George Washington Papers
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From George Washington to Bushrod Washington, 18 December 1797

To Bushrod Washington

Mount Vernon 18th Decr 1797.

My dear Bushrod,

Your letter of the 26th Ulto came safe in the usual course of the Mail, and about a week ago Mrs Forbes arrived; and from her appearance, and conduct hitherto, gives satisfaction to your Aunt. Having, as she says, obtained ten dollars of you, to defray her expences to this place; I herein return them, with thanks for the aid it afforded to get her here. and as you may have paid for the copies of sundry papers taken from the Records of the General Court, let me know the amount, and it shall be remitted also.1

About a month ago, a Mr Woodward, living, according to his own account, at Greenbrier Court-house, presented draughts (of which the enclosed are copies) from the Sheriff of Kanhawa for taxes of my land in that County. As I was unacquainted with the Law imposing these; with the drawer; presenter of them; & certifier that Alderson was Sheriff of that County, I did not incline to pay the amount without making further enquiry into the matter.2 Upon this he informed me that I might obtain the necessary information at the Treasury, or Auditors Office in Richmond; to which the returns were made, and where the money might be, and often was paid, instead of doing it to the Sheriffs of the Back counties, by Non-residents.

You would oblige me by making this enquiry, and if the taxes are correctly stated, and the amount of them can be paid with propriety in Richmond, to inform me thereof; and measures shall be taken as soon as I am in Cash, to discharge the Same. The enclosed paper, after it has enabled you to make the necessary enquiry, may be returned to me again. The family here, join me in offering you and Mrs Washington the compliments of the approaching festival—and I am with much truth Your sincere friend and Affectionate Uncle

Go: Washington

ALS, owned (1990) by Mr. Gilman Ordway, Wilson, Wyoming; ALS (letterpress copy), DLC:GW; LB, DLC:GW.

1For the hiring of Eleanor Forbes as the housekeeper at Mount Vernon, see GW to Bushrod Washington, 23 Oct., n.2.

2The order of George Alderson, sheriff of Kanawha County, dated 23 Aug. 1797, was for payment by GW to Augustus Woodward of £110.10.3, “& three farthings.” These were the taxes levied by the county for the years 1791 through 1796 on lands belonging to GW on the Great Kanawha and Ohio rivers. Bushrod Washington learned from the state auditor in Richmond that these taxes were indeed due, and on 15 Jan. 1798 GW paid Woodward the full amount. See Bushrod Washington to GW, 9 Jan. 1798, and GW to Bushrod Washington, 19 Jan., n.1. The auditor also reported that 15,940 acres of GW’s Kanawha River lands had been returned from Greenbrier County in 1789, the year Kanawha County was formed out of Greenbrier, for the nonpayment of taxes amounting to £35.17.3. GW sent this amount to Bushrod Washington on 19 January. He at the same time sent his nephew a full listing of his Virginia lands “on the Western waters,” with the queries, why if some were taxed why not all, and why in 1790 none were taxed. The best answer that Bushrod could come up with was “the inattention & inaccuracy of the Commissioners in that part of the county” (1 Feb. 1798). See also Bushrod Washington to GW, 28 Dec. 1797, 13 Mar. 1798, and GW to Bushrod Washington, 30 Jan., 7 Feb., 8 Mar. 1798. Alderson’s order of 23 Aug. 1797 is deposited in NjMoHP.

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