George Washington Papers
Documents filtered by: Author="Ross, James" AND Period="Washington Presidency"
sorted by: editorial placement

To George Washington from James Ross, 8 June 1795

From James Ross

Philadelphia 8th June 1795.


Colo. Shreve has not been able to make the payment which he promised for your lands in Fayette County on the first of this month,1 he seems anxious to fulfil his engagements & has stated his prospects of doing so in the enclosed letter.2 As the money was not paid I have brought down the papers which you gave me & hold them ready for any further Order or arrangement which you may think proper to make in this business. Colo. Shreve mentioned that he might possibly have it in his power to forward the first payment to me during the present Session of the Senate. But there is little probability of his being able to raise so large a sum in so short a period. Should it come to hand I shall give you immediate notice. I have the honour to be with the highest respect Sir your most Obedient humbler Servant

James Ross


1In 1787, Israel Shreve first attempted to buy Washington’s Bottom on the Youghiogheny River in Fayette County, Pennsylvania. He succeeded only in leasing the 600-acre portion of the tract with the mill on which Gilbert Simpson, Jr., formerly lived (see Shreve to GW, 5 and 12 March and 7 April 1787, in Papers, Confederation Series, description begins W. W. Abbot et al., eds. The Papers of George Washington, Confederation Series. 6 vols. Charlottesville, Va., 1992–97. description ends 5:69–70, 126–27). Shreve approached GW on 29 June 1794 to purchase the 600-acre tract at Washington’s Bottom, where he then resided. Several months later, GW agreed to sell Shreve all 1,644 acres of the Washington’s Bottom tract for £4,000 Pennsylvania currency. For the terms of the purchase, see GW to Shreve, 14 January.

2Ross most likely referred to the letter Shreve wrote GW on 26 May: “I receivd your Excellencys Letter Confirming Our Bargan respecting the Land whereon I Live, but my feelings are much hurt by not being able to make the first payment by the day agreeable to Bargan, I thought my prospects were Certain, But find by Disappointment I am Not able to pay It to Mr Ross previous to his Setting Out for Philadelphia, But Expect to be able to pay it in a Short time, when It Shall be Conveyed Immediately to Mr Ross with the Interest due upon the Said payment, which I hope will be done in the Space of a few Weeks, I mean Punctuallity as far As possable, and after the first payment make no doubt but I Shall be able and Carefull to Come up to the Other payments Except Some turn of times unforeseen Should take place, So as to make It Impossable—therefore I Beg your Excellencys patience a Short time the Bargan Suites me and have a great prospect of parting with Some of the Land to Advantage althoug[h] I have Expectations of Raiseing the first payment Otherwise that from the Sale of any of this Land. I consider My Self as in duty Bound to your Excellency to be Punctual in All Respects” (ALS, DLC:GW). A note on the cover of Shreve’s letter reads: “devd by Mr Jas Ross.”

Index Entries