George Washington Papers

From George Washington to John Canon, 26 December 1788

To John Canon

Mount Vernon December 26th 88


As I have not reed an Answer to my letter which I wrote to you on the 15th of September I have reason to suppose that it never reached your hands, and have therefore enclosed you a duplicate of it,1 adding, at the same time, that I have never before felt the want of Cash so severely as at present—and of course any monies that may arise from my property under your care could never come more opportunely than at this time. I am Sir, Yr Most Obedt Hble Sevt

Go: Washington


John Canon (c.1740-1798) of Washington County, Pa., owned a substantial tract of land (the site of present-day Canonsburg) on Chartiers Creek near GW’s Millers Run lands. He was a justice for the Virginia district of West Augusta and for Yohogania County from 1775 to 1780, represented the county in the Virginia assembly, 1777–78, and served from 1781 to 1783 in the Washington County militia. GW employed him in 1786 as a land agent for the 2,813–acre tract he owned at Millers Run in Washington County and in 1787 entrusted him with the management of the 1,650–acre tract known as Washington’s Bottom in Fayette County (GW to Canon, 28 Nov. 1786, 13 April 1787). For the difficulties involved in the Millers Run land, see Brice McGeehon to GW, 18 Oct. 1788, source note. GW found Canon’s services highly unsatisfactory. He was, GW complained, “recommended to me as a very active, attentive, and punctual man. I wish I could say, from experience, that I have found him so. but it is the reverse—It is now almost three years since he was empowered to take care of my property and collect my rents in that country—during which time I have repeatedly written to him . . . and so far have I been from receiving regular answers to them, that, I think, I have only had two letters from him since he has conducted my business ... or ever received the remittance of one shilling for my rents” (GW to Thomas Smith, 23 Sept. 1789). In June 1794 GW removed the agency from his hands (GW to Canon, 16 June 1794).

1A letter-book copy of this letter, requesting information from Canon on his administration of GW’s land, is in DLC:GW.

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