George Washington Papers

To George Washington from John Preston, 6 November 1784

From John Preston

Novr 6th 1784.

Hond Sir

In consequence of receiving your Excellency’s favour dated Rockingham Octr 1st 84,1 I gave the necessary attention due to your business, & have examined all the records of my Office deligently, but find nothing relating to your Lands only the enclosed Warrent of 2000 Acres, a copy of the entry & survey thereon:2 All warrents granted by Lord Dunmore agreeable to the Proclamation of 1763, Which were recd into the Surveyors Office of Fincastle, where immediately registered; among those I have search’d for yours of 5000 Acres, but cannot find it, which gives me reason to suppose this War[ran]t was neglected or miscarried & never came into my Fathers hands:3 Possibly it was put into the care of some of the deputies acting under my Father, who not finding suitable Lands to locate it on, never lodged it in the Office, but still kept it in their possession, This is only a bare supposition of my own, & have no grounds for it: But if the person to whom you delivered it could be known, he might give some satisfaction on this head, & such Information as would make known where the War[ran]t is & a line from you on this subject I shall endeavour to procure it, & transmitt it you immediately.

Your apoligy for any trouble you can give me is wholly unecessary, for be assured in this or any other request wherein I can be servicable to you, I shall most chearfully comply. I am with the utmost respect Your Excellencys most Obt Servt

J. Preston


John Preston succeeded his father, William Preston, as surveyor of Montgomery County after his father’s death in 1783.

1Letter not found. GW was at Gabriel Jones’s house in Rockingham County on 1 October. See Diaries description begins Donald Jackson and Dorothy Twohig, eds. The Diaries of George Washington. 6 vols. Charlottesville, Va., 1976–79. description ends , 4:54–56.

2John Preston returned to GW his copy of a warrant of survey for 2,000 acres issued by the governor, Lord Dunmore, on 25 Nov. 1773. Dunmore’s warrant states that under the terms of the Royal Proclamation of 17 Oct. 1763 Charles Mynn Thruston was entitled to 2,000 acres of land and that Thruston had conveyed his right of survey to GW (DLC:GW). For further information on this 2,000–acre tract on the Great Kanawha, see GW to Thomas Lewis, 1 Feb. 1784, n.6. Preston also enclosed in this letter of 6 Nov. a copy of the survey on the Great Kanawha, which was entered in Fincastle County on 18 April 1774 by his father, the Fincastle County surveyor.

3William Preston was successively the first surveyor of the counties of Botetourt, from 1769, of Fincastle, from 1772, and of Montgomery, from 1776. The warrant for the 5,000 acres that GW received under the proclamation of 1763 for his own service in the French and Indian War was directed to the surveyor of Botetourt County, not Fincastle where William Preston had become surveyor in 1772. See GW to Samuel Lewis, 1 Feb. 1784, source note and n.1, GW to William Preston, 28 Feb. 1774, and GW to Andrew Lewis, 27 Mar. 1775.

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