George Washington Papers

Dismal Swamp Land Company Minutes of Meeting, 3 November 1763

Dismal Swamp Land Company Minutes of Meeting

[Williamsburg, 3 Nov. 1763]

At a Meeting of the Company engaged in the Grant of Land in the Dismal Swamp in the Countys of Norfolk and Nansemond at Wmsburg Novr 3d 1763.1

William Nelson Thomas Walker
Thomas Nelson William Waters
Robt Burwell John Syme
George Washington S. Gist
Fielding Lewis —the two last
Robert Tucker by power given
to Doctr Walkr

Upon considering the proper means to begin this great undertaking, it is judged necessary that some Members shoud be appointed to deliver to the Surveyors of the Counties in which the Land Lyes, the order of Council, and to inspect their Books to see what Entries have been made previous to the Grant,2 and to attend the Surveying the Land: and George Washington, Fielding Lewis and Thomas Walker having offer’d their Service for those purposes, the Meeting readily accept of the same, and the said three Gentn are appointed Managers and they are desired to proceed therein with all possible Expedition and Circumspection.3

As it is thought necessary that the work of draining Improving and Saving the Land cannot be begun with less than Fifty able male labouring Slaves, it is agreed and resolved that each Member shall furnish five such Slaves for his share by the first of July next to be delivered to the managers beforementioned; who are to send for the Cloaths Tools &ca for the People, and are hereby empowerd to buy some convenient Plantation of high Ground near the Dismal, and to call upon the Members for their respective Quota’s of Money for these purposes.4

Mr Saml Gist is appointed Clerk of the Company, and he is to register all the proceedings in a Book

Willm Nelson

Thos Nelson

Robert B⟨urwell⟩

G. Washington

Thos Walker

Fieldg Lewis

Robert Tucker

Willm Waters

ADS, PPRF. The manuscript, including the signatures, is in GW’s hand.

2Miles King, surveyor of Nansemond County, and Gershom Nimmo, surveyor of Norfolk County, each acknowledged on 5 Nov. 1763 having received from GW and Thomas Walker the Order of Council of 1 Nov. (Dismal Swamp Land Company: Articles of Agreement, 3 Nov. 1763, n.1) giving the members of the Dismal Swamp Land Company authorization “to take up & survey one thousand Acres each” (Dismal Swamp Land Company Papers, NcD). On 20 Nov. 1763 Nimmo listed eleven entries between 29 Sept. 1760 and 20 Oct. 1763 for surveys to be made in the Dismal Swamp totaling 5,800 acres, of which only two tracts of 157 acres each and one of 314 acres had been surveyed. The last three entries dated 17 May 1762, 6 and 20 Oct. 1763, each for 1,000 acres, were made by Col. Robert Tucker, one of the members of the company (Nimmo to Fielding Lewis, 20 Nov. 1763, DLC:GW).

4See Appraisement of Dismal Swamp Slaves, 4 July 1764,. It was decided that £600 would be needed immediately to carry on “the Work of Draining &ca,” and GW paid £50 as his share (General Ledger A description begins General Ledger A, 1750–1772. Library of Congress, George Washington Papers, Series 5, Financial Papers. description ends , folio 194). GW’s account headed “Adventurers for Draining the Dismal Swamp” indicates also that a beginning was made in surveying and apportioning the land.

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