George Washington Papers

From George Washington to John Marshall, 15 August 1788

To John Marshall

Mount Vernon August 15th 1788


Your letter of the 10th Ulto to Doctr Stuart enclosing a Summons for L. Washington &c. did not come to my hand till lass Night.1

I am at a loss what step to take in this matter, and should be glad of your advice. Luther Martin is the Attorney Genl of Maryland and lives in Baltimore. Elizabeth and Sarah Cresap I have always understood live with one Jacobs who Married there Mother, and is said to be a resident of Hampshire County; but two or three summons having been already Sent to the Sheriff thereof and no return of them made, the presumption I think is that there must have been either a Miscarriage—or that these Daughters of Michl Cresap are not residents of that County—Possibly they are Married, and living in Maryland where their Father did.2

I should be glad to know whether, the issuing of the Patent, if the summons now sent is not executed and returned, or good reason assigned for the non execution is merely an Officis actor—will be in consequence of application from the heirs of Michael Cresap or any person in their behalf and who? My reason for it is, I have been informed and I believe from good authy that Jacobs was so well convinced of the legality and equity of my Title as to declare he should cease all further prosecution of the claim in behalf of the Childrin to whom I have heard he was guardian—This however may not be true—nor may it be the case with Mr Martin. The dismission of the Caveat will not invalidate my title to the land but may involve me in a more letigeous and expensive prosecution, or defence of it—and on this principle it was that Mr Randolph advised the Caveat. Under this relation of the Matter I shall be very glad to hear from you3—with very great esteem and regard I am—Sir, Yrs &ca

Go. Washington


1Letter not found.

2A copy of the most recent summons, dated 26 April 1788, is in DLC:GW. Michael Cresap’s two younger daughters, Elizabeth and Sarah, were married to Luther Martin’s brother Lenox Martin and to Osborn Sprigg (c.1741–1815), respectively. For GW’s earlier response to the claims of the heirs of Michael Cresap to GW’s Round Bottom tract on the Ohio River, see John Harvie to GW, 20 May, 5 Aug. 1785, and GW to Harvie, 31 May 1785, to Edmund Randolph, 12 July 1786.

3No response from Marshall has been found, but see GW to Marshall, 17 Mar. 1789, and note 2 of that document. It may be that the copyist garbled a portion of this paragraph.

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