WASHINGTON, George (1732-1799). President. Autograph document (unsigned , but with Washington's name written in full five times in the body of the document), a certified copy of an indenture signed by John Posey, countersigned by witnesses John Parke Custis, Martha Parke Custis and Amelia Posey, n.p., 14 October 1770. 1 page, large folio (14½ x 9 3/8 in.), verso with SIX-LINE ENDORSEMENT BY WASHINGTON, slight fold separations neatly mended.
WASHINGTON AND AN INSOLVENT NEIGHBOR OWNER, JOHN POSEY
The unfortunate Posey, "late of Fairfax County in Virginia, but now of the Province of Maryland," a long-time friend of the Washington family, was the owner of lands along the Potomac and in bounty lands in West Virginia. Posey's finances were shakey, and in late October a sheriff's sale of his property was authorized. Posey here affirms a existing debt of £1000, "current money of Virginia" to Washington. The document refers back to a proclamation of George III, "given at St. James the 7th of October 1763 and Published in the Virginia Gazette," that generously provided "a Grant to every Officer & Soldier...certain quantities of waste and ungranted Lands in any of his Governments in North America." Posey, "having served as a Captn. in the Second Regiment of the Virginia Troops commanded by the Honble. William Byrd, was therefore entitled under the said Proclamation to [3,000] acres of Land..." But Posey, it certifies, has found the Land-- probably on the remote western frontier--"inconvenient to seek after," and consequently sells his right to the tract to Washington "for a certain sum" unspecified and authorizes Washington to "pursue in his the said Posey's name such measures as are just & proper in order to enter & secure the same." On the verso is the official certification of Posey's signature by Fairfax County clerk Peter Wagener, 21 June 1785.
At Posey's sheriff's sale, Washington purchased 200 acres that adjoined Mount Vernon, and in May 1773 his interest in Posey's bounty lands figured in an abortive attempt to acquire lands in East Florida.