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Stock# 66432

The Real Estate Journal of An Important Philadelphia Colonial Merchant

Fascinating small archive, consisting of:

  • James Hunter's Book of Land Draughts (1767 to 1789),  consisting of approximately 60 written entries, most of which are finely executed hand drawn maps with explanations of land acquisition and survey details (including 7 in downtown Philadelphia and 2 "New Purchase" surveys (one of which is adjacent to Colonel George Washington's land purchased at the same time).
  • Several original documents which had been folded into Hunter's Book, including a map and information concerning a ruling of the Pennsylvania Secretary regarding a boundary dispute involving Hunter and miscellaneous documents, including the partial architectural plans for a 3 level building, almost certainly part of James Hunter's Woodstock property in Radnor Township
  • The foregoing loose documents each seems to have at least 1 page of the bound book to which they directly correspond.
  • Two 20th Century documents written to J. Hunter Ewing of Radnor Township, providing a map and overview of the ownership of the land around James Hunter's plantation in Radnor Township.

Philadelphia Merchant James Hunter, who traded out of Strawberry Alley in Philadelphia and invested heavily in real estate throughout Pennsylvania, including a number of purchases in the heart of Philadelphia and investments in the Western lands, including original New Purchase acquisitions  from the Penn family and other parcels on the Susquehanna, Youghiogheny, Juniata and other major Pennsylvania Rivers, Tinicum Island, etc.

While most of the real estate book is not in the hand of James Hunter, at the back of the book and likely its first entry when the book was originally started by Hunter, which appears to be in his hand.  The single page (inverted from the rest of the book) gives a contemporary accounting of several early real estate transactions in 1767 and 1769, including one which took place in the famed London Coffee House in Philadelphia on March 29, 1769, where Hunter purchased 275 acres, showing that he was by that time time a merchant of sufficient importance as to have gained entry into one of Philadelphia's premier meeting houses for politics and deal making.

The most recent family owner of the present archive would seem to have been Hunter's grandson, J. Hunter Ewing.  For context purposes, the collection includes a letter laid in loosely, dated Harrisburg April 28, 1906 to J. Hunter Ewing Esq., which provides:

Dear Sir,

I enclose draft of a portion of Radnor Township as originally warranted and patented under Wm. Penn. I presume you can readily locate your property on the draught.  

Yours Truly 

Wm. E. Lewis Department of Internal Affairs Harrisburg, PA

The second modern document comprises the Northeastern corner of Radnor Township, with a meticulous accounting of the various lands and ownerships superimposed over a pencil sketch of the modern roads, creeks, railroad lines, etc.

A third map laid in loosely to the collection is 235.38 acres of land (possibly in the Path Valley area of Franklin County, PA?) owned by James Hunter, and describes a survey made by John Armstrong D(eputy) S(urveyor) (and apparently sent to John Lukens, Surveyor General)  for James Hunter and Henry Hockenberry "on their Warrents (sic) of the 15th March 1763 and 18tyh April 1763 -- in which the party's have a dispute."  The map is docked on the verso and signed by John Lukens and dated December 14, 1768.  This would seem to be the dispute described in the Minutes of the Board of Property and other References to Lands in Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania Archives, Third Series, Vol. 1 at page 247, heard at the Secretary's Office on Thursday December 14, 1768.  

The final folding sheet laid in with the collection appears to be an 18th Century accounting for land purchases between 1763 and 1781, done on the verso of a schematic drawing of a portion of the interior of a house.

Manuscript Maps and Text Items Bound Into Book of Draughts

  1. James Hunter's Land in Radnor Township, Chester County  143 (?) acres
  2. James Hunter 172 acres in East ? warrant dated August 8, 1765
  3. James Hunter 265 acres and allowance of six percent for Roads in Fannet Township Cumberland County.
  4. James Hunter 320 1/2 Acres  --  " . . . land situate on both sides the Warriors Path leading from Beford to Frankstown in Cumberland County . . . " signed by James Lukens S(urveyor) G(eneral). (July-August 1766)
  5. James Hunter 223 1/2 Acres --  " . . . land situate on Little Aughwick creek in the County of Cumberland . . . "  signed by James Lukens S(urveyor) G(eneral). (July 1766- March 1767)
  6. James Hunter 76 1/2 Acres --  " . . . land situate on Little Aughwick creek in the County of Cumberland . . . "  signed by James Lukens S(urveyor) G(eneral). (August 1766- February 1767)
  7. James Hunter 128 3/4 Acres -- " Pattented Land, In Cumberland County Called Finley's Gift"  (the above sold to Freeman (?) & ??).  This same item would be offered for sale as a "Valuable Plantation of Land" in the November 4, 1784 Pennsylvania Gazette, "apply to Philip Willson, in Carter's-alley, off Second-Street."
  8. James Hunter 101 3/4 Acres --  " . . . land called Dublin Situate on the Three Spring Branch of Aughwick in the county of Cumberland . . . "  signed by James Lukens S(urveyor) G(eneral). (March 1767).
  9. Samuel Denny 151 1/2 Acres -- " Pattented Land, In Cumberland County, Called Dreemmadduan".  ". . . land Situate on the Yellow Creek about two miles below the Big Elk Lick . . . " signed by James Lukens S(urveyor) G(eneral). (February 20, 1767)."
  10. David Potter 112 Acres -- " Pattented Land, In Cumberland County, Called Mountpleasant".  ". . . land Situate on the Yellow Creek . . . " signed by James Lukens S(urveyor) G(eneral). (February 20, 1767)."
  11. William Sterling 406 Acres -- " Pattented Land, In Cumberland County, Called Sterling's Purchase".  ". . . land Situate on a small branch of Brush Creek about one mile South of the great road leading from Littleton to Beford in the county of Cumberland . . . " signed by Robert Dill for James Lukens S(urveyor) G(eneral). (August 1766-February 1767)."
  12. Archibald Sterling 405 Acres -- " Pattented Land, In Cumberland County, Called Sterling's Stoney Batter(?)".  ". . . land Situate on a small branch of Brush Creek that rises between Days Hill & Sideling Hill in the county of Cumberland . . . " signed by Robert Dill for James Lukens S(urveyor) G(eneral). (August 1766-February 1767)."
  13. James Hunter for James Sterling 148 3/4 acres.  . . . Called Trnband Court?  -- " . . . land situate on the southerly side of the Frankstown Branch of the Juniata River in the county of Cumberland . . . " Signed by Edward Lynch for James Lukens S(urveyor) G(eneral). (August 1766-June 1786)."
  14. James Sterling 364 2/4 acres -- Surveyed on Application dated September 26, 1766 (Dunning Creek, PA?).
  15. William Kennedy 356 acres  --  " . . . land situate on the head branches of the S.W. branch of Frankstown Creek in Cumberland County. . . " Surveyed on Application dated September 26, 1766, called Hunters Grove.  Signed by Robert Dill for James Lukens S(urveyor) G(eneral). (September 1766-May 1768).
  16.  Matthew Potter 390 1/2 acres -- Surveyed on Application dated September 26, 1766 (adjacent to two items above)
  17.  James Hunter for James Sterling 222 3/4 acres.  " . . . Surveyed on Application Dated August 1st 1766 (resurveyed by Order of Secretary's Judgment ) called Colerain.   -- " . . . land situate  the southwest branch of Frankstown in county of Cumberland . . . " Signed  James Lukens S(urveyor) G(eneral). (August 1766-March 1768)."
  18.  Alexander Gardner & James Hunter 252 acres.  " . . . Surveyed on Application Dated May 5, 1767. " . . .  (adjacent to #16 above).
  19.  William Heulings (Hewlings) sold to James Hunter 343 acres and Allowance for Roads 1776 (William Hewlings (1722-1783) lived his entirely life in Burlington County, New Jersey). (This would seem to be land in (Waterford Township, Gloucester County, New Jersey, which was advertised for sale in the Pennsylvania Gazette, August 30, 1775, and noted as "340 acres of pine and oak land, lying on the head of the Branches of Cooper's Creek, in Waterford township, Gloucester county, joining land of Samuel Clements, Esq., and land late Abraham Porter's."
  20. James Hunter 294 acres -- Pattented land warrant dated August 29, 1770.  Surveyed November 15, 1770.  Called Clover Hill. " . . . land situate on the east side of the Youghiogheny River & adjoining the lands of Mary Hunter & other in Cumberland county . . . Signed by Wm Thompson Deputy Surveyor for James Lukens S(urveyor) G(eneral). (August 1770-June 1772).  This would seem to be land in Westermoreland County conveyed by Thomas Penn and John Penn to James Hunter in June 1772.  The Latrobe Bulletin of September 30, 1972, p. 4, references the gift of a sheepskin deed to the local historical society describing a conveyance of land "along the Youghiogheny River and known as "Clover Hill".
  21. James Hunter 301. 101 acres on the Northeast Branch of the Susquehanna River. Pattented land warrant dated January 5, 1773.  Surveyed June 4, 1773.  Called Summersett.  " . . . .  situate on the westerly side of the north east branck of the Susquehanna River below & adjoining the land surveys for Edward Dunlap about five or six miles above the mouth of Fishing Creek in the county of Northumberland. Signed by Robert Dill for James Lukens S(urveyor) G(eneral). (June1773-February 1776).
  22. James Hunter 199 1/4 acres. Pattented land warrant dated February 8, 1776.  Surveyed October 19, 1781.  Callled Unity.  " . . . .  situate on the N.E. branch of Susquehanna on a small run that empties into said branch about three quarters of a mile above Fort Augusta in Augusta Township, Northumberland. Signed by Wm. Gray, Surveyor.  (February 1776-March 1782).
  23. James Hunter 313 3/4 Acres --  Pattented land warrant dated February 22, 1776, surveyed April 10 1784. Called Hunter's Addition.  " . . .situate in Wyoming township, Northumberland County, adjoining the back to tracts fo said Hunter's on the N.E. Branch of the Susquehanna river about 6 or 7  miles above the mouth of Fishing Creek in the County of Northumberland."   Signed by Wm. Montgomery D.S., and Edward Lynch for John Lukens, Surveyor General.
  24. Reverend Doctor Francis Allison 304 Acres.  Pattented land Warrant dated January 1773.  Surveyed June 4, 1773.  Called Fair View.  "Situate on the Westerly side of the N.E. branch of the Susquehanna River above & adjoining land surveyed for Edward Dunlop about 6 or 7 miles above the mouth of Fishing Creek in the County of Northumberland."  Signed by Chas. Stewart, D.S., and Edward Lynch for John Lukens, Surveyor General. (January 1773-March 1782). (Just south of Harrisburg, PA).
  25. James Hunter 183 acres.  Pattented land dated January 9, 1775.  Surveyed July 21, 775 called Limestone Farm.  " . . . land situate on the limestone ridge in Turbut (sic) township in the county of Northumberland. . ."   Signed by Chas. Lukens, D.S., and Edward Lynch for John Lukens, Suveryor General. (January 1775-March 1782).  (Turbot Township).
  26. Wm. Logan 102 acres. Pattented Land Order of Survey dated September 23, 1677, surveyed July 28, 1775. "Situate on the N.E. side of Frankstown branch of Juniata river joining below the Revd. Dr. Wm. Smith's land on the Standing Stone . . .  "  Signed by Wm. Mackay.  Signed by Jno Lukens. D.S. by Ed. Lynch (September 1767-May 1782).
  27. Elinor Hunter 315 1/4 acres. Pattented land order of Survey April 16, 1769. Surveyed July 16, 1770.  callled Einor's Fort. Situate on the S. side of Youghiogheny river in the New Purchase Cumberland (now Bedford) county. Surveyed . . .  by S. Land. D.S."   Signed by Jno Lukens. D.S. by Ed. Lynch (September 1783). (The "New Purchase"  is described below)  (Land Adjacent To Colonel George Washingon's Land!).
  28. James Hunter 278 1/2 acres.  Patented land orer dated April 19, 1769. Surveyed July 15, 1770 called Hunter's Fancy.  "Situate on the south side of Youghiogheny river in the New Purchase Cumberland County."  Signed by A. Land .D.S. and Jno Lukens, Surveyor General  (April 1769-September 1783). (For info on the New Purchase, see below).
  29. James Hunter on Tinicum Island 12 acres of drained marsh land . . . "purchased of Ann Croson widow & Jno Hughes his adms of Edward Croston deceased, situate on this lsland of Tinicum in the county of Chester . . . (signed by John Morton) Reserved August 16, 1763.  (Tinicum Township, Delaware County, PA).
  30. Two parcels on Darby Creek.  Joseph Taylor sold James Hunter by Sheriff and  Joseph Taylor sold James Sterling by Sheriff.
  31. 5 Acres of Marsh Land on Hay Creek.
  32. Eleanor Hunter 40 acres called Eleanor's Fancy . . . "situate on the south side of Yellow Creek opposite lands of James Piper & James Hunter in Cumberland County." Signed by Richd Tea D.S. Signed by Robert Dill for James Lukens S(urveyor) G(eneral). (March 1769 - August 1773).
  33. "Liberty" -- 305 acres ". . . to Archibald Gardner . . . land situate on the water of Corking's Creek in Northampton county . . . ."  Signed by George Palmer D.S. Signed by Robert Dill for James Lukens S(urveyor) G(eneral). (October 1774 - February 1776).
  34. Hunter's Property 325 acres.  ". . . to James Wallace . . . land situate on the branches of Corkings Creek in the County of Northampton . . .  Signed by George Palmer D.S. Signed by Robert Dill for James Lukens S(urveyor) G(eneral). (October 1774 - February 1776).
  35. Hunter's Farm  362 acres " . . . to James Hunter . . . .land situate on the branches of Corking's Creek in the county of Northampton . . .  Signed by George Palmer D.S. Signed by Robert Dill for James Lukens S(urveyor) G(eneral). (October 1774 - Feburary 1776).
  36. Eleanor's Choice  362 acres " . . . to  Philip Johnston. . . .land situate on the branches of Corking's Creek in the county of Northampton . . .  Signed by George Palmer D.S. Signed by Robert Dill for James Lukens S(urveyor) G(eneral). (October 1774 - Feburary 1776).
  37. James Hunter 177 3/4 acres --  " Situate in Bedford County on the waters of the Aughwick adjoining Samuel Finley on the north . . . pursuance of a warrant granted to James Hunter dated the 4th Decr. 1772"  Signed by Geo Woods D.S. and  Edward Lynch for John Lukens, Surveyor General. (Dec 1772 - June 1786). 
  38. James Hunter 103 acres -- Called Hunter's Right.  " Situate in Huntington County, Dublin Township adjoining James Hunters other lands . . . Signed by John Canan D.S. and Edward Lynch for Dan Broadhead, Surveyor General. (July 1788-November 1789)
  39. James Hunter 196 1/2 acres called Sterling's Addition -- "Situate in the Shirley township, Huntington County adjoining lands surveyed to William Sterling, Thomas Arky, Archibald Gardner and Richard Cromwell . . . Signed by John Canan D.S. and Edward Lynch for Dan  Broadhead, Surveyor General. (July 1788-November 1789)
  40. James Hunter 325 acres called White Hall.  " . . . situate on a small stream running towards Fishing Creek about six from the mouth of Mahoning adjoining the land of Genl. Edmond Hand in Mahoning Township  Northumberland County."  Signed by Wm. Montgomery D.S. and Edward Lynch for Dan  Broadhead, Surveyor General. (June 1773-November 1789)
  41. (List of Warrants -- No Map)
  42. Description -- No Map -- The Honble the Proprietors Warrant for 300 ac of land situate on a branch of Turtle Creek west of John Painter & about 1/2 mile East of the Path leading to Plum creek about 14 miles from Fort Pitt in Pttt township in Westmoreland County.
  43. James Hunter 318 7/8 acres called Hunter's Reserve.  ". . . situate in Yellow Creek adjoining land of James Hunter in the county of Beford . . . "  Signed by George Woodand Edward Lynch for Dan Broadhead, Surveyor General. (February 1776 - November 178)
  44. Fargus McVea 54 acres " . . . called Belyanghnan situate in Manahan township York County . . . . "  Signed by Robert Dill for James Lukens S(urveyor) G(eneral). (February 1767 - June 1768).
  45. (Passyunk Township) James Hunter 102 acres "situate in the township of Passyunk in the County of Philadelphia . . . by the Exrs. of George McCAll dec'd to Joseph Turner & granted from sd Turner to John Lownes  from the Sait Lownes . . . to James Hunter
  46. (Southwark, Philadelphia)  James Hunter 2 lots situate on Northside of Plumb Street and one on George Street in Southwark.
  47. (Cuthbert Street, Philadelphia)  James Hunter "situate on the North side of Garden or Coombs alley in the City of Philadelphia.
  48. (3 lots Center City, Philadelphia)  "Situate on the South Side of Chestnut Street between Twelfth and Thirteenth Streets . . . " James Hunter of the City of Philadelphia, mercht. by His Excly William Moore esq. present of the S.E. Council by Deed dated 15th June 1782 . . . 
  49. (3 lots at Broad Street, Arch and Filbert)  "Situate on the west side of Broad Street between Mulberry and Filbert Streets . . . " James Hunter of the City of Philadelphia, mercht. by His Excly William Moore esq. present of the S.E. Council   . . . 15th June 1782 . . . 
  50. (Chinatown, Philadelphia)  James Hunter 1 acre.  Eighth Street and Sassafras (now Race) Street, dated October 6, 1781.
  51. (Chinatown, Philadelphia)  James Hunter 1 lot.  Eighth Street between Vine Street & Sassafras (now Race) Street, dated October 6, 1781.
  52. (Chinatown, Philadelphia)  James Hunter 1 lot.  Sassafras (now Race) Street between Eighth Street and Ninth Street, dated September, 1781.
  53. (Macy's Block, Philadelphia)  James Hunter 1 lot.  South side of Market Street, west of Thirteenth Street, dated December 8, 1786.
  54. James Hunter 164 1/2 acres " . . . land called Pleasure Step Situate on the road from Hughesburg to Sunbury joining the lands to Ellos? Hughes in right of Isaac Coran including an improvement made by Conrad Adams in the Year 1773 in Catawessy / late Augusta / Township Northumberland County . .  Signed by James Gray D.S. (dated 1773-July 1790).

James Hunter

James Hunter was a Philadelphia merchant. He was of Scottish descent, born in Coleraine, County Antrim, in Northern Ireland in 1729. He immigrated to Pennsylvania as a boy and before long he was handling Irish goods at his Philadelphia shop in Strawberry Alley.  He is listed as a founding member of the Hibernia Fire Company of Philadelphia (founded 1752).   

James Hunter invested much of his profit in real estate, owning several homes, farms, and wooded tracts of land. In 1757, he purchased an 141-acre plantation in Radnor, Pennsylvania. that had been seized for debts against Caleb Evans. Hunter married Elinor Gardiner in 1764; they had two children that survived to adulthood. The family spent their summers at the Radnor estate. In 1776, Hunter had a summer dwelling built, which was named Woodstock.

Beginning in 1774, after the first General Congress in Philadelphia he was one of the 28 gentlemen who formed the Philadelphia Troop of Light Horse, serving as second corporal.  While General Washington was in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, in 1776 and 1777, would serve as his official body guard.  unter served in the Continental Army and participated in the battles of Trenton and Princeton. Later, he was the Paymaster of the Fourth Pennsylvania Battalion. By 1778, Hunter had retired to his Radnor home.  As recorded by the Radnor Historical Society Bulletin (Spring 1958), Hunter's Woodstock plantation would be utilized during Washington's encampment at Valley Forge for wood, which resulted in Hunter's apparently complaint to George Washington himself, for which Hunter in turn apparently received a letter from Lieutenant Tench Tilghman in aid of Hunter's concerns that his lands were being too greatly exploited, stating:

The Bearer Mr. James Hunter of Philada, who has been obliged to remove from that place to avoid the British Army is settled upon a small farm belonging to him near the Radnor picket. He complains that the lowest party under your command cut the Wood entirely from his place while there is a sufficiency belonging to the Neighbours. He is satisfied to bear his proportion but thinks it hard that h e should be the only sufferer. His Excellency therefore desires that you may see justice done to this Gentleman and only a proportion ... taken for the use of the picket. As this Gentleman has been obliged to fly from Philada. he has been under the necessity of purchasing provision for the subsistence of his family and as he has already spared the Army a full proportion of what he had laid up for his family it is His Excellency's order that no more provisions be taken from him on any account and wishes that you or the officer who succeeds you may afford him proper protection. 

James When Hunter died in 1796, his son James, Jr. inherited the property. The following biography drawn from the Ewing Family Papers at the Clements Library, University of Michigan, provides a family history of several generations:

James Hunter was born in Coleraine, Ireland, in 1729, and immigrated to Pennsylvania at a young age. He became a successful merchant, trading in Irish goods, and he served in the Revolutionary War. He and his wife Elinor Gardiner (1731-1795) had two children who survived to maturity, James (1772-1849) and Jane (1767-1831). They lived on an estate named "Woodstock" near Radnor, Pennsylvania.

Jane Hunter married Maskell Ewing (1758-1825), a lawyer from New Jersey, and the couple moved to Woodstock, where he continued his legal career. He served in the Pennsylvania Senate between 1815 and 1821 and as a Justice of the Peace for Radnor, Pennsylvania. Maskell and Jane Ewing had multiple children, including James Hunter, Maskell Cochran (1806-1849), Louisa, and Mary P.

Maskell Cochran Ewing studied at West Point between 1822 and 1826, and served as a lieutenant in the United States Army as a surveyor and topographer until resigning in 1836. Following his military career, he worked as an engineer on the Georgetown-Alexandria Canal and as Surveyor of the City of Alexandria (1839-1846).

The Guide to the Winterthur Library: The Joseph Downs Collection and the Winterthur Archives, includes and entry at page 274 for the James Hunter architectural plans (Item #1040).

J. Hunter Ewing

According to Historic Homes and Institutions and Genealogical and Personal ..., Volume 2 (1904), J. Hunter Ewing was a leading business man of Philadelphia, then residing in Radnor township, Delaware county, Pennsylvania, was a descendent of one of Pennsylvania's oldest families, having emigrated from Scotland in  year 1716. The emigrant ancestor of the Hunter family settled at Villa Nova. Delaware county, Pennsylvania. The house by this first emigrant remains the home of the present representative of the family, whose grandmother was Jane Hunter, and her father bought and settled on the place at Villa Nova in 1753.  Maskell Ewing, the grandfather of J. Hunter Ewing, was a well known lawyer who, for years, filled the office of mayor of Trenton, and was also for a considerable period a member of the New Jersey legislature.

Maskell Ewing, father of J. Hunter Ewing, graduated from West Point in the class of 1831, and was an officer in the United States artillery. He was also a noted engineer officer, being one of those who built the aqueduct at Washington in 1840. He married Cornelia Lansdale, of Havre de Grace. Maryland, whose mother was a daughter of General Moylan, a major-general in the Revolutionary war, and who served on Washington’s staff.  

J. Hunter Ewing, son of Maskell and Cornelia (Lansdale) Ewing, was born in Alexandria, Virginia, and lives in the house in which four generations of his ancestors resided. He attended school for six years in West Chester, and was also a student at the Polytechnic College. Early in his business career he formed a connection with the old-established firm of Townsend, Whelen & Co., bankers and stock brokers of Philadelphia, and has maintained this connection for twenty years, having been for the last sixteen years a member of the firm. Mr. Ewing is not only prominent in the business circles of Philadelphia, but is active in the affairs of Radnor township. having served for six years on the school board. 

New Purchase

The New Purchase was a part of the Treaty of Fort Stanwix.  The Treaty of Fort Stanwix was a treaty between Haudenosaunee and Great Britain, signed in 1768 at Fort Stanwix, in present-day Rome, New York. It was negotiated between Sir William Johnson, his deputy George Croghan, and representatives of the Six Nations (the Iroquois). The treaty established a Line of Property following the Ohio River that ceded the Kentucky portion of the Colony of Virginia to the British, as well as most of what is now West Virginia. The treaty also settled land claims between the Six Nations and the Penn family.  The lands thereby acquired by the British in Pennsylvania were known as the New Purchase.

The treaty settled land claims between the Six Nations and the Penn family, the proprietors of Pennsylvania. Due to disputes about the physical boundaries of the settlement, the final treaty line would not be fully agreed upon for another five years.  The final portion of the Line of Property in Pennsylvania, called the Purchase line in that State, was fixed in 1773 by representatives from the Six Nations and Pennsylvania who met at a spot called Canoe Place at the confluence of West Branch of the Susquehanna River and Cush Cushion Creek in what is now Cherry Tree, Pennsylvania.

Some of the lands of the New Purchase would be acquired by George Washington. Washington's lands were drained on the east by Miller's Run and on the west by Raccoon Creek, included more than two thousand eight hundred acres, and would become known as "the Washington lands."  In 1767, before the trans-Allegheny regions had been ceded by the Indians, Washington, who had seen it in 1753-55, wrote from Mount Vernon ( September 21st) to his friend, Capt. William Crawford, who had settled at Stewart's Crossings on the Youghiogheny,

to look me out a tract of about fifteen hundred or two thousand or more acres somewhere in your neighborhood, meaning only by this that it may be as contiguous to your own settlement as a body of good land can be found. It will be easy for you to conceive that ordinary or even middling lands would never answer my purpose or expectations so far from navigation and under such a load of expenses as these lands are encumbered with. No, a tract to please me must be rich ... and, if possible, level. Could such a piece be found, you would do me a singular favor in falling upon some method of securing it immediately from the attempt of others, as nothing more certain than that the lands cannot remain long ungranted when once it is known that rights are to be had ...

Under this arrangement and as soon as application could be filed in the land-office for lands in the "New Purchase" of 1768, four tracts of land, aggregating sixteen hundred and sixty-one acres, in what is now Perry township, Fayette County, were taken up, warranted to George Washington, William Athel, John Bishop, John Paty, and Thomas Jones. These warrants were all dated April 3, 1769. They all passed soon after to George Washington, for whom they were originally intended, and were patented to him Feb. 28, 1782. The next year after these lands had been secured Washington made a tour through the section now Washington County, and having formed a favorable opinion of it, he instructed his agent, Capt. William Crawford, to select and purchase lands for him in this section.