George Washington Papers

To George Washington from William Crawford, 2 August 1771

From William Crawford

Stewart Crossing [Pa.] Augt 2d 1771


I have done nothing with Colo. Crohon in regard to the Land you want of him as yeat, as I cold see none of his Land in his Line now run that will answear to be Laid of as he wants it Laid of1—I have found som at about 15 or 16 mils distance from Fort pitt which is very good farming Land and good Medow Land as any, the up Land Level or no more hilly in common to Lay the ground dry The Tract is Like Gist and full as good as his Land and as Level The Draft of which I shall show you when I com Down.2 I do not now wheather Croghan will take this in his Line or not, he is to have a Tract Laid of by his Survayor for you on Mingo Creek which is good Land but I donot no as yeat what Quantity there will be as it is not done but is to be done and I am to bring for your Porusel the Draft when I com Down—it is to be as Large as the good Land will admit of Any how in a square which is the way he will have his Land run out3 I shall Close nothing any how with him till I see you which will be as soon as posable I can get my bissness don up the river but I dout much runing any Land on Tigers Valey as people in general is very contentiou⟨s⟩ for want of the Law properly Astablished amongst them but if Posably to be don I will do it.4

I have run out the difrent tracts of Land Discribed in your memorandum betwen the Litle Canaway and the big Canaway5 and that Tract above the Captining or opposit to Pipe Creek, it is not Large I have [not] maid out the Draft yeat nor shall I do any till I com Down to your house6 I saw a Letter from Mr Tilghman in regard to Colo. Croghan, and he says Croghan has no right to any Land as yeat nor can not tell weather he ever will have any from the Crown, he claims it from an Endien Deed, and is making out patints to Such as will by of him, but Mr Tilghman says in his Letter Those persons Should ask themselves how they would com by there mony a gain if in a few years this title should be fo[u]nd not good.7

I am to vew his Land on Mingo Creek again before I com Down and if it should not be his Land, it may be you can make it your Own Land hereafter.

I have nothing Metiral more of Let you now that I can think of but I am with respect your most Hume Sarvant

Wm Crawford

N.B. Mingo Craik Emtys into monongahalia above the mouth of Yochagania and the Land is near the head it is a small Creek.


1For GW’s verbal agreement with George Croghan to buy from him 15,000 acres of land below Pittsburgh and for his instructions to William Crawford regarding this, see Memorandum to William Crawford and GW to George Croghan, both 24 Nov. 1770. See also Croghan to GW, 18 Aug. 1771.

2Crawford is probably referring to what became GW’s Millers Run (or Chartiers Creek) tract, about 3,000 acres lying to the west across Chartiers Creek from the township Croghan offered GW on 18 Aug. (see note 3).

3In a letter dated 18 Aug., which GW did not receive until mid-October, George Croghan offers GW a “Township” of land “Near the Monohongala.” On 21 Oct. GW wrote Croghan declining his offer on the grounds that “a Lott” contained more acreage than he could afford to buy. See note 1, Croghan to GW, 18 August.

4The Tygart Valley River flows generally north through West Virginia, joining the West Fork River at present-day Fairmont to form the Monongahela River. Crawford had been instructed at the meeting of officers of 5 Mar. to proceed to survey land on Tygart Valley River as soon as he finished on the Great Kanawha. In August 1771 a group of armed men who held land “under one Russell” whose “claim or grant begun at the Laurel Hill . . . and run from thence to the head of Youghiogeny, down Youghiogeny to the mouth and across Monongahela,” drove off an official who was trying to serve one of them with ejectment papers. They warned the offical that he should “not attempt to execute any process or any authority under Pennsylvania, on the other side Youghiogeny, or he might depend on suffering for it” (“Deposition of Thomas Woods, Sheriff, 1771,” Pa. Archives, 1st ser., 4:435). On 24 Sept. 1771 Arthur St. Clair wrote Joseph Shippen, Jr.: “A ridiculous story that Mr. Cressap has spread with much Industry that this Province did not extend beyond the Allegany Mountain . . . has taken great hold of the People, and together with Mr. Croghans claims & surveys has put Numbers in a very doubtful situation, and will probably make it very difficult to carry the Laws into execution; I wish it may not end in a regulating scheme like what was lately in Carolina” (ibid., 437).

5For Crawford’s surveys in 1771 of the land being granted to the officers and soldiers of the Virginia Regiment of 1754, see editorial note in Petition to Governor and Council, 1–6 Nov. 1771.

6This is the tract of 587 acres on the Ohio River known as the Round Bottom tract. The plat that Crawford made of it in 1771 is in DLC:GW and is endorsed by GW: “Plat of the Land above Capteening [Captina Creek] opposite Pipe Ck.” Pipe Creek flows into the Ohio from the north. Both John Briscoe and Michael Cresap advanced claims to the land; and until 1781 shortly before he was killed, Crawford continued to take steps to make good GW’s claim to the Round Bottom (see Crawford to GW, 8 May, 8 June, 20 Sept., 14 Nov. 1774, 10 Aug. 1779, and 23 May 1781; see also GW to Michael Cresap, 26 Sept. 1773). GW did not obtain a patent to the Round Bottom tract until 30 Oct. 1784, and because the heirs of Michael Cresap pressed their claims, it was not until 3 Feb. 1791 that GW finally secured his grant to the land (see Cook, Washington’s Western Lands description begins Roy Bird Cook. Washington’s Western Lands. Strasburg, Va., 1930. description ends , 88–93).

7The letter of James Tilghman, secretary of the Pennsylvania land office, has not been identified, but Crawford wrote to Tilghman a week after writing this letter to GW to complain that George Croghan was encouraging resistance to Pennsylvania law and saying that Croghan had “run a Line from the mouth of Rackoon up the Ohio to Fort Pitt, and from thence up Monongahalia Above Pigeon Creek, and from thence a Cross till it striks Rackoon Creek, ten Miles up it, and says he has one more grant of 100,000 acres more to lay of in a parelele with that” (Pa. Archives, 1st ser., 4:424–25).

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