George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Oliver Wolcott, Jr., 17 August 1795

From Oliver Wolcott, Jr.

Treasury Department August 17. 1795.

The Secretary of the Treasury respectfully submits to the consideration of the President of the United States, a Letter from the Commissioner of the Revenue of the 11 Inst. transmitting a proposal of Mr John McComb Junr of New York for erecting a Lighthouse upon Montaak point.1

It is the opinion of the Secretary that it is for the Interest of the United States to close with the said proposal.2 All which is respectfully submitted

Oliv. Wolcott Jr.
secy of the Treasy


On this date GW sent a note to William Cushing requesting his company for dinner the following Thursday, 20 Aug., at 4:00 P.M. (AL [photocopy], ViMtvL).

1In his letter to Wolcott of 11 Aug., Tench Coxe informed the secretary of the treasury that McComb was the same individual who had built the lighthouse on Cape Henry in Virginia (see Hamilton to GW, 5 Jan. 1791, and notes). “His attention, skill, and fidelity, in that case inspire confidence on this occasion. His offer is lower by two hundred Dollars than any other, and moreover includes certain matters designedly omitted in the Advertisement which articles are particularized in the note at the foot of his proposal.” Coxe included and ranked the four proposals to build a lighthouse at Montauk Point:

No. 4 Abisha Woodward New London Connt 32,000
3 Abraham Miller & Co. East Hampton Long Island 30,000
2 Nathaniel Richards New London Connt 22,500
1 John McComb, Jr New York 22,300”

(DNA: RG 26, Lighthouse Letters).

John McComb, Jr. (1763–1853) resided in New York City. In addition to the Cape Henry, Va., lighthouse, he designed the one built at Eatons Neck on Long Island, New York. McComb enjoyed a successful career as an architect. His designs included Alexander Hamilton’s country home, the “Grange.”

2Coxe informed McComb on 18 Aug. that GW had approved his proposal that same day (DNA: RG 26, Lighthouse Letters).

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