Monday, April 11, 2016

George Washington's Slaves, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania

A woman who has not given me permission to use her name messaged my genealogy Facebook page regarding a book about Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, which included many named slaves. I am releasing their names in two separate posts.

The following is an excerpt from Old and New Westmoreland by John Newton Boucher originally published in 1918 and now available online.

There were many slaves held in southwestern Pennsylvania, particularly among the pioneers who came from Virginia, but the institution was not confined to the settlers of Virginia by any means. George Washington then owned property in Westmoreland county, and his agent, Valentine Crawford, worked Washington's property, in part at least, with slaves. In a letter to Washington, dated 27 July 1774, he says:

Dear Colonel: -- On Sunday evening or Monday, one of the most orderly men I thought I had ran away and has taken a horse and other things. I have sent you an advertisement of him *  *  *  I have sold all the men but two and I believe I should have sold them, but the man who has run away had a very sore foot which was cut with an axe and JOHN SMITH was not well of the old disorder he had when he left your house. I sold PETER MILLER and JOHN WOOD to Edward Cook for forty-five pounds, the money to be applied to building your mill. I sold THOMAS MacPHERSON and his wife and JAMES HOWE to Major Joseph McCullough and JONAS ENNIS for sixty-five pounds, payable in six months from date. To my brother I sold WILLIAM LUKE, THOMAS WHITE and the boy, JOHN KNIGHT. He is to pay for them, or, if you open up your plantation down the Ohio, he is to return them to you *  *  *  I should have sold all the servants agreeable to your letter if I could have got the cash or good pay for them, but the confusion of the times put it out of my power. I went down to Fort Pitt a day or two and two of my own servants ran away. I followed them and caught them at Bedford and brought them back. While I was gone two of your servants stole a quantity of bacon and so I sold them at once.

The following is a copy of the advertisement referred in the above letter from Crawford to Washington:

FIVE POUND REWARD
Ran away from the subscriber, living on Jacob's Creek, near Stewart's Crossing in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, on Sunday night the 24th instant, a convict servant man named WILLIAM ORR, the property of Colonel George Washington. He is a well-made man about 5 ft. 10 in. high and about 24 years of age. He was born in Scotland and speaks that dialect pretty much. He is of red complexion and very full faced with short sandy colored hair and very remarkable thumbs, they both being crooked. He had on and took with him an old felt hat bound with black binding, one near cotton coat and a jacket with horn buttons, one old brown jacket, a pair of snuff colored breeches, one pair of trousers made in sailor fashion and ...

[Note: The last portion of the advertisement for the runaway indentured servant, William Orr, is only available as part of a paid subscription.]

If you would like to contribute to the Slave Name Roll Project, simply leave a comment on the page or a message on my Tangled Roots and Trees Facebook page.

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Slave Name Roll Project

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