George Washington Papers

[Diary entry: 22 September 1769]

22. Went a huntg. & killd a bitch fox in abt. an hour. Returnd home with an Ague upon me. Mr. Montgomery came to dinner.

Thomas Montgomerie was a prominent merchant in Dumfries. The purpose of his visit today was apparently to discuss the troubled affairs of Mrs. Margaret Savage, the elderly wife of Dr. William Savage, formerly of Dumfries. Mrs. Savage’s first husband, Rev. Charles Green, had established a trusteeship for her, and after his death in 1765, GW and George William Fairfax became her trustees, giving the Fairfax County court a bond to guarantee that they would pay her an annuity out of the estate’s proceeds (will of Green, 26 April 1763, Fairfax County Wills, Book B–1, 398–99, Vi Microfilm; GW and George W. Fairfax to William Savage, 25 April 1767, DLC:GW). Sometime before 24 April 1767, she married Dr. Savage, who subsequently took control of Green’s estate and assumed responsibility for paying his wife’s annuity, giving a bond for that purpose to GW and Bryan Fairfax, who were to be her trustees henceforth. By the terms of the doctor’s bond, Mrs. Savage was to receive £100 at the beginning of each year (GW to William Savage, 28 June 1768, DLC:GW). However, since 1767, neither of the annuities that had come due had been paid, and during the latter half of 1768, Dr. Savage had taken his wife to Ireland to live, leaving his affairs in Virginia to the care of Thomas Montgomerie (GW to William Ellzey, 3 Oct. 1769, DLC:GW; Va. Gaz., R, 13 Oct. 1768). At Mount Vernon on this or the following day, GW and Bryan Fairfax, still holding Savage’s bond, probably tried to convince Montgomerie to pay the annuities or at least one of them, but they had no success, for although Mrs. Savage had repeatedly told both GW and Fairfax in private that she wanted her money, the doctor insisted that she was willing to give up her annuities and had apparently given instructions not to pay them (GW to Margaret Savage, 28 June 1768, and Thomas Montgomerie to GW, 5 Oct. 1769, DLC:GW). The dispute, being complicated by Mrs. Savage’s vacillation in the matter and her absence from the colony, would continue in and out of court for several years.

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