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George Washington's Letter Written to Henry Gird, JR - August 19th, 1798
(SOURCE: Library of Congress - Writings of George Washington...1741-1799) 
12 Oct., 2001) Updated: Monday January 14, 2002
The above 3-page letter written by George Washington, is addressed to "Henry Gird, Jr., publisher of the 'Columbian Mirror and the Alexandria Gazette" [of Alexandria, District of Columbia, Virginia], dated "Mt. Vernon, August 19th, 1798". It is regarding the sale of 2,448 acre tract bottom land in Ohio county, VA., an area known as "Washington's Bottom", near present-day Parkersburg, West Virginia. This letter substantiates Gird Family's purported claims that:
 
  1. Henry Hatton Gird II (Henry Gird JR.) was the publisher-editor of an Alexandria Newspaper, and
  2. The Claim that the Girds bought a large portion of land from George Washington.
 George Washington states that he has been giving some thought to the application made by Henry and his Brother on the previous day (Aug. 18th, 1798),  for  the purchase of his lands.   Washington then states that after having considered their offer, he is now prepared to offer his terms of the Sale to Henry's father.  So it seems that Henry Gird SR was the one who actually was to purchase the Virginia lands from George Washington.  But where was Henry Gird SR at this time?
 
  <- George Washington had made up a  "flyers" which were circulated in Europe, regarding sell of  "Land in America" - this same tract of land in Ohio county, Virginia.  I wonder if Henry Gird Jr. was the Printer who made up these flyers?
The Girds attended Christ's Church, an Episcopal church in Alexandria where George Washington attended church when he came home to Mt. Vernon.  Washington had nearly gone broke funding the Revolutionary War and was selling off the land he had previously planned to give as bounty to his officers who served him in the Revolutionary War.  Now, he needed the money to keep from going down the tubes.  George Washington was hounded literally day and night for money for this and that "good cause" or some charitable thing. In one Diary entry  he writes about the new minister of Christ's Church  who comes to his home at 3 A.M., soliciting for money for the "new church organ".  He also was to selling "family pews" to the Parishioners and appealed to President Washington that it was what everyone was doing and didn't he want to secure his favorite spot in the Church?  It is likely the Girds knew President Washington from attendance at Christ's Church, where John was part of the viceroy...and served as a deacon.
Perhaps there were other connections, maybe from their father's business with the East India Company through his shipping business.
 
It is not yet known if the GIRD family purchased the land or not. A search is in place now for locating the possible Land Sales Record.
 

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