Contract between the Secret Committee and Oswell Eve and George Losch2
Text printed in Samuel Hazard, et al., eds., Pennsylvania Archives (1st series; 12 vols., Philadelphia and Harrisburg, 1852–56), IV, 696.
<January 11, 1776: It is agreed between the undersigned members of the committee and Oswell Eve and George Losch, of Philadelphia County, that Eve and Losch will manufacture all the saltpetre delivered to them by the committee during the next year into good gunpowder, provide the necessary sulphur and charcoal at their own expense, refine the saltpetre and carry it to the powder mills, and deliver the powder to Philadelphia as the committee directs; that they will be paid eight dollars for each hundred-weight of good powder so delivered; and that they will provide good, seasoned barrels, half-barrels, and quarter-barrels as directed and receive half the cost thereof. Signed by Franklin, Joshua Bartlett, Silas Deane, Thomas McKean, Robert Morris, and Samuel Ward for the committee, and by Oswell Eve and George Losch.>
2. Eve was, we assume, the sea captain who had forwarded a story that much interested BF about a house struck by lightning in Jamaica: above, XX, 4. We said there that he returned “temporarily” from the Caribbean in 1774 and then left for the Bahamas, but he was in Pennsylvania much longer than that implies. He established the celebrated Frankford powder mill near Philadelphia, and maintained it throughout the British occupation; the result was a charge of treason, which doubtless explains his departure. I Pa. Arch., XI, 494; “Extracts from the Journal of Miss Sarah Eve,” PMHB, V (1881), 19–20; David L. Salay, “The Production of Gunpowder in Pennsylvania during the American Revolution,” ibid., XCIX (1975), 423–6, 429–30. George Losch or Lush was a powder-maker in Germantown: Edward W. Hocker, Germantown, 1683–1933 (Germantown, Pa., 1933), p. 117.