George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Timothy Pickering, 11 July 1796

Department of State July 11. 1796.


Agreeably to the intimation in your letter respecting a surveyor general, I take the liberty to inclose the application of Israel Ludlow, with the certificates of recommendation which he has this morning delivered to me. He is about twenty nine years of age, of a good person and agreeable manners.

I have thought it proper on this occasion to inclose the applications of Mr John Hall & Joseph Ellicott, whose names were formerly mentioned as applicants. Mr Hall, I understand, is of a respectable family in Maryland; which I suppose has led Mr Murray to urge his appointment. He married a daughter of Dr Ewing, is upwards of thirty years old, and now I take it resides in Pennsylvania. His politics, I am assured, are perfectly correct. Personally I know nothing of him. I have yet heard nothing from Mr Adet. With the highest respect, I am, sir, your most obt servant

Timothy Pickering

DNA: RG 59—ML—Miscellaneous Letters.


Philadelphia July 9th 1796.


In the act of Congress providing for the sale of lands in the Territory of the United States Northwest of the River Ohio I have observed a provision made for the appointment of a Surveyor General—Having Myself been employed by the General Government for a number of years to conduct and compleat certain surveys and to ascertain the exterior lines or boundaries of the purchases made of the United States by the Ohio, the Scioto, & the Miami Company—I hope sir it may not be deemed injudicious or improper in me to offer myself as a candidate for that appointment. Permit me Sir to ask the favour of you in making mention of my name to the President on this occasion, to accompany my application with such recommendations as you may think proper in addition to the enclosed Certificates. Col. Hamilton the late Secretary of the Treasury was good enough to give me a certificate of my services with his opinion concerning my abilities which was handed the President by Mr Wolcott the now Secretary of the Treasury, & Have the Honour to be sir with much respect your very Humble servant

Israel Ludlow


Treasury Department 9-11 July 1796 July 9th 1796

I certify that Israel Ludlow appears from documents in this Department to have been one of the Surveyors of the seven Ranges of Townships in the North western territory, under Thomas Hutchins late Geographer of the United States; that he has been several times employed by the late Secy of the Treasury in making Surveys in the western Country pursuant to directions in Acts of Congress; that lately he has been employed by me in protracting Surveys & making calculations relative to the public Lands in the North western territory—& that all these services so far as I know or am able to judge have been performed to public satisfaction & with fidelity industry and ability—Of his skill in the business of Surveying lands, I am no personal judge, but in this and other respects he has been well recommended to me, by persons in whom I place confidence.

Oliver Wolcott jr

Secy of the Treary

July 9th 1796

This may certify that, some years ago, Mr Israel Ludlow studied spheric trigonometry, practical astronomy, and some other parts of mathematics under my instruction; and that from the abilities which he then discovered, as well as his subsequent application, and experience in the business of surveying, I have no doubt of his being well acquainted with whatever relates to that branch of practical science.

Rt Patterson

Prof. math. Univ. Penna

Rosehill Pa. July 11th 1796

I do hereby certify that I have been acquainted with Mr Israel Ludlow from his childhood—He is the Son of a worthy Citizen of New Jersey and has been well educated in the principles of the Mathematics as a Science, particularly in that part of it, relative to Surveying & Mensuration—That he has been engaged for several Years in practical Surveying & plotting of Lands in the Western Country, on behalf of the Government as well as for [Individuals], and from my knowledge of his Conduct, he has given general Satisfaction to his employers.

Elias Boudinot


John W. Kittera to Timothy Pickering

Philadelphia May 23d 1796.

Dear Sir.

Mr John Hall of this City presents himself as a candidate for the appointment of Surveyor Genl under the late land Law. I have known Mr Hall for several years & have always entertained a very favorable opinion both of his integrity & his abilities, and believe he would make a good Officer. I am Dr Sir Your friend & Servt

Jno. W. Kittera.


23. May 1796. 112 Spruce St

Dear Sir,

Mr John Hall of this city would be happy to serve in the character of Surveyor general of the Western lands—He is a sensible and worthy man, & one who has been a good deal engaged in that sort of business—I believe him to be well qualify’d in all respects to serve the public in that character & should be gratify’d if this application should meet with your approbation. I am Dear Sir with great & sincere respect Yrs

W. V. Murray


Philadelphia May 25th 1796

My dear Sir,

You will pardon the liberty I have taken to solicet your Interest in My favour, so far as to mention me to the President of the United States, as an Applicant for the Surveyor Generals Office. I am Emboldned to make this Application, from a persuasion that my Knowledge of the Science of Surveying, is Commensurate to the Object, Both as to ascertaining Astronomically the Latitudes of places, and Running the true instead of the Magnetic Courses—If Surveying in that way Under Gentlemen of Acknowledged Abilities, in this Science, would be any recommendation I could Mention Messrs David Rittenhouse & Andrew Ellicott in Ascertaining the Western boundary of Pennsylvania, and Messrs Andw Ellicott, Abraham Hardenburg, Andw Porter and William Morriss in running the Northern boundary of Pennsylvania—I can Also produce a Very large Specimen of my Abilities in Surveying and laying down a part of Pennsylvan[ia] Vizt Potters, Johnstons Hamiltons, She[crers] and Woods District Upon a System that will Shew by Inspection of the Draft the Value and Goodness of each local Spot of Ground, which if you Should think worth While to Inspect I will with Pleasure Adduce. It may be proper to Observe that I ascertained the Boundary between the Creek Indians and Georgians; A Map of Which I lodged in the Secretary of Wars Office. With Great Respect and Esteem I am Sir

Joseph Ellicot

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