George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Philip Marsteller, 27 November 1786

From Philip Marsteller

Alexa[ndria] Novr 27th 1786


I recd your favor of this date and agreeable to Request have fully explain’d to them the Contents thereof, and hartily wish their behavior may merit your Attention.

I enclose the Indentures Signed on the part of the Servants, your part Sr after being Signed will belong to them. Col. Hooe informs me that the Laws of the State do not require the like Transactions to be done before a Majestrate therefore have not applied to any.1 The Man does not understand Thatching, that being a Trade in the old Country—but the Woman Says she understands making Cheese according to the Custom of her Country, which comes very near to the mode of making English Cheese, by what I could learn from her 2—Your further Commands shall always be attended to Sir By Your Very Humle Servt

P. Marsteller


1The Virginia law relating to foreign indentured servants specified that their “contract of service shall be assignable by the master to any person to whom the servant shall, in the presence of a justice of the peace, freely consent that it shall be assigned” (12 Hening description begins William Waller Hening, ed. The Statutes at Large; Being a Collection of All the Laws of Virginia, from the First Session of the Legislature, in the Year 1619. 13 vols. 1819–23. Reprint. Charlottesville, Va., 1969. description ends 190–91).

2On his first day at Mount Vernon, 28 Nov., Daniel Overdonck was set to work “ditching” (Diaries description begins Donald Jackson and Dorothy Twohig, eds. The Diaries of George Washington. 6 vols. Charlottesville, Va., 1976–79. description ends , 5:73). Overdonck remained with GW at least until July 1788.

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