George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Otho Holland Williams, 14 July 1789

From Otho Holland Williams

Baltimore 14 July 1789

Dear Sir

I had the honor to write you, by a late Post, and to inclose certain papers which contained such information as in obedience to your request, I thought it my duty to communicate.1 In addition I beg leave to mention Major Jones who infornjs me that he has offered his services by letter; the inclosed paper relates to him.2

Major Alexander Trueman, and Major Benjamin Brooks have also informed me that they propose to offer their services to the United States in the Military line—As officers I know their talents well; and, when their applications shall be had in consideration, I will most cheerfully subscribe to the particulars of their past services, and testify, according to the best of my Judgment, their respective merits.3

Judge Pendleton of Georgia has written to me to obtain the Suffrages of the Senators of Maryland in favor of Mr James Seagrove who he says will be a Candidate for the office of Collector at Savannah.4 Major William Pierce also writes me that he will become a candidate for the same office and requests of me the same services.5

I would not be Officious, But as I know that every information is agreeable to you, I take the present occasion to mention that Mr Seagrove was formerly of New York, and I believe has the honor, Sir, to be known to you in the year 1776. I knew him then as a Gentleman—believed him to be a patriot, and have been since informed that a Combination of circumstances governing his fortune and his conduct, as a merchant obliged him to leave the states, and remain abroad during the War. Major Pierce was formerly of Virginia, and of Harrisons Regiment of Artillery. The want of health obliged him to quit the Corps, and serve in the Staff. He made the Western tour, I believe, with General Sullivan and, I know, that he was Secretary, and Aid De Camp, to General Greene during his southern Campaigns—At the close of the war Major Pierce married, settled in Georgia, and entered into a Mercantile concern which I have understood, did not close fortunately. He now resides at, or near Savannah; and is, I am well informed, of so much consideration in that Country as to have polled high at the last election for the office of Governor of Georgia.

There are no names on the list which I had the honor to receive, for the Post of Annapolis: nor for several others in Maryland, which will probably be ports of Entry—As to Annapolis, I presume that the former Naval officer, Mr John Davidson, who has long discharged that duty, will be had in consideration6—At the same port resides Captn Robert Denny formerly of the Maryland line who acted four Years as Deputy Naval officer of the Port ⟨of⟩ Baltimore, and in my office.7 I discovered in him so much integrity—capacity, and indefatigable assiduity, that I can with confidence, recommend him as a faithful servant of the public, and who would be glad of the second office in the Customs at that Port. With dutiful respect, Esteem and attachment I am Dear Sir Your Most Obedient and Most Humble Servant

O.H. Williams

ALS, DLC:GW; ADfS, MdHi: Otho H. Williams Papers.

2For John Courts Jones’s application, see his letter to GW, 1 June 1789.

3Alexander Trueman (Truman; d. 1792) served as an ensign in the 3d Maryland Battalion of the Flying Camp from June to December 1776, when he was promoted to captain in the 6th Maryland, where he served until he was transferred to the 2d Maryland in January 1781. He retired in January 1783. Trueman was appointed a captain in the 1st Infantry of the United States Army in June 1790 and was promoted to major in the reorganization of the army in the spring of 1792. In April 1792 Trueman was sent to carry peace messages from the United States government to the western tribes but was killed by Indians before completing his mission (ASP, Indian Affairs, description begins Walter Lowrie et al., eds. American State Papers. Documents, Legislative and Executive, of the Congress of the United States. 38 vols. Washington, D.C., Gales and Seaton, 1832–61. description ends 1:229–30, 243). Benjamin Brooks (1752–1800) served in various Maryland regiments during the Revolution and ended the war as a major in the 5th Maryland Regiment. After the war he settled in Prince George’s County. On 3 Mar. 1791 Benjamin Contee wrote GW a short recommendation of Brooks for an appointment in the excise (DLC:GW). However, Brooks received no federal post until May 1798 when he was appointed a major in the Corps of Artillerists and Engineers raised during the Quasi-War with France (Executive Journal, description begins Journal of the Executive Proceedings of the Senate of the United States of America: From the commencement of the First, to the termination of the Nineteenth Congress. Vol. 1. Washington, D.C., 1828. description ends 1:277, 279).

4For James Seagrove’s application, see his letter to GW, 24 July 1789.

6For John Davidson’s application, see his letter to GW, 2 July 1789.

7Robert Denny of Maryland served as ensign and paymaster of the 7th Maryland Regiment in May 1778 and was promoted to lieutenant in January 1780, transferring in January 1781 to the 5th Maryland. He retired from the army in January 1783. Denny received no federal customs appointment.

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