George Washington Papers

To George Washington from John Lasher, 2 May 1789

From John Lasher

New York May 2d 1789

The Memorial of John Lasher Most respectfully Sheweth

That your Memorialist in the glorious contest which has happily secured the Independence and Liberty of the United States was among the first who engaged in the service of his Country.

That at the commencment of the contest he was appointed Colonel of one of the Regiments of Militia, and in 1776 served in that Capacity in the State Levies which composed Genl Scotts Brigade, and afterwards until the close of the War he served as Commissary of Military Stores for the State; an appointment attended with considerable trouble and little emollument.

That by the loss of three Houses of considerable value in the City of New York in the great Fire which hapned a few days after the evacuation of this City by our Army,1 and other losses occasioned by the Depreciation of the paper money, your Memorialist has been deprived of the dear earnings of many years close application to business which he fondly flattered himself, would have inabled him to have supported his Family with comfort & decency, But thus situated your Memorialist has now in an advanced stage of life little else to depend upon for the maintanance of himself, a wife, and seven children, but the Salary he receives from this State as Surveyor & Searcher of the Port of New York, which Office he now sustains, and he flatters himself has discharged to general sattisfaction, as he is concious he has with fidellity & Integrity.

Your Memorialist therefore humbly prays that in the arrangements to be made under the New Government he may be appointed to the same Office, or to such other Post or Office in the Custom House under the Collector as in your wisdom shall seem meet. And your Memorialist as in duty bound will ever pray

John Lasher


John Lasher (1724–1806), a New York City merchant, served as a colonel of New York militia from 1775 to 1783 and as surveyor of the port, a state appointment, from 1784 to 1789. In 1789 GW renewed the appointment under the new government.

1On the night of 20–21 Sept. 1776 a fire of uncertain origin destroyed almost five hundred houses in the area between Broadway and the North River before being extinguished by British soldiers and citizens of the city. GW wrote Gov. Jonathan Trumbull of Connecticut on 23 Sept. 1776 that “on Friday night about eleven or twelve oClock a fire broke out in the City of New York, which burning rapidly till after Sunrise next morning, destroyed a great number of Houses—By what means it happened we do not know; but the Gentleman who brought the letter out last night from General Howe, and who was one of his Aid De Camps informed Colo. Reed that several of our Countrymen had been punished with various deaths on account of it. Some by hanging, others by burning &c. alledging that they was apprehended when committing the fact.”

Index Entries