From John Lowry
Back River 2d Augt 1785
May it please your Excellency
I once had the Honour of an Acquaintance with your Excellency which emboldens me at this Time to crave your Attention & Advice—Mr Tarte & myself have Land Warrents to a considerable Amount, am informed that on the Dismal Swamp there remains a large Tract not as yet taken up[.] as your Excellency is the first of that Company that has large Possessions there beg the favour of You to inform me by Mr Tarte the Bearer of this—whether there is any Land not located and if we claim in Time under our Warrents the Right & Title would stand good—we wish not to injure or disturb the Right of any Person, but if any vacant Land[,] we wish with your Excellency’s Approbation to make our Survey theref[.]1 if You would condescend to honour me with a Line should esteem it a great Obligation—my Compliments to your good Lady & remain Your Excellencys mo. obedt & Hble Servt
1. GW wrote in his diary on 30 Sept.: “In the Evening a Mr. Tarte—introduced by letter from a John Lowry of Back river came in to request my Sentiments respecting some Entrys they, in Partnership, had made in the Great Dismal Swamp, which I gave unreservedly, that they had no right to” (Diaries description begins Donald Jackson and Dorothy Twohig, eds. The Diaries of George Washington. 6 vols. Charlottesville, Va., 1976–79. description ends , 4:199). Back River runs into the Chesapeake Bay in Elizabeth City County across from Norfolk, Virginia. Mr. Tarte could be any one of several men named Tart (Tarte, Tartt) living in Norfolk County at this time.