George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Beverley Randolph, 16 May 1789

To Beverley Randolph

New York May 16th 1789.


A letter of the 4th instant from Lt Governor Wood has been received with its inclosures, containing the information of some murders committed by the Indians on the 23d of last month at Dunkard creek which runs into the Monongahala River.1

It is with concern that I learn this circumstance, as a treaty has been lately concluded by the Governor of the western territory with the Wiandot, Delawar, Ottawa, chippawa, Pattawatima, and Sac nations of Indians, North west of the Ohio.2

It is most probable that the recent murders have been committed by a party from the remnants of the Shawanese tribe, who are joined by a few renegade Cherokees.

The Governor of the western territory, who is here, will soon return to the frontiers, and he will, in conjunction with the commanding officer of the troops, take such measures, with the said Shawanese and other refractory tribes, as the occasion may require, and the public situation admit.

It would be highly proper, in future, in case of depredations south of the Ohio, that information be communicated as early as possible to the nearest post of the troops stationed on the Ohio, in order if possible that the banditii be intercepted. I have the honor to be, with due respect & consideration, Your Excellency’s most Obedt Hble Servt

Go: Washington

LS, PHi: Dreer Collection; LB, DLC:GW; copy, DNA: RG 59, Miscellaneous Letters; copy, OHi: Arthur St. Clair Papers; copy, Vi: Executive Communications; extract, WHi: Draper Manuscripts; extract, DLC:GW.

Beverley Randolph (1754–1797) of Cumberland County, Va., studied at the College of William and Mary, represented his county in the Virginia general assembly from 1777 to 1781, and was president of the Virginia council of state from 1783 to 1788. From 1788 to 1791 he was governor of Virginia, and in March 1793 GW appointed him one of three commissioners to negotiate with the western Indian tribes at Sandusky.

1James Wood (1741–1813) was the son of James Wood (1707–1759), the founder of the town of Winchester, Virginia. The younger Wood commanded Virginia troops in the Continental army throughout the Revolution. After the war he served in the Virginia legislature and on the council of state. He was lieutenant governor under Beverley Randolph and governor of the state from 1796 to 1799. Wood’s letter was a letter of transmittal covering letters to Randolph from John Evans, county lieutenant, and from William McCleary, a member of the assembly from Monongalia County (Vi: Executive Letter Book; Calendar of Virginia State Papers, description begins William P. Palmer et al., eds. Calendar of Virginia State Papers and Other Manuscripts. 11 vols. Richmond, 1875–93. description ends 4:598–99). Both letters concerned Indian depredations. McCleary’s letter informed the governor that “two parties [of Indians] attacked nearly about the same time two families on Dunker Creek,” about twenty miles from Morgantown, “and killed one man out of one, and the man, his wife, and two children, which was the whole of the other family.”

2For Arthur St. Clair’s treaty negotiations with the northern tribes, see his letter to GW, 2 May 1789.

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