Handwritten pay order listing the names of approximately eighty-five people employed to work at Great Falls for the Potomac Company, clearly signed by George Washington, George Gilpin and John Fitzgerald on the verso, the sheet made by pasting three and a half folio sheets together top to bottom, folding marks, some minor browning, 3 January 1787
***This document concerns the works carried out to improve the navigability of the Potomac River at Great Falls. The workers include seven overseers, two carpenters, two blacksmiths, one coaler, two borders, sixty-eight general laborers, and three women: nurse Margaret Cosgrove, cook Marey Twinch, and washer Polly Firth. The women were paid a little less than the common laborers, although both the nurse and washer were paid more than the cook. The overseers have all signed off on the document, and it is also verified by two other officials. The pay order itself is signed by Washington, George Gilpin, and John Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald served as one Washington's aides-de-camp during the war, and Gilpin was one of the General's pallbearers. The Potomac Company was created by in 1785 to make improvements to the Potomac River and improve its navigability for commerce. George Washington was its first president, as well as an investor. The Potomac Company originally wanted to hire only free labor, but due to the shortage of labor, the directors hired free, indentured, and slave labor to build the locks and canals and deepen the river.
PROVENANCE: The Estate of David Spinney; Skinner, Fine Books & Manuscripts, 30 October 2016, lot no. 18
Sold for £8,125
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