George Washington Papers

Memorandum, 15–30 May 1755


[15–30 May 1755]

The 15th of May I was sent to Colo. Hunter for a Suppely of Money of 4,000£ Sterling, and arrivd as far as Winchester on my way thither the day following, from whence I dispatch’d an express to himerasure⟩ (fearing he might be out),1 to provide that sum, and to meet me with it at Williamsburg with it,2 and p Proceeded myself thro Fairfax, where I was detaind a Day in getting Horses.3

At Claybourns Ferry4 the 22d I met theerasure⟩ express I had sent, as he was returning, who brought a Verbal message in the most expressive terms from Governour Dinwiddie, acquainting informing me that Colo. Hunter was gone to the Northward and that I woud certainly be disappointed in my expectations of money;5 of this I acquainted Captn Orme by Letter,6 and proceeded on to Williamsburg where I arrivd the same Day, and met a Mr Belfour the Partner to of Colo. Hunter with near the sum desird, which was compleated the next day;7 time enough for me to reach Chissels Ordinary8 on my return. The 27th I reachd arrived at Winchester and expected to have met the troop of Light Horse to Escort me to the Camp, but being disappointed in that I engaged a guard of the Militia with which I set out on the 29th followg and arrived at the Camp the 30th; from Winchester I wrote the following letter to my Brother Jno. Washington.

*NB The Letter’s to Captn Hunter Orme &ca are inserted hereafter and may be seen in Pages 33–34, & 35. Insert these in the order of their dates.9

LB (original), DLC:GW; LB, DLC:GW.

1The parentheses were added later by GW.

3GW obtained at least one fresh mount in Fairfax County from Sarah Cary Fairfax. See GW to John Augustine Washington, 28 May 1755.

4Claiborne’s ferry, located on the Pamunkey River several miles upstream from West Point, was owned and operated by Nathaniel Claiborne (died c.1756) of nearby Sweet Hall. The name changed to Ruffin’s ferry in 1769 when Robert Ruffin acquired both Sweet Hall and the ferry from the Claiborne family.

5Hunter set out for New York earlier this month to replenish his supply of money by negotiating several bills of exchange there and did not return until 14 June.

7James Balfour (d. 1775) of Norfolk became associated with John Hunter as early as the spring of 1752 when he assumed management of Hunter’s business affairs while Hunter was on a trip to England. Balfour eventually became proprietor of Hunter’s Little England plantation and an agent for Capel and Osgood Hanbury of London. He also entered into partnership with Daniel Barraud to form the Virginia trading firm of Balfour & Barraud to which GW later sold Mount Vernon flour. See Balfour & Barraud to GW, 25 Dec. 1774 and 4 Jan. 1775. For a description of GW’s dealings with Balfour at Williamsburg, see GW to Robert Orme, 23 May 1755.

8Chiswell’s ordinary was in James City County about 10 miles northwest of Williamsburg. A traveler who stopped there on the morning of 12 May 1755 reported: “I breakfasted on Tea, and gave my Horse some oats, there being no corn, Hay or other Fodder to be had” (“Narrative of George Fisher,” description begins “Narrative of George Fisher. Commencing with a Voyage from London, May, 1750, for Yorktown in Virginia and Ending in August, 1755, on His Return from Philadelphia to Williamsburg.” William and Mary Quarterly, 1st ser., 17 (1908–9): 100–139, 147–76. description ends WMQ description begins The William and Mary Quarterly: A Magazine of Early American History. Williamsburg, Va. description ends , 1st ser., 17[1908–9]:165).

9In GW’s original letter book this memorandum is followed immediately by his letter of 28 May 1755 to John Augustine Washington. His letters of 16 May 1755 to John Hunter and to James Balfour and those of 22 and 23 May 1755 to Robert Orme appear out of proper chronological order on pages 33 to 35 of that letter book immediately after the seven letters that GW wrote on 7 June 1755. When the original letter book was later recopied, the clerk, in accordance with GW’s instructions, put the four misplaced letters in their correct chronological positions in the new letter book.

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