To Any of the Name of Stot, Wills, Richardson,
or Smith In Durham, In England
Alexandria Virg. March 10th 1768
The Executors of Colo. Thomas Collvill, late of Alexandria in Virginia, hereby intend notice to the Parties concernd, that, in the last Will of that Gentleman made Octr the 8th 1766 the following clause was inserted, and recorded in the County Court of Fairfax in the Colony aforesaid.
And Whereas &ca—here the whole Clause relative to the above Persons was inserted at large.1
The Executors as yet, cannot even guess what may be the Surplus money of this Estate, when the Debts (which are of a complicated nature) and Legacies, are dischargd; but as it is more than probable there will be a residue, and there being a time limited for entering the Claims, and prooving the Relationship as above; this Second notice is given to the Parties that they may be timely advisd thereof by.2
|John West Junr|
Note, The above Letter I sent by Mr W. Magowan, when he went to England for Orders;3 with particular injunctions to put it into the hands of some Person who had corrispondants in Durham, that proper enquiry might be made after these People, and I satisfied with having dischargd my Duty as an Executor.
1. The clause in Thomas Colvill’s will reads: “And Whereas my Mother Catharine Colvill has several near Relations in Durham, of the names of Stott, Wills, Richardson and a Woman named Catharine Smith. It is my Will and desire that the Overplus or residue of my Estate when sold as aforesaid (if any overplus there be) be divided into four equal Parts; and that each of the beforementioned Stott, Wills, Richardson and Smith have one fourth part of the said overplus of my Estate; My meaning is, that those of these names the nearest related to my said mother or their direct descendants have each, their fourth Parts of the said residue after having made sufficient Proof of their respective relationship to my said Mother; and they enter their several Claims, and make the Proper proofs as aforesaid to my Executors within five years after my decease—” (Fairfax County Will Book B—1, 424–32, ViFfCh). According to Stanislaus M. Hamilton this excerpt in GW’s hand was “bound with the Washington manuscripts” at the Library of Congress (Hamilton, Letters to Washington description begins Stanislaus Murray Hamilton, ed. Letters to Washington and Accompanying Papers. 5 vols. Boston and New York, 1898–1902. description ends , 4:28), but it has not been found.
2. For more on the Colvill estate, see GW to John West, Jr., December 1767, and notes. Several accounts of Thomas Colvill with John Colvill’s estate and of GW with Thomas Colvill’s estate, dating from 1761 to 1789, can be found in a letter from James Keith to Tobias Lear, 15 July 1793, DLC:GW. GW’s account with Thomas Colvill’s estate, dated 1767–92, is in Ledger A description begins Manuscript Ledger Book 1, 1750-72, in George Washington Papers, Library of Congress. description ends , 246, and Ledger B description begins Manuscript Ledger Book 2, 1772-93, in George Washington Papers, Library of Congress. description ends , 21, 135. It was not until 1797 that a judgment in the suit in Virginia chancery court enabled GW finally to pay these heirs. See GW to Rufus King, 25 June 1797.