George Washington Papers

To George Washington from William Fitzhugh, June 1789

From William Fitzhugh

Millmont June 1789

Dear Sir

Perceiving that Congress in the Establishment of different Ports of Entry &c. in Maryland has in Contemplation to Establish an Office on St Marys River Potomack—Permit me among the numerous applicants for those offices to recommend in the warmest Terms Capt. Robert Chesley for that of Saint Marys residing on that river.1 He is a Gentleman well qualified to discharge the duties of the office—was a Brave officer Captain in the Maryland line of the American Army unfortunately captured at Staten Island and was a Prisoner upwards of three years[.] He is the Eldest son of my old Friend Robert Chesley Esqr. who Possibly may have been Known by you. I have the honor to Be with Perfect respect and Esteem yr Ecys affet. & obligd ⟨Hble⟩ Sert

William Fitzhugh


William Fitzhugh (1721–1798; of Md.), the son of George Fitzhugh (c.1690–1722), was a native of Stafford County, Va., and represented the county in the House of Burgesses from 1748 to 1758. In 1752 he married Ann Frisby Rousby (1727–1793), widow of John Rousby, and moved to Rousby Hall in Calvert County, Maryland. Fitzhugh served extensively in the Maryland legislature and held a number of local offices. He had served with GW’s half brother Lawrence in the Cartagena campaign and became a close friend of GW during the French and Indian War.

1Robert Chesley, Jr., was the son of Robert Chesley (d. 1768), a St. Mary’s County, Md., planter who represented his county in the Maryland legislature and served as justice of the peace for the county intermittently from 1739 to 1761. The younger Chesley rose to the rank of captain with Maryland forces during the Revolution. He wrote Michael Jenifer Stone, United States congressman from Maryland, on 28 June soliciting Stone’s aid in acquiring a customs appointment in St. Mary’s. “I have taken the liberty of encloseing a Letter to the President in my Favor, which I am fearfull will get to hand to late unless you have been so obligeing to make the necessary application—It is said we have two or three applicants from the County for the Office, but cou’d I flatter myself with haveing an equal share of merit with those Gentlemen; shoud then hope a preference would be given to those who suffer’d most in their Countrys Cause” (DLC:GW). Chesley’s letter, together with Fitzhugh’s, was probably submitted to GW by Stone in his letter of 22 July to the president. In August 1789 GW appointed Chesley surveyor for St. Mary’s, and in 1792 he was made inspector of excise (Executive Journal description begins Journal of the Executive Proceedings of the Senate of the United States of America: From the commencement of the First, to the termination of the Nineteenth Congress. Vol. 1. Washington, D.C., 1828. description ends , 1:11, 14, 104, 111).

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