Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Harbanus Ashebriner: Contract for a Wagon and Horses, 2 May 1755

From Harbanus Ashebriner: Contract for a Wagon and Horses

Printed form with MS insertions in blanks: Yale University Library3

[May 2, 1755]

I  Harbanus Ashebriner4 of Parradice Township.  in the County of York and Province of Pennsylvania, do hereby agree and promise that I will, on the Terms hereunder mentioned, provide  one  good Waggon with four able Horses and a Driver, to be at Wills’s Creek in Virginia, with as much Oats, Indian Corn, or other Forage as I can procure and carry thither with the same, on or before the twentieth Day of May Instant, then and there to attend the Orders of General Braddock. And I do acknowledge to have received the Sum of  Five Pounds Five Shillings  from Benjamin Franklin, in Advance towards the Pay or Hire of the said Waggon Team and Driver and do oblige myself to return to him or his Order, Double the said Sum in Case I fail of performing this Agreement.

I Benjamin Franklin of Philadelphia, being for that purpose duly and fully empowered by his Excellency Edward Braddock Esq; General of all his Majesty’s Forces in North America, do hereby in his Name and Behalf, promise and agree, that the said  Harbanus Ashebriner  shall receive for the Hire of his said Waggon Team and Driver Fifteen Shillings a Day,  Pensilva: Money  the Pay to commence the Day of their Arrival at Wills’s Creek; and shall farther receive for travelling thither and home again the Sum of  a reasonable Allowance5.  And in Case of the Loss of the said Waggon or any of the Horses, in the Service the same shall be paid for according to the underwritten Valuation.6 The Driver shall not be employ’d as a Soldier, nor any Duty required of him but to take Care of his Horses and Waggon. And whatever Indian Corn, or other Forage shall be brought in the Waggon to Wills’s Creek, more than is necessary for the Subsistence of the Horses belonging to the Waggon shall be paid for at a reasonable Price. To this Agreement, the Parties have interchangeably set their Hands, this  Second  Day of May, 1755.


Witnesses present
John Read
Michael Swoope [?]

B Franklin7

Endorsed: Harbanus Ashe[briner] I Waggon Advance £5 [5s.] York Co[unt]y

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

3This form of contract was doubtless printed at Lancaster immediately after the wagon proclamation was struck off. The blanks in this copy appear to have been filled in by John Read, who signed as a witness. Read, BF’s brother-in-law, was later (May 21) appointed wagonmaster by Braddock.

4For the loss of his wagon and team, Ashebriner received £44 and for the use of them and his own expenses, £43 2s. 6d. Lewis B. Walker, ed., The Settlement of the Waggoners’ Accounts Relating to General Braddock’s Expedition (n.p., 1899), p. 54.

5In this contract the printed words, “the Sum of” have been struck through and “a reasonable Allowance” written in.

6The lower part of the contract on which the valuation—presumably £44—was written is missing.

7Only the tops of the two capitals in BF’s signature can be seen at the bottom of the paper. Swope’s signature, also cut, has been identified from BF’s Advertisement of May 6, printed immediately below. The first endorsement is in BF’s hand.

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