George Washington Papers

[Diary entry: 9 December 1797]

9. Wind cold again from the No. Wt. Mer. 24 a [ ]. Mr. Law & family & Doc. Stuart went away after breakfast & Mr. Welch came to Dinner & returned afterwards.

James Welch had come to Mount Vernon to deliver his final proposal for the Kanawha lands. There had been correspondence back and forth since his original proposal on 29 Nov., and GW had received some rather disquieting reports about Welch. However, Welch’s offer of his 99,995–acre tract on Elk River in Randolph County (now W.Va.) to be held in trust by GW as security for payment induced GW to agree to Welch’s latest proposal. He wrote James Keith the next day to draw up the necessary papers. Welch was to have a 30–year-lease on GW’s four tracts of land on the Kanawha River “to commence on the 1st. day of January next (1798) at the Rent of $5,000 for the first year . . . for $8,000 the next year, and from thence untill the expiration of the 30 yrs. for $11,143 annually, and for 99 years thereafter on an annual Rent of $22,286” (GW to Keith, 10 Dec. 1797, DLC:GW). If he so desired, Welch was to have the right to purchase the land in fee simple in four yearly installments beginning in 1804. The land was to be divided into tenements of 50 to 300 acres, with the usual specifications regarding improving the land (PRUSSING description begins Eugene E. Prussing. The Estate of George Washington, Deceased. Boston, 1927. description ends , 119–20, 466–71).

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