George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Francis Walker, 10 October 1797

To Francis Walker

Mount Vernon 10th Oct. 1797

Dear Sir,

In answering your favor of the 28th Ulto which has been duly received—I wish it was in my power to give you more satisfactory information than you will find, in this letter, relative to the lands near Suffolk.

Some years ago (before, if my memory serves me, I was called to administer the Government of the U. States) Mr John Lewis, as Executor of his father Colo. Fielding Lewiss Will, informed me that the circumstances of that estate required that his father’s interest in the lands wch were bought by him, your father & myself, lying as above, should be sold. In reply, I told him that any bargain for it that Doctr Walker & himself would make, I would abide by. Since which I have never heard a tittle from either, on this subject—nor do I know in whose possession, or under what circumstances the lands now are. That they are not sold I am inclined to believe, because the title papers are still in my care, & no application has ever been made for them.1

These, from a cursory examination, appear to be from.

Jos[ep]h Jones to G.W.—T.W. & F.L. for 2 tracts  872 acres
Jas Wright Do Do Do   50
Stepn Wright Do Do Do  100
Kings Patent Do Do Do  188
Total 1210

I thank you for offering to sell me your interest in the above lands; but I have no disposition to become the purchaser, having lately sold my share of the Company’s property in the Dismal swamp, and formerly a tract adjoining thereto, held by the deceased Colo. Lewis & myself; I shall be willing, however, at any time, to join you & Mr John Lewis in disposing of them to any other purchaser.2 With esteem & regard I am Sir Your most Obedt Hble Servt

Go: Washington

ALS (photocopy), DLC:GW; ALS (letterpress copy), NN: Washington Papers; LB, DLC:GW.

1For the purchase in 1764 of land between Norfolk and Suffolk, partially in the Dismal Swamp, by the three managers of the Dismal Swamp Land company, GW, Fielding Lewis, and Thomas Walker, see GW’s Cash Accounts, December 1764, n.3. John Lewis first wrote GW about his need to sell the land on 24 Mar. 1782. Thomas Walker wrote GW on 24 Jan. 1784 about selling the land.

2For references to GW’s correspondence with John Lewis with regard to Lewis’s wish to sell his father’s share of the land held jointly by him, GW, and Thomas Walker, see GW to Thomas Walker, 10 April 1784, n.3. The property remained unsold at GW’s death. GW had sold his shares in the Dismal Swamp Company in 1795 (see GW to Henry Lee, Jr., 2 April 1797, n.1).

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