George Washington Papers

Appraisement of Dismal Swamp Slaves, 4 July 1764

Appraisement of Dismal Swamp Slaves

[4 July 1764]

Appraisement of Slaves sent to the Dismal Swamp

July the 4th 1764

Mr William Nelson: Harry, £60; Jupiter, 60; George, 50; Jolly, 60; B⟨ella⟩, 45—£275.

Mr Secretary: George, 75; Phill, 65; Joe, 60; Humphrey, 75; Rachel, 60–335.

Messrs Tucker & Page:1 Isaac, 60; Jack, 60; Primus, 60; Minne, 75–255.

Geor: Washington: Harry, 75; Jack, 80; Cæsar, 75; Topsom, 60; Nan, 50; Toney a boy, 25–365.2

Mr Walker: James, 52.10; Vulcan, 75; James, 55; Hannabel, 60; Yarrico, 60–302.10.

Messrs Bacon & Lewis:3 Harry, 75; Tom, 60; Robin, 75; Daniel, 75; Tom, 75; Sam, 50; Charles, 60; ⟨Hio⟩, 30; Bab, 50; Hannah a Girl, 37.10–587.10.

Mr Mead:4 Anthony, 85; Essex, 75; Penny, 70–230.

Mr Gist: Jupiter, 50; Tom, 52.10; Sampson, 35; Jacob, 62.10; Molly, 60–260.

Mr Tucker: Codger, 65; James, 50; Braford, 50–165.

[total] £2775.

Mr Waters:5 Paul, 80; Joe, 75.

Messrs Lewis & Bacon: Lewey, 85.

Collo. Burwell:6 Jack, 70; Venus, 60.

Jno. Robinson Esqr.:7 Davy, 75; Amos, 75; Sambo, 75.

AD, CSmH. GW wrote the final four entries after the total of £2,775, beginning at “Mr Waters,” with a different pen point and in different ink, making it appear he added them later. The list has been rearranged in order to save space.

At its first meeting on 3 Nov. 1763, the Dismal Swamp Land Company agreed that each member should contribute five slaves by 1 July 1764 for “the work of draining Improving and Saving the Land” (Dismal Swamp Land Company: Minutes of Meeting, 3 Nov. 1763). In his accounts with the company GW entered in July 1764 a claim for £7.14.1 for “my Expences [going] to the Swamp in order to receive & set the People to work” (General Ledger A description begins General Ledger A, 1750–1772. Library of Congress, George Washington Papers, Series 5, Financial Papers. description ends , folio 194; account with “The Adventurers for draining the Dismal Swamp,” PPRF). GW’s cash accounts for June and July 1764 indicate that he was in Williamsburg as late as 25 June and back again as early as 9 July. It was probably at this time that he made the undated survey of land beginning at the Poquoson Swamp (DLC:GW).

1According to an undated memorandum in the Dismal Swamp Land Company Papers, NcD, Robert Burwell transferred one-half of his share in the Dismal Swamp Land Company to Mann Page (b. 1718) of Rosewell in Gloucester County in May 1766, but this would suggest it was done in 1764.

2GW’s account with the company shows that this total of £365 was £52.18.4 “above the average Price,” or appraised value, of the contributions of slaves by the members of the company, and GW records having received on 16 Nov. 1764 that amount in payment from John Robinson, the value of whose contribution of slaves was below the average (General Ledger A description begins General Ledger A, 1750–1772. Library of Congress, George Washington Papers, Series 5, Financial Papers. description ends , folio 194; Cash Accounts, November 1764). For GW’s purchase of several of the slaves whom he contributed, see Cash Accounts, April 1764, n.17.

3Fielding Lewis, who held one share, acted as attorney for the London merchant Anthony Bacon, whose company held one share.

4David Meade (b. 1744), a native of Nansemond County who later lived on the James River in Prince George County, obtained on 27 April 1764 one-half of the share owned by his father-in-law William Waters (undated memorandum, Dismal Swamp Land Company Papers, NcD). In 1766 he acquired another half share, from Robert Burwell.

5See note 4.

6See notes 1 and 4.

7See note 2.

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