an ordinary in Caroline County at the present site of the town by that name.

3John Baylor’s younger brother George Baylor, GW’s aide-de-camp during the Revolutionary War, had died in November 1784 in Barbados.

4When the Daniel Parke Custis estate was settled in 1761, Martha Parke Custis received as a part of her share of her father’s estate Bernard Moore’s bond of £1,400 sterling. See doc. III-B, in Settlement of the Daniel Parke Custis Estate, 20 April 1759–5 Nov. 1761, printed in Papers, Colonial Series description begins W. W. Abbot et al., eds. The Papers of George Washington, Colonial Series. 10 vols. Charlottesville, Va., 1983–95. description ends , 6:252–61. In June 1778 GW formally turned over to John Parke Custis half of his sister’s estate. In Ledger B description begins Manuscript Ledger Book 2, 1772-93, in George Washington Papers, Library of Congress. description ends , 216, GW noted in one instance that Custis had received £1338.11 sterling, “Bernard Moore’s & John Baylors Bonds allotted him.” He also noted that Custis was entitled to £2,360.0.2, “Bernard Moore’s & John Baylor’s Bonds the Moiety of the Ballance due to his Sister Miss Custis at her Death as ⟨was⟩ Settled by the General Court.” In 1786 a judgment was rendered against the John Baylor estate for £6,771.17.4 in favor of John Parke Custis’s heirs, and on 28 Nov. 1786 GW secured an order of the Caroline County court for the sheriff to sell thirteen of the slaves belonging to the estate of George Baylor for partial payment of one half of the £6,771.17.4 that was owed to the Custis heirs by the estate of the elder Baylor, who had acted as security for his friend Bernard Moore (see Moore to GW, 11 May 1772).

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