George Washington Papers

To George Washington from William Preston, 31 January 1775

From William Preston

Fincastle Jany 31st 1775

Dr Sir

I wrote to you some days ago inclosing a Certificate of your Survey at the Mouth of Cole River & intended to have sent the Letter by Colo. Fleming, but meeting with Capt. Meredith who intends to Town in a few Days I got the favour of him to be the Bearer.1

Capt. Floyd came here last night & has drawn up his charge which with my Account, I have (at your Request) inclosed. The money may be paid to Mr Trigg a member for this County whose rect shall be good against Mr Floyd & myself.2

I make no doubt but Col. Lewis has informed you of a large Purchase made by one Colo. Henderson of North Carolina from the Cherokees. Since I wrote to Colo. Lewis on this Subject I hear that Henderson talks with great Freedom & Indecency of the Governor of Virginia, sets the Government at Defiance & says if he once had five hundred good Fellows Settled in that Country he would not Value Virginia; that the Officers & Soldiers who have Lands Surveyed there must hold under him otherwise they shall not enjoy an Inch there. This & such like Stuff has a great Effect upon ignorant People & will be a means to induce great numbers to Settle in that Country next Spring.

There is now at Wawt⟨mutilated⟩ eighty Indians & upwards of 700 more are expected to the Treaty whi⟨ch is⟩ to be held there some time next Month in order to receive the Goods which now amount to eight Waggon loads & to Confirm the Sale by Conveying the Land.

This in my Opinion will soon become a Serious Affair, & highly deserves the Attention of the Government. For it is certain that a vast Number of People are preparing to go out and Settle on this Purchase; and if once they get fixed there, it will be next to impossible to remove them or reduce them to Obedience; as they are so far from the Seat of Government. Indeed it may be the Cherokees will support them.3 I am most respetfully Sir your very hble Servt

Wm Preston


1See Preston to GW, 27 January. Capt. Samuel Meredith of Hanover County served as a captain in William Byrd’s 2d Virginia Regiment during the Forbes campaign in 1758. He served in the House of Burgesses from 1766 to 1768 and in the Virginia Convention of 1776.

2In his cash accounts GW records paying on 27 Mar. to Preston £3.6.8, and to John Floyd £2.10 for surveying 2,000 acres. Stephen Trigg, a burgess for Fincastle, was a merchant at Fincastle, on New River and on Reed Creek, and kept an ordinary at his home at Miller’s mill.

3For Richard Henderson and his Transylvania Company, see GW to Preston, 27 Mar., and note 3 of that document, and Preston to GW, 9 April 1775.

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