WASHINGTON, George. Autograph endorsement, on a manuscript "List of bonds for Sundrys purchased at the Sale of the Estate of Lawe. Washington Esq. Also the Acct. of Sundrys purchased by Sundry persons for which no bond was Taken." No place [Mount Vernon?], no date [1752?].
1 page, large folio (14¼ x 7 7/8 in.), Washington's endorsement on central panel of the integral leaf. The "List of Bonds" neatly ruled in columns, listing 84 names and amounts in pounds, shillings and pence Fine condition.
WASHINGTON, AGE 20, SETTLES THE ESTATE OF HIS LATE BROTHER, LAWRENCE WASHINGTON, OWNER OF MOUNT VERNON
Washington's neat endorsement reads "A List of Bonds given for Sundrys sold from the Estate of Majr. Lawe Washington." Since the death of George Washington's father in 1743, when George was eleven years old, his half brother Lawrence--fourteen years his senior--had been almost a surrogate father to young George. Over the three years from 1749 to 1751, George Washington, aged 17 to 19, pursued an independent trade, actively surveying frontier lands that were part of the Fairfax propriety. But Lawrence contracted tuberculosis, and in hope of mitigating the dread disease, he decided to travel to the tropics for relief, taking his younger brother with him as companion and aide. The climate of Barbados, sadly, had no appreciable effect, and they soon returned to Virginia. Lawrence's condition steadily worsened until his death in the summer of 1752. As documented here, Washington played a major role in the settlement of Lawrence's estate. The Mount Vernon mill and plantation were left to Lawrence's infant daughter Sarah, but when she died in 1754, George was able to lease Mount Vernon from Lawrence's widow. Upon her death in 1761, by the terms of Lawrence's will, George inherited the estate.
The present list is divided into two parts: the top portion names 54 individuals who made purchases from the estate but were not required to furnish a bond guaranteeing payment. Purchases range from 15 shillings to £15, and they total £136. 16s. 8p. The lower part of the document lists 30 individuals who were required to post a bond on purchases totaling £249. 14s. 2p., for a grand total of £386. 10s. 10p. Purchasers included members of many well-known Virginia neighbors including "Colonel Lee," "Major Washington," Thomas Posey, Henry Taylor, Daniel French and others.
Lawrence's untimely death left George with few surviving male relatives, and Washington's close connections to the Fairfax family became even more important. It was on the recommendation of William Fairfax, Lawrence's father-in-law, that Washington received his first military commission, as an adjutant in the Virginia militia. This year 1752 was indeed a turning point, as W.W. Abbott writes, when "Washington moves, step by step, at a very fast pace, from the teenage surveyor to youthful military commander...It was during the next five years that he served his apprenticeship for the role he was to play in the winning of American independence and the founding of the Republic."