George Washington Papers

[Diary entry: 25 July 1770]

25. Mr. Boucher & Major Taylor went away after Breakfast. Mr. Alexander (Robt.) who lodged here Last Night and went over to give Notice to his Tenant of Mr. Marshalls want of part of his Tenement dined here and went home afterwards.

Alexander’s notice was a legal warning to the planter who was renting Mrs. Alexander’s Maryland land that before the end of the year he would have to vacate the portion that GW had bought to exchange with Thomas Hanson Marshall. Marshall may have begun to use the property in 1772 (GW to Lund Washington, 18 Dec. 1778, DLC:GW). Nevertheless, the exchange still could not be concluded because Alexander would not give Marshall a deed, claiming that his wife refused to consent to the transaction of her own free will as required by law. GW admonished Alexander for not prevailing on her “to do an act of justice, in fulfilling his Bargains and complying with his wishes,” but the matter remained unresolved until 1779, when Lund Washington, acting on GW’s behalf, bought all Marshall’s approximately 480½ acres of land adjoining Mount Vernon for £5,304 in the inflated Virginia currency of the war years (GW to Alexander, 20 Mar. 1777, DLC:GW; deed from GW to Lund Washington, 25 Feb. 1785, Fairfax County Deeds, Book P–1, 415–17, Vi Microfilm). The £500 that GW had given Alexander for the Maryland land was charged to Alexander’s account with interest and was finally repaid in 1789 by Col. William Lyles of Alexandria, who had assumed the debt (General Ledger B description begins General Ledger B, 1772–1793. Library of Congress, George Washington Papers, Series 5, Financial Papers. description ends , folio 41, 361).

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