George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Johnzee Sellman, 25 September 1787

To Johnzee Sellman

Mount Vernon Sept. 25th 1787


As I observe by the Baltimore advertiser that you are Administrator of the late Mr John Rawlins I take the liberty to mention to you an error which happened in the payment of an order drawn by Rawlins upon me during my late absence from home, and which was not discovered till I pointed it out since my return from Philadelphia.

Some time last fall I agreed with Mr Rawlins to furnish me with a number of friezes and mouldings, for which I was to pay forty three pounds twelve Shillings Virginia Currency, but in consequence of some defect in the work, he afterwards wrote (which letter I have now by me) to me informing me that he should charge but forty five pounds Maryland currency, he furnished them accordingly; and in July last sent one Thomas Hammond to wash some stucco work, which was done by himself & Mr Thorp, and gave him an order for the above forty five pounds, but not mention in the order, whether it was Maryland or Virginia Currency. The person who paid the money (not recuring to Mr Rawlines’s agreement which was in the house) paid it in Virginia currency and took Mr Hammonds receipt for the same, specifying Virginia currency in the receipt.1

I must therefore request Sir, that you will investigate the matter and have the difference of exchange in the above sum (which will be thirty dollars) returned. I am Sir, Yr Obed. Hble Servant

G. Washington


A man named Johnzee Sellman was married to Sarah Rawlins in 1792 in Baltimore County.

1For GW’s negotiations with John Rawlins to complete the New Room at Mount Vernon, see GW to Rawlins, 29 Aug. 1785, and the references in note 1 of that document. For the articles of agreement between GW and Rawlins, dated 25 Feb. 1786, see Tench Tilghman to GW, 1 Mar. 1786. Rawlins’s letter regarding his charges of £45 in Maryland currency is dated 10 Mar. 1787, and GW’s letter to Rawlins withholding payment until Thomas Hammond and Richard Tharpe had completed their work is dated 13 April 1787. For the payment of Rawlins’s charges by John Augustine Washington in July 1787 during GW’s absence in Philadelphia, see GW to George Augustine Washington, 1 July, and 29 July, n.3. An advertisement for the sale of Rawlins’s estate appears in the Maryland Journal, and Baltimore Advertiser, 24 Aug. 1787. Rawlins’s widow, Mary Rawlins, advertised on 1 April 1788 that she “carries on the COMPOSITION-WORK, in all its Branches, (such as MOULDING, and ORNAMENTS for DOORS, WINDOWS, and for WOOD CORNICES, and particularly CHIMNEY-PIECES, in the neatest and newest Fashion) which was carried on by her late Husband JOHN RAWLINS, and at the same Place, on St. Paul’s Lane. . . .”

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