To Ludwell Lee
Mount Vernon 26th April 1799
Your occupation on Wednesday last, put it out of my power to speak to you without giving interruption to more important business than I am now about to communicate.1
Having good information that some land which I hold on four mile run was much depredated on, I went up some short time ago to run round the Lines, and found the fact to be as reported; but not being able to ascertain all the Corners—and those holding the adjacent Lands not being present, I forbore to re-mark any of the lines; but being desirous of doing this, & meeting with all the parties at the Election, monday next is fixed upon for this purpose; who have engaged to meet me at the beginning Corner of Adams’s Patent (under which I hold) by nine o’clock on that morning; where, & when, being informed that you have Land adjoining mine, I should be glad to meet you. As you may not know where this Corner is, I shall pass a little house at the junction of the Leesburgh Road (a widows) half an hour before nine on my way.2 With great esteem & respect—I am Dear Sir Yrs
ALS (letterpress copy), DLC:GW.
1. On Wednesday, 24 April, GW “went up to Alexa. to an Election of a Representative from the District to Congress & from the County to the State Legisla[tur]e” (Diaries description begins Donald Jackson and Dorothy Twohig, eds. The Diaries of George Washington. 6 vols. Charlottesville, Va., 1976–79. description ends , 6:344). Ludwell Lee’s cousin Henry Lee was elected to Congress, and Henry Lee’s brother Richard Bland Lee was one of the two men elected to the Virginia house of delegates from Fairfax County.
2. In 1774 GW bought from the brothers George and James Mercer for £900 a tract of 1,224 acres on Four Mile Run in Fairfax County, about four miles from Alexandria. See George Mason to GW, 21 Dec. 1773, nn.3 and 6, GW to James Mercer, 12 Dec. 1774, n.3, and 19 Nov. 1786, n.1. See also GW to Alexander Spotswood, 15 July 1799. As early as 1792 GW had expressed concern that his tract on Four Mile Run had “had the wood thereon dealt pretty freely with by unauthorised persons in its vicinity” (GW to Bushrod Washington, 8 Jan. 1792; see also GW to William Pearce, 13 April, 7 Dec. 1794, and GW to George Minor, 13 April 1794). Earlier in this month, on 7 April 1799, GW wrote James McHenry that he had been “on a Survey of some land I hold in the vicinity of Alexandria; on which, as I was informed, & as the fact proved, considerable trespass had been committed.” He surveyed the tract on 3 and 4 April, spending both nights at William Fitzhugh’s house in Alexandria. On 3 April he “Got on the grd. about 10 Oclock and in Company with Captn. [William Henry] Terret [Jr.] and Mr. [John] Luke commenced the Survey on 4 mile run & ran agreeably to the Notes taken.” The next day he “Recommenced the Survey at the upper end where we left off in Company with Colo. Little—Captn. Terret and Mr. Willm. Adams & contd. it agreeably to the Notes until we came to 4 Mile run again which employed us until dark” (Diaries description begins Donald Jackson and Dorothy Twohig, eds. The Diaries of George Washington. 6 vols. Charlottesville, Va., 1976–79. description ends , 6:340). To his memorandum drawn from his notes on the survey of 3–4 April GW gives the date 15 April and includes much of the same information quoted here from his diary (ADS, ViMtvL). On 29 April GW “Went up to run round my land on 4 Mile run” and spent the night at Col. Charles Little’s. The next day he “Engaged in the same business as yesterday & returned home in the afternoon” (Diaries description begins Donald Jackson and Dorothy Twohig, eds. The Diaries of George Washington. 6 vols. Charlottesville, Va., 1976–79. description ends , 6:345). It is not known whether Ludwell Lee and any or all of the other owners of adjacent land were present on 29 and 30 April.