From John Gill
Alexandria [Va.] 28th May 1794
I understand you have a small Tract of Land, containing from 300 to 350 Acres, situate on Difficult run in Loudoun County, a little above Shepherds or Wileys Tavern I should be glad to know if you are disposed to sell it & if so what is the quantity, the price & Terms of Payment1—Excuse the Trouble & believe me truly Sir yr mo. obed. Serv.
1. GW’s land on the north side of Difficult Run, in what was then Loudoun but is now Fairfax County, was obtained from Bryan Fairfax in 1763. As described in the schedule of property attached to GW’s will, "It lyes on the great road from the City of Washington, Alexandria and George Town, to Leesburgh & Winchester; at Difficult bridge; nineteen miles from Alexandria, less from the City & George Town, and not more than three from Matildaville at the Great Falls of Potomac" (Papers, Retirement Series description begins W. W. Abbot et al., eds. The Papers of George Washington, Retirement Series. 4 vols. Charlottesville, Va., 1998–99. description ends , 4:512).
No reply to Gill has been found, but GW evidently offered the land for £1,500 Virginia currency, with £500 down. Gill agreed to the price, but not to GW’s demand for interest on the unpaid balance after down payment (GW to Robert Lewis, 18 July, and GW to William Pearce, 31 Aug.). Subsequently, in May 1795 GW agreed to lease the property to Gill for ten years at $433.33⅓ per year, giving Gill an option to buy the tract for $6,666.66⅔ (GW to Charles Lee, 17 May 1795, NN: Washington Papers). For a summary of GW’s dealings with Gill under that lease, see GW to Gill, 19 Oct. 1799, notes 1 and 2 (Papers, Retirement Series description begins W. W. Abbot et al., eds. The Papers of George Washington, Retirement Series. 4 vols. Charlottesville, Va., 1998–99. description ends , 4:352-53).
James Wiley kept a licensed tavern in Fairfax County on the south side of the bridge over Difficult Run, apparently the same tavern earlier operated by John Shepherd (Shepperd).