George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Burgess Ball, 9 February 1795

From Burgess Ball

Bigg Spring near Leesburg [Va.]
9th of Feby 1795

Dear Sir,

I wrote you a few days before Xmas, and concieve your great throng of Bussiness has prevented your yet favourg me with a Line. I shou’d by no meens be anxious was it not that I am here keeping a Person in Suspence with whom I’ve made a conditional Bargain for his Land. I expect the Letter I recd from Genl Knox is sufficient for me to have no doubt of my Place being taken for the Use of the Public, but, yet I can make no positive Bargain with any one here ’till my Matter is absolutely fix’d. I’m sorry to trouble you on the Occasion, but, as I hope there is no great impropriety I trust you’ll excuse me.1

Lands are rising rapidly in this part of the Country, especially those near the River, they being now double what they were two Years ago. I wd wish a Person to see the place & the 100 Acres of Land, to examine the Fall of Water and all the Advantages & disadvantages, and if found not adaquite to the Expectations of the Public, I wish by no meens to impose in the smallest degree—My Neighbours all say I’m selling too low, but I am perfectly contented, as ‘twill enable me to purchace a pretty little Farm abt two Miles from me and from the River, where I wd wish to fix myself. We have now a tollarable Snow (abt 9 Inches deep) which I hope will be of service to our Wheat which was suffering much. Mrs Washington (the Majors Widdow) I understand is just abt gettg marryed to Mr Lear, but she has given us no Information thereof herself.2 I hope & have no doubt but they will do well. Miss Milly & Sam are here & all of us join in wishing you & yours every felicity.3 Im with the highest Esteem Dear sir Yr mo: Obt servt

B. Ball

ALS, DLC:GW. The cover of the letter states that it was carried by “Mr Strother.”

1Ball wrote GW on 19 Dec. 1794. Earlier that year, GW had written Ball about the possibility of selling his land to the United States for an arsenal. For discussion of that proposal, see GW to Ball, 27 July 1794; Ball to GW, 5 Aug., 28 Aug., 10 Sept. and n.3 to that document, and 19 Dec. 1794. Henry Knox’s letter to Ball has not been identified; Ball summarized its contents in his letter of 19 Dec. 1794.

2Frances Bassett Washington, widow of George Augustine Washington, married Tobias Lear in August 1795.

3Mildred Gregory Washington and Samuel Washington were siblings of Ball’s wife Frances Washington Ball.

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