George Washington Papers

[Diary entry: 5 October 1770]

5. Set out in Company with Doctr. Craik for the Settlement on Redstone &ca. dind at Mr. Bryan Fairfax’s & lodged at Leesburg.

Several factors induced GW to make the arduous journey through western Pennsylvania and the Ohio country in the fall of 1770. Among the most pressing was the question of locating bounty lands on the Kanawha and Ohio rivers for the officers and soldiers of the Virginia Regiment (see main entry for 30 July 1770). GW felt a special sense of urgency about this business because rumors had recently reached Virginia of a newly established land company in England whose proposed claims appeared to overlap those of the Virginia veterans (see “Remarks” entry for 8 Oct. 1770, n.1; GW to Lord Botetourt, 5 Oct. 1770, PPRF). Furthermore, GW noted, “any considerable delay in the prosecution of our Plan would amount to an absolute defeat of the Grant inasmuch as Emigrants are daily Sealing the choice Spots of Land and waiting for the oppertunity . . . of solliciting a legal Title under the advantages of Possession & Improvement—two powerful Plea’s in an Infant Country” (GW to Lord Botetourt, 9 Sept. 1770, CLU-C). See also William Nelson to Lord Hillsborough, JHB description begins H. R. McIlwaine and John Pendleton Kennedy, eds. Journals of the House of Burgesses of Virginia. 13 vols. Richmond, 1905–15. description ends , 1770–72, xxii-xxiii.

GW’s own land interests also induced him to make a first hand investigation of conditions in western Pennsylvania. In Sept. 1767 GW had instructed William Crawford, his western land agent, to “look me out a Tract of about 1500, 2000, or more Acres somewhere in your Neighbourhood. . . . Any Person . . . who neglects the present oppertunity of hunting out good Lands & in some measure Marking & distinguishing them for their own (in order to keep others from settling them) will never regain it” (GW to Crawford, 21 Sept. 1767, DLC:GW). Crawford proceeded to have a considerable tract of land surveyed for GW in the area of Chartiers Creek (see main entry for 15 Oct. 1770). “When you come up,” he informed GW, “you will see the hole of your tract finisht” (Crawford to GW, 5 May 1770, DLC:GW).

There are two sets of diary entries for those portions of Oct. and Nov. 1770 covering GW’s trip to the Ohio country. Both entries for a day should be consulted.

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