George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Alexander Spotswood, 31 March 1797

From Alexander Spotswood

Newpost March. 31. 1797

Dear Sir

Yours of the 26 inst. Covering a copy of your favr dated Philada 1st feby 97 (the rect of which I really thought I had in my last to you acknowledged, but now find, I neglected so to do—) came to hand yesterday.

Since the rect of yours dated philada I have rode to town four times to see and Converse with Majr Lewis as you requested, but never have been so fortunate as to find him at home, and at present he is in Culpepper; and I am inclined to belei⟨ve⟩ from what Mrs Lewis told me, that his going to the Westward this Spring, is doubtful.

Respecting andrew Woodrows 300 acree Survey which runs into yr 3000 acree tract, I heard Majr Lewis Say that he had directed Majr McGill to purchase it—and Since have understood it was Bought for you at the price of £60.1

To accomodate My fellow traveller I have delayed My Journey until the 4th of April, on which day I certainly depart—and on the 20th of may at farthest, I shall be on the lands on Ruff creek; my Business in this part of the Country (green river) will detain me about 24 days. and about the 20th of June, I shall be in Beards Town—from whence I will write you via Louisville, falls of Ohio—& in a few days after, will write you again from lexington, by post through the wilderness.

here I shall rest a few days—and then proceed to Colo. marshals, and know from him to what date your Taxes on these two tracts are pd up to.

From Marshals I shall proceed to Frankfort, and there examine the treasurers Book—to see if your lands have been properly enterd—and do every thing that is Necessary for yr intrest—and on my return I will write you by every post that offers through the S.W. Terrotary—so that at Farthest you may expect to receive a letter by the 20 of August.

a Kentucky gentleman left my house yesterday—I asked him if any of the lands advertised last year by the sherrifs was sold for the Tax—his answer was no.

So soon as I return home—I will immediatly write you—and after a little rest, myself and family, will do ourselves the pleasure to pay you and Mrs Washington a visit at Mt vernon—Mrs Spotswood & my family Joins me in our most affectionate love to you Mrs Washington & Miss Cusstice am dr Sir with Sincere Esteem Yr aff. freind & Hble St

A. Spotswood


1See Spotswood to GW, 22 Mar., n.1. When George Lewis returned from his trip to Kentucky in 1795, he wrote to GW on 18 July about GW’s two tracts of land on Rough Creek in Jefferson County and reported that “the 3000 Acre survey [one of the two tracts] has a most valluable Iron bank on it and is thought to be one of the most valluable surveys in that Part of the Country, provided the 300 Acre survey of Andrew Woodrows can be Purchased, as the only Place on which water works can be erected.” GW replied on 27 July 1795 authorizing Lewis on his return to Kentucky to purchase the tract patented by Andrew Wodrow of Winchester. The illness of Lewis’s wife prevented his returning to Kentucky as he had planned; and if Lewis indeed had authorized Maj. Charles Magill to buy the 300 acres, as Spotswood here indicates, Magill had failed to do so, for on arriving in Kentucky in May 1797 Spotswood learned that the Hite family had brought Wodrow’s patent twelve years before and still owned it (Spotswood to GW, 23 June, 22 July 1797). When Peyton Short, whom GW had authorized to offer 10 shillings an acre, finally in 1799 got Abraham Hite to set a price for his Rough Creek land, Hite demanded ten dollars an acre whereas GW was asking (and not getting) 2 shillings (less than a dollar) an acre for his own adjacent land (GW to Short, 16 July 1798, Short to GW, 22 July, 1 Nov. 1798). The matter ended here (Spotswood to GW, 15 Mar. 1799; GW to Spotswood, 11 Feb. 1798, 25 Mar. 1799; see also Spotswood to GW, 23 Mar., 6 July 1798, and GW to Thomas Marshall, 30 Mar. 1798).

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