George Washington Papers

To George Washington from John Dandridge, 6 December 1788

From John Dandridge

Richmond Decemr 6. 88.


I have received your answer to my offer of the tract of Land in Gloucester. I have no platt of it by which you can be informed of it’s boundaries precisely; but I can give you such a description of it’s situation as will answer the purpose of examination—It is part of a large tract of land that belonged formerly to one Brister, a citizen of England, and was escheated under the laws of this Commonwealth. It is situated in Wareneck, between Ware & north river, about four miles from the Courthouse—a creek, called back-creek or Whiting’s creek, affords navigation to part of it for large vessels—The land lies level & Square and adjoins Peter Whiting’s Estate, parson Fountain’s & philip Tabbs1—It has not been in cultivation for eight years, & of course all the improvements are destroyed—Of the four hundred acres, about one hundred is in Wood: The rest is grown up with small pine &c. for want of cultivation—Altho’ the improvements are gone, yet the soil is mended by the land not being tended.

I shall be very glad to hear, that on enquiry it will suit you. You will be so good as present my Affte duty to my Aunt; My love to patsy,2 & remember me to the rest of the Family. I am, Sir, with respect, yr Obt Sevt

J. Dandridge


For background to this letter, see Dandridge to GW, 27 Oct. 1788, and GW to Dandridge, 18 Nov. 1788.

1Robert Bristow (1643–c.1707) settled in Virginia around 1660 and beginning in 1663 purchased thousands of acres in Gloucester, Lancaster, and Prince William counties. During Bacon’s Rebellion Bristow suffered heavy losses in property, was imprisoned by the rebels, and then returned to England. At his death he left all of his Virginia properties to his grandson Robert from whom they passed to his great-great-grandson, also Robert, who was still a minor at the beginning of the Revolution. In 1779 Robert Bristow’s estates were confiscated under the terms of “An act concerning escheats and forfeitures from British subjects” (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 66–71). There was, however, extensive litigation during the 1780s and 1790s concerning the validity of the confiscation as well as of the property rights of individuals who had purchased the land both from the Bristow family and from the state. Portions of the confiscated land in Gloucester County were purchased around 1783 by planters Peter Beverly Whiting and Philip Tabb and by the Rev. James Maury Fontaine.

2Martha Washington Dandridge, John Dandridge’s sister.

Index Entries