George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Benjamin Tupper, 26 October 1785

From Benjamin Tupper

Pittsburgh Octr 26th 1785.

Dear General,

We have just returned to this place from an unsucessful attempt to Survey the Western Territory, Coll Parker who will deliver this will be able to inform your Excellency the reasons of our not succeeding agreeable to our wishes—I am greatly charmed with the Country, it exceeds any I ever saw, and I know of nothing that will prevent me Commenceing one of the first adventurers in that delightfull Country—I intend on my return to Consult with General Putnam and no doubt we shall fall upon some plan to engage a number of our friends to join in a scheme so interesting as that of settling in that Garden of America—One thing which will induce me to settle in that Country is, that your Excellency promise to honour us with a visit which I shall set more by than the Interest I possess in Massetchusetts.1

I hope these will find your Excellency in possession of all the happiness human nature is capable of—Coll Sherman, Capt. Martin and the Surveyors with us desire their most dutiful regards to your Excellency, please to present mine to your Lady, to Mr Lun Washington and his Lady.2

Dear General, some of your friends may exceed me in expressions of regards &c. but believe me when I assure your Excellency that no one can exceed in affection that of Your Excellencies most dutiful humble Servant

Benj. Tupper


1At the urging of his friend Rufus Putnam, Benjamin Tupper (1738–1792) was named by Congress to serve in Putnam’s place as the Massachusetts surveyor in the expedition of September 1785 to begin the survey of the seven ranges under the Land Ordinance of 1785. Tupper in the company of surveyors from other states left Pittsburgh for the Ohio country in mid-September. Because of threats of violence from the Indians north of the Ohio, Thomas Hutchins (1730–1789), who as Geographer of the United States headed the mission, decided on 15 Oct. to discontinue the survey, and the surveyors arrived back in Pittsburgh on 23 October. Putnam and Tupper were organizers of the Ohio Company in 1787 and leaders of the settlement at Marietta on the Muskingum beginning in 1788. See Thomas Hutchins to President of Congress, 15 Sept., 24 Nov. 1785, Rufus Putnam to Congress, 11 June 1785, and Motion of Massachusetts Delegates, 18 July 1785, DNA:PCC, items 60, 56, 36. See also Putnam to GW, 5 April 1784, and notes. Alexander Parker, an officer in the 2d Virginia Regiment from 1775 until the end of the war, was the surveyor for Virginia on the expedition.

2Isaac Sherman served in the 2d, 5th, and 8th Connecticut regiments during the Revolution, reaching the rank of lieutenant colonel, and Absalom Martin served throughout the war as an officer in the 1st or 4th New Jersey regiments. Sherman was the surveyor on the expedition for Connecticut, and Martin, for New Jersey.

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