George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Henry McCormick, 17 November 1791

From Henry McCormick

[Ontario County, N.Y.] Novr 17th 1791


My past Service in the Army of the United States Emboldens me to write, Informing your Excellency, that after a tedious War I Retired to a Privat life and ever since has got my living by the sweat of my brow With Industrey and Leatly has Settled myself and Rising family in a good Peice of Land in the State of New york in the County Ontario on the Watters of Canastoe near the Genase Where with the blessing of god I hope to aquire a good Living.

I have been Leatly requested by several of my wellwishers to apply for the agency of the Indian affairs in this Quarter to the Six Nations, as I live conteigent to them Which if your Excellancy would Pleas or think Proper to Endow me with I would use my endeavour to Discharge the Busness with Fidelity and Honour to myself and Posterity as I am aquainted with several of the Sachams & Chieffs[.] Colol Proctor and Coll Pickerine knows my satuation hear Who Can give your Excelancy a account &c.

Perhaps your honour may have forgott my Service in the army which was in the Pencyelvenia Line the Last four years. I done the Duty of Majr of Brigade to Genral Wayne, and in 79 your Excellancy appointed me as such with the Inspectorship to the Light Infantry &c.

Thier is Several Gentn in Philadelphia who I have applied to for thier assistance, but Perhaps through the Multiplicity of Busness they may forgett me.

Your Compliance to my Request will forever be Esteemed by your most Obident & Very Humble Servant

Henry McCormick


Irish native Henry McCormick (1746–1813) apparently served with the British army in Boston at the outbreak of the Revolutionary War before becoming an officer in the Continental army in 1777. He served as adjutant under Col. Edward Hand in the 1st Pennsylvania Regiment from 1777 until 1779, and he was appointed brigade major and inspector of the light infantry under Brig. Gen. Anthony Wayne in July 1779. McCormick was arrested that autumn for allegedly entering a widow’s house at night, mistreating her family, and wounding one of her children with his sword. A court-martial in October 1779 found him not guilty, but he resigned his commission the following May. McCormick apparently was disgruntled, handing in his oath of allegiance to the United States in 1780, and GW believed he was attempting to reach the British army in New York City (GW to Wayne, 21,24 Sept. 1779, Wayne to GW, 24 Sept. 1779, General Orders, 11 Oct. 1779, and GW to Jedidiah Huntington, 6 May 1780). McCormick was listed in the Federal Census of 1790 as heading a household often in Erwin Town, Ontario County, N.Y. (Heads of Families [New York] description begins Heads of Families at the First Census of the United States Taken in the Year 1790: New York. 1908. Reprint. Baltimore, 1966. description ends , 138). GW did not name him superintendent of Indian affairs for the Six Nations.

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