George Washington Papers

[Diary entry: 31 December 1771]

31. Went up to Alexandria at the request of Messrs. Montgomerie Wilson and Steward, to settle with them along with Mr. John (as Exr. of Colo. Thoms. Colvil) for the Maryland Tract of Land which they had Purchasd of Mr. Semple. Staid all Night.

John Semple, plagued by many debts and unable to pay off the purchase bond for the Merryland tract that he had bought from Thomas Colvill, had assigned his rights to the land to three merchants: Thomas Montgomerie and Cumberland Wilson of Dumfries and Adam Stewart of Georgetown, Md. The Colvill executors—Frances Colvill, John West, Jr., and GW—had been empowered by the Maryland General Assembly on 23 Nov. 1771 to deed the Merryland tract to Semple, his heirs, or his assignees, provided that the balance due on the original contract was paid by 20 April 1773. If it were not paid, the executors could sell the land at public auction to the highest bidder (MD. ARCHIVES description begins Archives of Maryland. 72 vols. Baltimore, 1883–1972. description ends , 63:293–95). The purpose of the meetings on this and subsequent days was to determine exactly what balance was owed for Merryland and to arrange for payment of it by the merchants (see “Remarks” entry for 1 and 4 Jan. 1772).

mr. john: either John West, Jr., or John Semple.

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