From Christopher Hardwick
Bullskin August 3d 1758
Your’s of the 13th Ulto I have Received by Mr Smith,1 I have done my Endeavours to get you a satisfactory Acct about the flour, but can get no other than what you have Already got, but that Mr Perkins received one order from you to the Baker for 200 Wt & accordingly Deliverd it, his Miller also says that several persons at Different Times came from you to him for flour, & that he Accordingly Deliverd it to them not knowing or thinking that there wou’d be any after Disputes about it, yr Waggoner Brought fifteen Barrels of Flour from Mill & left it between the smith’s shop & yr Stable, of which I have found Ten Barrels & Deliverd them to the Contractr. ⟨Illegible⟩ can give no Acct of the other five,2 your people ⟨are⟩ all in good health, and am Glad to inform you that we ⟨had a v⟩ery good Rain on Monday last, We have not had any ⟨of⟩ any Consequence since the Season in May last, in the Drought there was a great deal of our Tobo burnt up, & our Corn suffer’d pritty much, but we are as well of as our Neighbours, Notwithstanding, We reserved our plants, & planted them on Monday & Tuesday last, & do hope, if we have Seasonable Weather that we shall make some Tobo. The Stray Creatures that were on the plantation last year & which I posted are now come back again, & the Mare has got a young Colt, they are troublesome to me as they were last year, so that I am forced to hamper the Mare, & keep her in an Inclosure to keep her & her Colts out of Mischief. please to let me know what I must do with them, ’tis dangerous for me to keep them as I am sure they were stolen from me last year.3 We have a good harvest I Conclude with my Sincere wishes for yr Success & Safe return and am yr most humble & Obedient Servt
P.S. pray Send me an answer by the first opportunity.
1. Letter not found.
2. Isaac Perkins (Parkins) was living and operating his gristmill near the village of Winchester as early as 1746. GW’s blacksmith at Bullskin plantation was a slave named Peter. When Charles Smith writes to GW on 5 Aug. of his attempt to solve the mystery of the missing flour, he identifies the baker as someone named Smith, perhaps Philip Smith.
3. Hardwick followed GW’s directions and sent the mare with four colts to GW’s servant John Alton at Mount Vernon, where they arrived in the care of GW’s wagon driver from Bullskin plantation, John Adams, on 23 August. See Humphrey Knight to GW, 24 Aug., and Hardwick to GW, 26 August. On 3 Sept. Hardwick reported that “one Pritchard” claimed that he owned the mare and colts.