George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Alexander Hamilton, 31 May 1792

From Alexander Hamilton

[Philadelphia] 31st May 1792.

The Secretary of the Treasury has the honor to inform the President of the Unit’d States that the place of Keeper of the Light house on Thatcher’s Island in the State of Massachusetts has become vacant by the death of Mr Hustin. The following persons are respectably recommended—Joseph Sayword—Henry White—Samuel Hustin, son of the deceas’d Keeper, and—[ ] Rowe. The first is strongly recommended both by the Collector of Boston and the Collector of Gloucester.1 The latter has also recommended Captn Rowe.


1For the appointment of Samuel Houston, Sr., as keeper of the lighthouse on Thatcher’s Island, see Hamilton to GW, 3 Jan. 1790. On 14 Mar., Boston collector Benjamin Lincoln informed Hamilton of Houston’s death and recommended Capt. Joseph Sayword as “by far the best qualified” to be his replacement. “He is an old master of a vessel, is a good pilot himself & will carry on to the Island one or more of his Sons who are also well acquainted with the coast. . . . I am informed that Capt Sayward could have obtained every certificate he wished had he been a candidate for the office in the first instance but he was not. The people rather sought him than he the office” (Syrett, Hamilton Papers, description begins Harold C. Syrett et al., eds. The Papers of Alexander Hamilton. 27 vols. New York, 1961–87. description ends 11:132–33). On 2 June, Tobias Lear wrote Hamilton from Philadelphia to inform him “that the President approves of Joseph Sayword to be Keeper of the Lighthouse on Thatcher’s Island, in the State of Massachusetts—vice Houstin deceased” (DLC:GW).

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