George Washington Papers

To George Washington from John Lewis, 13 December 1788

From John Lewis

13 Decr 1788

Dear Sir,

I recd your favor of the 8th Inst. I have never met with any other bill of Exchange among my Fathers Papers but the one Sent you I fear the Bill by some accident may be lost as I have frequently heard my Father complain of not being able to get money from Armisteads Estate[.] As he coud not get money for his own bill t’is more than probable he did not get the money for yours. I made no offer to Mr Cowper of the Carolina land at any fixed price I only informd him Credit woud be given for it and wish to be informed what he woud give as he was a much better Judge of the Land than myself.1 I am led to believe he woud give the Cost of it, I was ⟨illegible⟩ly informed when at Richmond that the place is in a most horrid situation, the ditches all filld up, no house or fence on the place. I fear there may be some probability of the land being sold for the Taxes due on it Mr Reddeck Member from Nancemond promissd he woud attend to it.2 I also wrote to a Mr Godwin3 at Suffolk who was indebted to me to pay what Tax there might be due As it is impossible for me now to attend to that business I shoud esteme it a Singular favor you woud as soon as convenient make enqueiry into the situation of the place. The other land bought of Wright and Jones has I beleive never been Assest it pays or has not as yet paid any Tax.4 I fear It will be rather difficult to find the land in Kentuckey you speak of, it is necessary I shoud have known in whose name the land was located in reflection I shall be able to give you certain information of it as Mr Geo: May who sold the Land to Doctr Skinner is now in Kentuckey You may rely I will give you the best and earleyest intelligence I can get of it.5 I am with my Compts Mrs Washington Dr Sir Your Most Obdt Servt

John Lewis.

ALS, ViMtvL.

1For John Cowper’s proposal to purchase the North Carolina land owned by GW and Fielding Lewis, see Lewis to GW, 7 Dec. 1788.

2Willis Riddick (1757–1800) represented Nansemond County in the Virginia house of delegates from 1784 until his death.

3Kinchen Godwin served Nansemond County as justice of the peace in 1781 and as sheriff in 1786 and 1789. He was a member of the house of delegates from 1780 to 1785, and again in 1791. He served in the state senate from 1793 to 1794.

4These lands were purchased from Joseph Jones and James Wright by GW, Fielding Lewis, and Dr. Thomas Walker in the 1760s and were located between Norfolk and Suffolk, “6 or 8 M. from the latter & on or near Nansemond River. They are if I recollect right, well timbered and of good quality—level (as all the Land thereabouts is) and capable of being rendered exceedingly valuable” (GW to Lewis, 17 April 1782). GW’s share of the land was still in his possession at the time of his death, and the schedule of property attached to his will indicated that it comprehended part of “the rich Dismal Swamp” (ViFfCh).

5GW’s inquiries concerned the Kentucky land he was in process of acquiring from Henry Lee in exchange for his horse Magnolio. See GW to Lee, 30 Nov. 1788, n.1.

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