George Washington Papers

[Diary entry: 17 September 1784]

17th. Detained here by a settled Rain the whole day—which gave me time to close my accts. with Gilbert Simpson, & put a final end to my Partnership with him.1 Agreed this day with a Major Thomas Freeman to superintend my business over the Mountains, upon terms to be inserted in his Instructions.2

1“I do not expect,” GW had written Simpson 10 July 1784, “to be compensated for my losses, nor mean to be rigid in my settlement, yet common sense, reason and justice, all require that I should have a satisfactory account rendered of my property which has been entrusted to your care, in full confidence of getting something for ten or twelve years use of it” (DLC:GW). Details of the settlement are vague. Some division of the livestock and other effects on the plantation apparently had been made before the sale, and at some time during GW’s visit, Simpson gave him a Negro woman who was supposedly a slave worth £30, but who later was found to be entitled to her freedom (Thomas Freeman to GW, 18 Dec. 1786, DLC:GW). On 16 Sept., Simpson paid GW £4 11s. 8d. Virginia currency in cash and today gave him a bond for £26 13s. 6d. Pennsylvania currency, or £21 6s. 7¼d. Virginia currency, leaving about £600 Virginia currency due GW mostly on account of money spent to build the mill (LEDGER B description begins Manuscript Ledger Book 2, 1772-93, in George Washington Papers, Library of Congress. description ends , 87, 138). In an attempt to recover part of that sum, GW later tried to collect $339 53/90 that the Confederation government owed the partnership for flour and meal sold during the war, but seems to have had little success (GW to Clement Biddle, 27 July 1785, WRITINGS description begins John C. Fitzpatrick, ed. The Writings of George Washington from the Original Manuscript Sources, 1745–1799. 39 vols. Washington, D.C., 1931–44. description ends , 28:211–12; GW to Biddle, 18 May 1786, DLC:GW). The partnership account was closed with the cryptic undated note: “Settled by a payment in depreciated paper Money”; no amount was indicated, and no attempt was made to balance the figures (LEDGER B description begins Manuscript Ledger Book 2, 1772-93, in George Washington Papers, Library of Congress. description ends , 138).

2Thomas Freeman of Red Stone served as GW’s western agent until the spring of 1787, when he moved to Kentucky (Freeman to GW, 18 Dec. 1787, DLC:GW; LEDGER B description begins Manuscript Ledger Book 2, 1772-93, in George Washington Papers, Library of Congress. description ends , 233). He may be the Thomas Freeman who served as a justice of the peace in Mercer County, Ky., from 1790 until his death there in 1808 (SHELBY description begins “Excerpts from Executive Journal of Governor Isaac Shelby.” Register of the Kentucky State Historical Society 28 (1930): 203–13. description ends , 203, 208; MERCER COUNTY description begins “Mercer County, Kentucky: Abstracts of Will Books 3 and 4.” Register of the Kentucky State Historical Society 37 (1939): 94–115. description ends , 104, 106, 107). GW gave written instructions to him on 22 Sept.

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