George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Rawleigh Colston, 10 November 1786

From Rawleigh Colston

Winchester Nov: 10th 1786

I had the honour of writing your Excellency on the 5th of October last by one Mr Ireland on the Subject of a conveyance of the land you Sold Mr William Hickman, which letter I am informed you received; but having heard nothing from Mr Ireland Since, I am at a loss to know how the business has been Settled.1 I am informed by my friend Mr Wright, that your Excellency had Some Conversation with Col. Mercer on this Subject, and that he did not determine you in respect to his having assigned Messrs Hickman & Irelands bond to me—a conduct I am unable to account for, as he knew an application had been made to you for a conveyance of the land—Your Excellency may rest assured I have his written assignment in date the 14th of Octo. 1785, with his receipt in full for the consideration—Being induced from the great Scarcity of money, and consequently the loss which those Gentlemen must sustain in being compelled to part with their property—to accept lands & negroes in payment, I wrote Mr Stone the lawyer to discharge Mr Ireland on his producing a certificate from your Excellency of your having executed deeds to me for the land the want of which may subject him to great inconvenience, as I could not think of releasing him from execution, without an assurance from you that a title should be made me to the land—I shall thank your Excellency to favour me with a few lines on this Subject, advising what Steps you have taken and whether any thing is likely to Obstruct a conveyance—as I cannot obtain possession of the property—till that is effected.2 I have the Hon. to be Your Excellencys mo. & Obdt

Rawleigh Colston

ALS, ViHi.

Rawleigh (Raleigh) Colston (d. 1823) was living in Winchester as early as 1778 and was elected to the vestry there in 1785 and was one of the trustees of the Winchester academy when it was established in 1786. His wife was the sister of John Marshall.

1Colston’s letter has not been found, but see William Hickman to GW, 5 October.

2See William Hickman to GW, 5 Oct., n.1, GW to John Francis Mercer, 6, 24 Nov., and GW to Colston, 4 December. Mr. Wright may be Matthew Wright, a merchant in Winchester. Mr. Stone may be Thomas Stone (1743–1787), who lived for several years before the Revolution in Frederick County, Md., but he also may be either John Hoskins Stone (1750–1804) or Michael Jenifer Stone (1747–1812). All three men were lawyers and natives of Charles County, Maryland.

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