George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Christiana de Hanstein, 25 February 1794

From Christiana de Hanstein

Unterstein1 the 25th of Febr. 1794

Your Excellence,

The Magnanimity of your Excellence encourageth me to write to You. My Father in the last American War being one of the Party of the Loyalistes divers times put out of the Possession of all that he had. Not only when he was taken Prisonner from his Enemys under Captain Jerey Wolf he was deprived of A greate sum of Money: and at another time twenty Waggon Loden with Hemp was taken at the same time in Verginne, the whole sum that he had lost is at least two Thousand pounds Sterling.2 The Parliament haveing concluded to pay all that the Loyalists have lost in the American War I do most humbly beg your Excellence to write to me as an assurance and to attest that all I deman is truly lost from my Father Stephen Wilkinson wich is now Dead.3

When Your Excellence will have the Gracious for me and reply what I beeg from Your Excellence I shall witho⟨ut⟩ any difficulty receive from the English Parliamant the payment of the sum my Father lost. You can be assurd for the benevolent favour. I am Your Excellence Most humble Servente

Christiana de Hanstein
born Wilkinson

L, DNA: RG 59, Miscellaneous Letters.

1Unterstein probably is part of the current town of Arenshausen-Unterstein, which is located in the present-day district of Eichsfeld in the German state of Thuringia. Members of an extended Hanstein family resided here for several generations.

2Her father probably was the Stephen Wilkinson who manufactured rope in New York City during the Revolutionary War (New-York Gazette; and the Weekly Mercury, 18 April 1774; Coldham, American Loyalist Claims description begins Peter Wilson Coldham. American Loyalist Claims. Washington, D.C., 1980. description ends , 501). The marriages, in New York State, of Christiana Wilkinson and John Hanstein on 16 Oct. 1783 and of Stephen Wilkinson and Christiana Flood on 20 April 1763 are recorded in Edmund B. O’Callaghan’s Names of Persons for whom MARRIAGE LICENSES Were issued by the Secretary of the Province of New York Previous to 1784 (Albany, N.Y., 1860), 169, 460.

3Parliament established a commission in 1783 to review the claims of Loyalists who sought compensation for losses incurred during the Revolutionary War. No reply from GW has been found. Edmund Randolph, however, wrote to “Mrs. Wilkinson, Widow of Mr Stephen Wilkinson—New York” on 26 June regarding a letter, which has not been found, that John Hanstein wrote to GW, “requesting him to procure an attestation of the property lost by Mr Stephen Wilkinson during the last war. This being a business merely of a private nature which can be better executed by some person, specially employed for that purpose, cannot with propriety be attended to by the President. I have, however, caused the papers to be translated from the German language, and forward them to you inclosed, that you may have an opportunity of doing what Mr Hanstein desires” (DNA: RG 59, Domestic Letters).

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