George Washington Papers

To George Washington from John Harvie, 5 August 1785

From John Harvie

Land Office [Richmond] Augt 5th 1785

Dr Sr

The Attorney General directed the mode of Entering your Caveat against the Heirs and Devises of Michael Cresup decd on their Survey upon your tract of Land call’d the Round Bottom.1 and I now Inclose you a Summons from the Clk of the General Court which you will be pleas’d to forward to the Sherif of the County where any of the Divisees reside2—& if they live out of the State, I should think that the Sherif of the County where the Land Lyes will be the proper Officer to make the Return of their not being Inhabitants, upon which Return the process will be by proclamation published in the papers—The names’ of the Divisees I believe are Luther Martin & Mary his wife, Elizabeth Cresap & Sarah Cresap which had titles be Inclos’d on the Back of the Summmons for the Information of the Sherif.3 I have the Honour to be Sir Yr most obt H. servt

Jno. Harvie

Note[:] I am told it is ⟨illegible⟩ of the General Court to Dismiss Summon’s upon caveat unless this Summons is Return’d to their Clks office by the 6th Day of the terms—yet if the Summons come dureing their Sitting the Cause will be Reinstated.4 Since Writeing this Letter I have seen the clk of the General Court & have got him to Insert the names of Divisees in the Summons.5 J.H.


2GW wrote to the sheriff of Hampshire County (James Crane) from Mount Vernon on 15 Aug.: “Sir, The enclosed came under cover to me; I send it to you, & beg it may be executed & returned in time.

“Captn Jacobs married the widow of Captn Michael Cresap; which, if it was a fact unknown to you before, is given as a clue by which you may come at the parties, & serve the summons” (LB, DLC:GW). The enclosed summons from the clerk of the Virginia General Court has not been found. Michael Cresap, who died in 1775 at the age of 33, was married to Mary Whitehead of Philadelphia. Mrs. Cresap had married John Jeremiah Jacob, who was a first lieutenant in the 6th Maryland Regiment.

3Luther Martin (c.1748–1826) on Christmas Day 1783 married Maria (Mary) Cresap, the oldest daughter of Michael Cresap. In 1785 Martin, who practiced law in Baltimore, was a delegate to Congress. Elizabeth and Sarah were Michael Cresap’s younger daughters.

4The procedure for entering caveats of this sort are set down in “An act for establishing a Land Office and ascertaining the terms and manner of granting waste and unappropriated lands” (10 Hening description begins William Waller Hening, ed. The Statutes at Large; Being a Collection of All the Laws of Virginia, from the First Session of the Legislature, in the Year 1619. 13 vols. 1819–23. Reprint. Charlottesville, Va., 1969. description ends 50–65).

5See note 2.

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