From James Tilghman, Sr.
Chester Town Maryland Octr 6 1790
Admidst the variety of important Objects which employ your attention, it would be no wonder if so small a matter as Miss Andersons Legacy under Colo. Colvills Will,1 should escape you And you will therefore be so good as to excuse my just reminding you of it. I would not interrupt you while on the publick business And I assure you, Sir, it is with reluctance I give you the least degree of trouble in the present short recess of Congress[.] But I am persuaded you will excuse me when you consider that I am solliciting the Case of a young Lady of great merit, who has seen better days, And to whom the receipt of this Legacy (long suspended by a series of unavoidable Events) whenever it can be accomplished, will be very convenient[.] To save you the trouble of looking back for letters you and Mr West have heretofore written to Miss Andersons friends on the Subject, I beg leave to furnish you with Copies of two letters I found amongst Miss Andersons papers.2 I would observe that Mr West is uncertain as to the Amount of the Legacy and refer’s to papers probably not now to be come at: But I suppose the Will of Colo. Colvill may be seen in the Registry of Fairfax County or other repository of Wills in the State of Virginia[.]3 Any Satisfaction that may be required of Miss Anderson being the person described in the Will, may be had tho I think, and indeed, know, that the fact cannot admit of a doubt.4 I have the honour to be with the highest respect and Most sincere regard, yr most Obt hble serv.
James Tilghman, Sr. (1716–1793), father of GW’s trusted wartime aide Tench Tilghman, was a native of Talbot County, Md., who moved to Philadelphia in 1762 and held various provincial offices there. His Loyalism forced his retirement upon the outbreak of hostilities, and he returned to Maryland’s Eastern Shore, settling at Chestertown (see GW to Tilghman, 25 May 1769, source note, to Hugh Mercer, 8 Aug. 1776, n.1; Diaries description begins Donald Jackson and Dorothy Twohig, eds. The Diaries of George Washington. 6 vols. Charlottesville, Va., 1976–79. description ends , 3:103; Tilghman, History of Talbot County, description begins Oswald Tilghman. History of Talbot County, Maryland, 1661–1861 . . .. 2 vols. 1915. Reprint, Baltimore, 1967. description ends 1:6–7). For his previous correspondence with GW about Miss Anderson’s legacy, see Tilghman to GW, 7 July, 2 Aug., and 23 Sept. 1786, GW to Tilghman, 20 July and 4 Dec. 1786.
1. For Harriot Rebecca Anderson of Talbot County, Md., youngest daughter of London merchant and banker William Anderson and Rebecca C. Lloyd Anderson, and her legacy under Thomas Colvill’s will, see Edward Anderson to GW, 13 Aug. 1773, GW to Edward Anderson, 10 Sept. 1773, Henry Hollyday to GW, 30 April 1785, Tench Tilghman to GW, 14 May 1785, GW to Tench Tilghman, 23 May 1785, Thomas West to GW, 27 June 1786, n.1, GW to Thomas West, 6 Nov. 1786; see also Tilghman, History of Talbot County, description begins Oswald Tilghman. History of Talbot County, Maryland, 1661–1861 . . .. 2 vols. 1915. Reprint, Baltimore, 1967. description ends 1:48, 58. For the background to and previous correspondence about GW’s involvement as an executor of the estate of Col. Thomas Colvill, who died in 1766, see GW to John West, Jr., December 1767 and notes, Thomas Montgomerie to GW, 24 Oct. 1788 and source note, James Dunlop to GW, 3 April 1789 and source note, GW to Dunlop, 6 April 1789 and source note; Diaries description begins Donald Jackson and Dorothy Twohig, eds. The Diaries of George Washington. 6 vols. Charlottesville, Va., 1976–79. description ends , 2:11.
2. Mr. West was probably either John West, Jr., the principal acting executor of the Colvill estate before his death in 1777, or the Rev. William West of Baltimore, John’s executor (see GW to John West, Jr., December 1767, source note, to John Swan, 23 May 1785 and note 2, and to Tench Tilghman, 23 May 1785). The enclosures have not been positively identified but may have been GW to Edward Anderson, 10 Sept. 1773, and John West, Jr., to James Hollyday, 7 Feb. 1776, both in DLC:GW. Tilghman had previously sent GW a copy of the latter (see Henry Hollyday to GW, 30 April 1785, Tilghman to GW, 23 Sept. 1786).
4. Upon receipt of James Tilghman’s letter of 6 Oct., GW wrote from Mount Vernon on 29 Oct. 1790 to merchant James Dunlop of Georgetown, Md., the agent in charge of collecting a debt due to Thomas Colvill’s estate from the assignees of John Semple, who had purchased land from Colvill. GW’s letter reads: “Sometime before I left Virginia in 1789 I was informed by Mr Montgomerie that you would pay to me, as surviving Executor of the will of Colonel Thomas Colvill, the money which was due to that estate from the Assignees of Mr Semple, when you should receive it from the purchasers of the Maryland tract of land.
“There is now a demand on me from one of the Legatees of Colo. Colvill to the amount of about £220 Sterling, including interest which is accumulating.
“The original sum ought to have been paid years ago, and I am exceedingly anxious to do it without further delay, but am unable unless it is by the aid above mentioned. Be pleased therefore, Sir, to inform me if you can supply me with the above sum now, or when? that I may before I leave home be enabled either to comply with the demand, or to say when it may be expected, as the call has been painfully, to me, reiterated” (LB, DLC:GW).