George Washington Papers

To George Washington from James Hill, 11 May 1773

From James Hill

Monday Morng the 11th May 1773


I recd yr Letter per Colo. Lewis some few days after his coming to town & agreable to your instruction I have endeavour’d to proceed wherein have recd of Doctor James Carter 4th May £10.16 do of the Exrs of Mr Claiborne £14. of Mr Francis Foster £33.8. of Mr Thomas Prosser £7.5.0 his money Lost 9d. when I weighd it I took it in dollars & he had no Scales at his Lodgings tho. have given the rect for the Hole £7.5.9 & as to my own Accts have made a very Poor collection tho. have paid Colo. Lewis upon the hole includeg the Above Sums 198.5.1 which immagine he will acquaint you with1 Mr William Dandridge was not in Town. he sent by a young man who he Expected woud make some Small Collection for him sufficent to discarge that sum but he made none at all.2

I have recd our goods wherein There is 2 Dousin of Grind Stones & some of them the Largest I ever saw full Large for Mill Stones if they were the right sort Stone I think if it woud not be two great expence I woud have them Sent back there is part of them very Siseable & fit for the purpose they are intended for; please to write to me if there is any Powdor & Shott come in as the Crows destroys & pulls up Near all our corne & I dont care to open all the goods to Serch; the Bale of Cotten is partly Damaged tho. am in hopes it dont run far in I wanted to know What you woud have done with it & likewise if we must have the Easten Shore Tobo sent on board of Capt. Peterson & consignd to Cary & Co. & whether I must Purchase the overseers Tobo as Tobo wont Exceed ⟨2⟩d.3

I have engaged all our corne to some Gent. on the Easten Shore at 12/6 per to be deliverd by the last of June payable Octobr Co[ur]t which hope youl come down to as I was in hopes you woud a been down to this as there is Several Matters I wanted to consulted you upon in respect to land in dispute on the Easten Shore & like wise that in New Kent Colo. Pendleton advises me to bring suit in the County Court for that on the Easten shore & if goes agst us there to appeale & we Shall get it determind much soonner then if I have it first brot in Genl co[ur]t.4

Coachman Jammey Lay out at least three months & I took the Overseers & drove a Neck of ours & Started him & a boy of ours who he had taken in Camp With him & was obliged to Catch him with a dog he has not Started since & promised he wont again but there is no dependence in him tho. I did not Petition the Genl Court for Liberty to Ship him off for I intend to make a tryal of sendg him to the Easten Shore & [if] that wont do will Petn in Octobr with your Concent they & others had Killd five of Mr Graves Largest Hogs & he confest Sliping a board of one of our Barns & had taken Corne twice or three times tho. I whipd him But very little as I thought useless for he appeard as if he had been in time Past Severely Corrected he told me he was by old Mr Moodey advised him if they woud all run away you woud turn me off, & I cant see what its for unless it is because I am encloseing the lan⟨d⟩ that he wont have the same range for his Stock that he Usually had as this fellow Jammey was one of the Ditchers tho. he is so great a rasckal there is hardly minding any thing he says but by the Negroes Abscondg as they have, there appears to be something of truth in it tho. we have none out now5 I shoud a been Glad to have had a litle more time to wrote you a few more Particulars that I dont at this time Recollect being in A hurrey to go [to] town before the Merc[han]ts brake off as they have put of till last Lewis that he shoud leave Town to day if Possable & desird if I entended to write by him to have it ready as it was uncertain what time he shoud leave Town; that I cant write so fully As I woud Willingly do—& conclude Yr Mo. Hble Servt

James Hill


1GW had sent Fielding Lewis a letter dated 20 April with instructions for Lewis to make collections and payments of debts for him in Williamsburg during the spring session of the General Court.

2William Dandridge paid interest on his bond, which was assigned to Martha Parke Custis, every spring. See Settlement of the Daniel Parke Custis Estate, 20 April 1759–5 Nov. 1761, doc. IV-C, and note 2 of that document.

3Robert Cary & Co.’s invoice of goods for John Parke Custis’s plantations on York River, dated 27 Feb. 1773, lists “6 Grind Stones holed” at 2/6; 8 at 4/ 6; 6 at 8/; 4 at 15/. Included in the same shipment was a bale of several lengths of cotton cloth, for a total of £41.06 (DLC:GW). These goods for Custis’s plantations and for GW’s plantation in the York River area were sent by the Rising Sun, Jacob Peterson master. On the same date a few items for Martha Washington and her daughter were sent on Capt. Archibald Greig’s ship “not being ready when the other Goods by the Trimley were sent.” The Trimley, James Page master, brought goods to GW and his wards at Mount Vernon with an invoice dated 29 Sept. 1772. See Invoice from Robert Cary & Co.. Among these goods by the Trimley was one-half barrel of gunpowder. The number in angle brackets was taken from 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 , 4:199–201.

4For the land in dispute on the Eastern Shore, see Hill to GW, 23 July 1773. Nothing has been found concerning the land dispute in New Kent County.

5For Hill’s troubles with coachman Jemmy (Jammey), see Hill to GW, 5 Feb. 1773. Mr. Graves may be either Henry Graves of Skimino on the York River in York County or his brother, GW’s former overseer Richard Croshor Graves. The latter by 1768 was living on the Chickahominy River in New Kent County but also owned land in James City County. “Mr Moodey” is probably Matthew Moody, Sr., a tavern keeper whose house was near Capitol Landing on Queens Creek. Moody’s death in 1775 elicited the following testimonial: “Died, Mr. MATTHEW MOODY, senior, in a very advanced age. Like the rest of the human race, he had foibles; but a charitable disposition towards his fellow creatures, and many other good qualities which he possessed, far eclipsed them” (Virginia Gazette [Pinkney; Williamsburg], 8 June 1775).

Moody may well have had a grudge against Daniel Parke Custis and his heirs. An undated incomplete deposition in a suit by Daniel Parke Custis against Matthew and Anne Moody is in the Custis Papers at the Virginia Historical Society. The deposition indicates that John Custis had for a number of years before his death showered both Matthew Moody and his wife Anne with gifts, including furniture, a horse, and a number of pieces of silver plate, some previously belonging to Custis’s father-in-law, Daniel Parke. Custis had also made Matthew Moody trustee for a piece of land that he had given to his freed slave Jack. According to the deposition John Custis told Anne Moody that “he had rather this Defendt [Anne Moody] shoud have them than any Dandridge’s Daughter or any Dandridge that ever wore an Head[.] he said that he had not been at Work all his Lifetime for Dandridge’s Daughter alluding as this Deft understood to a Daughter of Mr John Dandridge of New Kent County to whom the complainant as this Deft heard about that Time was making his Addresses by Way of Courtship for which Match this Deft had at several Times heard the sd John Custis express a very great Dislike imagining, as this Defent has understood that the sd Mr Dandridge’s Daughter was much inferior to his Son the Complaint in Point of Fortune.” Nothing has been found concerning the outcome of this suit.

In John Custis’s will dated 14 Nov. 1749, he left Anne Moody an annuity of £20 sterling and the picture of his young “negro boy Christened John otherwise Called Jack born of the ⟨body⟩ of my slave Alice” (ViHi: Custis Papers).

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