From George Barlow Smith
Tregony Cornwall 20th Jany 1794
I suppose you will be surprised to receive a letter from a person who you never saw or likely never heard of but from what I have been told by my Father I have reason to suppose that you are nearly related to me My Grandmother was born at Dorcester in Yorkshire whoes maiden name was Washington & I am Informed was a sister to you.1 I am at present a Lieut. of the British Navy on half pay but having a family my Pay is rather scanty for their Maintainance If you can recollect the relationship & woud Assist me it woud be doing a peice of Charity I have a sister at Philadelphia Married to Mr Alexander James Dallas who I understand is secretary to the state of Pensilvania whom I dare say you may have heard of—My Father was a Captain in the Army & latterly resided at Jamaica as Leit. Governor of Fort Charles—but died about ten years Since—& left four Children you may say Orphans2—I shoud thank you to consider wether what I have wrote is not True & excuse the Liberty I have taken.3 & I remain with respect Your Obedient Humble Servt
Geo. B. Smith
ALS, DLC:GW. George Barlow Smith (d. 1799) was commissioned a lieutenant in the Royal Navy in 1783.
1. GW’s only sister to survive infancy was Betty Washington Lewis, and like her brother, she was born in Virginia.
2. Alexander J. Dallas, secretary of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, was a native of the British colony of Jamaica, but he spent much of his youth in England, where he married Arabella Maria Smith (c.1764–1837) on 4 Sept. 1780. Her father, Maj. George Smith (died c.1782), was stationed in Jamaica at the time of their marriage.
3. No response from GW has been found.