George Washington Papers

[Diary entry: 5 May 1790]

Wednesday 5th. Requested General Rufus Putnam—lately appointed a Judge in the Western Government and who was on the eve of his departure for that Country to give me the best discription he could obtain of the proximity of the Waters of the Ohio & Lake Erie—the nature of their Navigations—Portages—&ca.—Also of the occurrences in the Country—the population of it—Temper of the people &ca. &ca.

Rufus Putnam (1738–1824) was born in Sutton, Mass., and was largely self-educated. After serving in the French and Indian War, he engaged in farming and surveying. During the Revolution he served as a colonel of engineers and as commander of a Massachusetts regiment, ending the war as a brigadier general. In 1785 he was appointed surveyor of western lands by the Continental Congress and was active 1786–87 in the formation of the new Ohio Company, bringing the first party of settlers to Marietta in 1788. In Mar. 1790 GW appointed him a judge of the Northwest Territory (DE PAUW description begins Linda Grant De Pauw et al., eds. Documentary History of the First Federal Congress of the United States of America, March 4, 1789-March 3, 1791. 20 vols. to date. Baltimore, 1972–. description ends , 2:66).

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