George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Maria Farmer, 24 March 1779

From Maria Farmer

New Brunswick [N.J.] March 24 1779

I hope your Excellency will excuse the freedom I have taken, in asking your premission to go to New york & return, It is near four years sence I Left it, Some of My property I brought with me, which have had the Miss fortune to Loose.

The expencive Living for so Long a time, makes it necessary for me to try if I can get possession, of my houses in New York, (which being a Widdow) I have some hopes of obtaing, if I have your Excellency promession to go.

Being in an ill state of health & not able to travel a Lone, must beg your Excellancy indulgenc to take my Daughter in Law Mrs Jasper Farmar with me,1 I am with much respect your Excellencey very humble Servent

Maria farmer

LS, DLC:GW. The cover reads in part: “The favour Coll [John] Neilson.”

Maria Farmer (c.1717–1788), daughter of Abraham Gouverneur, a prominent official in early New York City, already was a widow when she married widower Jasper Farmer (1707–1758) on 31 Dec. 1742. He was the oldest son of Thomas Farmer, first mayor of New Brunswick, N.J., after its incorporation as a city in 1730. Jasper Farmer prospered as a ship captain and merchant and willed his entire estate in equal shares to his wife and their two sons, Jasper and Peter. One of Maria Farmer’s houses in New York City apparently was on Hanover Square, which was her home when she died on 18 March 1788 “after a tedious illness, which she bore with great resignation and Christian fortitude” (Pennsylvania Packet and Daily Advertiser [Philadelphia], 24 March 1788). She made several generous bequeaths to relatives and friends in her will.

1GW replied to Farmer in a letter of 2 April saying that she would receive a pass from him once she secured the required permission from New Jersey governor William Livingston. For Livingston’s apparent refusal to comply with Farmer’s request, see n.2 to that document.

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