Saturday, September 13, 2014

More of the story....................................

George Washington loved land.  Born into the landed gentry, he became a county surveyor at the age of 17.  He must have been a good saver,  because at age 20 he bought some 1,500 acres of wilderness in western Virginia.  It was the first of his many land acquisitions on the "frontier."  Among the problems of buying wilderness land were finding it, keeping track of it, and keeping other people from squatting on it.  Washington was diligent on all three counts.
     Here is a story that was left out of most of the history books:  George Washington and the Covenant Squatters.   Here is an excerpt:

On September 20, 1784, thirteen of the farmers who had been squatting on Washington's lands for the previous twelve years, met with the general at the home of Reed. After Washington again insisted he held title to the land, they announced that they would be willing to buy the land from him outright. They made clear to the general that they were not conceding that he owned the land, but had no desire to engage in a long and nasty dispute - a dispute they well knew Washington could win.

Washington said he would accept no less than twenty-five shillings an acre, paid in three annual installments, with interest. Otherwise, they could sign a 999-year lease. These were stiff terms. None of the thirteen squatters was interested in the lease. When they asked Washington if he would sell the land at his asking price over a much longer period of time and without any interest, he refused, at which point they formally declared that they did not recognize his ownership.

No comments:

Post a Comment