George Washington Papers

Tobias Lear to Sarah Nestor, 9 August 1790

Tobias Lear to Sarah Nestor

New York August 9th 1790.


The President of the United States of America has lately received a Petition from you,1 praying his assistance in gaining some information relative to your Son Richard Nestor2 who came over to this Country some years ago. In consequence of which he ordered one of the Gentlemen of his family to make the desired inquiry of a Gentleman belonging to Portsmouth in Virginia, who has been so good as to give the information contained in the enclosed letter.3 I am Madam, Yr most Obedt Servt

Tobias Lear
Secy to the President of the United States

ALS (copy), DNA: RG 59, Miscellaneous Letters; LB, DLC:GW.

Sarah Nestor lived in Tuam, county Galway, Ireland, according to the address line in Lear’s ALS copy. She may have followed her son to Virginia before 1792 (WMQ, description begins The William and Mary Quarterly: A Magazine of Early American History. Williamsburg, Va. description ends 2nd ser., 8 [1928], 183).

1Sarah Nestor’s petition has not been found. On 9 Aug. 1790 Lear wrote to Richard Nestor: “The enclosed Petition was lately received by the President of the United States, in obedience to whose commands I now transmit it to you by Colo. Parker” (DNA: RG 59, Miscellaneous Letters).

2Richard Nestor (Nester) emigrated from county Galway sometime before 1780, when he purchased land in Norfolk County, Va., confiscated from Loyalists. In William Booker’s 1782 “list of the families of Whites & blacks thats on the south side of the Western branch as far as new Mill Creek,” five whites and four blacks are enumerated under Nestor’s name. In the 1785 state enumeration, his Portsmouth household, at the same location, consisted of six whites (William H. Stewart, History of Norfolk County, Virginia, and Representative Citizens [Chicago, 1902], 56, 57; Lower Norfolk County Virginia Antiquary, 5 [1906], 136; Heads of Families [Virginia], description begins Heads of Families at the First Census of the United States Taken in the Year 1790: Virginia; Records of the State Enumerations, 1782 to 1785. 1908. Reprint. Baltimore, 1970. description ends 94).

3The enclosed letter, probably from Col. Josiah Parker of Portsmouth, Va., has not been found.

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