Skip to Main Content
Have library access? Log in through your library
George Mercer Papers

George Mercer Papers: Relating to the Ohio Company of Virginia

Compiled and Edited by Lois Mulkearn
Copyright Date: 1954
Pages: 788
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    George Mercer Papers
    Book Description:

    George Mercer was a lieutenant and later captain of the First Virginia Regiment during the French and Indian War, and a land surveyor. He served as agent for the Ohio Company in England. In this book, Lois Mulkearn interprets George Mercer's documents on the activities of the Ohio Company.Through the eyes of Indians, French, and English we see the political and military efforts to control the vast area of the Ohio frontier, and witness treaties signed at Logstown, and those between Pennsylvania and the Weas and Piankashaws in 1740. Among Mercer's other papers are directions for laying out the first British town to be called "Saltsburg" at present day McKees Rocks, outside Pittsburgh. With this extensive collection, Mulkearn enlightens our knowledge of colonial history and the western frontier.

    eISBN: 978-0-8229-7536-6
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

Export Selected Citations Export to NoodleTools Export to RefWorks Export to EasyBib Export a RIS file (For EndNote, ProCite, Reference Manager, Zotero, Mendeley...) Export a Text file (For BibTex)
    (pp. vii-x)
    R. W. G. Vail

    In the middle of the eighteenth century there was great uneasiness in the Ohio Country. France wanted this rich fur-bearing territory for her own, and the adjoining English colonies of Virginia, Pennsylvania, and New York were awake to this threat of encroachment from the north. France needed a short route from Canada to Louisiana and was eager to develop the rich country of the Illinois; she wanted to break the contact which the Shawnee were maintaining between the Miami-Huron and the Iroquois-English partnerships; and she greatly feared that the English, by their encroachments into the Miami Country would cut the...

    (pp. xi-xxii)
    Lois Mulkearn

    In accordance with known extant evidence it may be said that the Ohio Company functioned officially as a partnership under some “Articles of Agreement” from late in 1747 to May 23, 1771; however, the members continued to sue individually for land grants in the name of the Ohio Company for many years after their written articles of agreement had expired.

    The original design of the partners was to exploit a half million acres of land “on the branches of Allagany” and to open up a “Trade with the several nations of Indians” who lived there. Later, they desired to be...

  3. Chronology of Communications in the George Mercer Papers and the Case (facsimile)
    (pp. xxvii-xxxviii)
  4. Part I George Mercer Papers in the Darlington Memorial Library University of Pittsburgh

    • Résumé of the Proceedings of the Ohio Company, October 24, 1747—May 24, 1751.
      (pp. 1-7)

      Sṛ William Gooch wrote² to the Board of Trade for his Majesty’s Instructions as to granting Lands on the Western side of the Great Mountains.

      Monson, R. Plumer, B. Leveson Gower & Dupplin inclose an Extract of it to the D. Newcastle³ and desired him to lay it before his Majesty.

      Upon which the same was by the King in Council referred⁴ to the Lords of the Committee of Council for Plantation Affairs.

      J. Pitt, J. Grenville & Dupplin report,⁵ and mention another Letter⁶ which they received from Sṛ William Gooch dated June 16, 1748 in which he mentions a Petition by...

    • Christopher Gist’s First and Second Journals, September 11, 1750—March 29, 1752.
      (pp. 7-40)

      INSTRUCTIONS given Mṛ Christopher Gist by the Comittee of the Ohio Company the 11ṭhDay of September 1750.59

      You are to go out as soon as possible to the Westward of the great Mountains, and carry with you such a Number of Men, as You think necessary, in Order to search out and discover the Lands upon the River Ohio, & other adjoining Branches of the Mississippi down as low as the great Falls42thereof: You are particularly to observe the Ways & Passes thro all the Mountains you cross, & take an exact Account of the Soil, Quality, & Product of the Land,...

    • George and James Mercer’s Land Release to John Tayloe and Presley Thornton, November 25, 1759.
      (pp. 40-45)

      THIS Indenture made the twenty fifth day of November in the Year of our Lord God One thousand seven hundred and fifty nine Between George Mercer and James Mercer of the County of Stafford Gentlemen of the one Part, and John Tayloe of the County of Richmond Esquire and Presley Thornton of the County of Northumberland Gentlemen of the other Part. Whereas John Mercer of Marlborough in the County of Stafford Gent. and Ann his Wife by their Deed bearing date the[twenty-fifth]day of[November]in the year of our Lord One thousand seven hundred and fifty nine for...

    • John Mercer’s Letter to Charlton Palmer, July 27, 1762.
      (pp. 46-48)

      You will at Length herewith receive the long expected Case263of the Ohio Compạ & an Appendix526to it in order to be Printed & laid before his Majesty The Board of Trade & Such others as you may think proper reserving Two Dozen to be sent me for the members of our Company. I Flatter myself that I shall have no Occasion to Repent my Recomendation or alter my Opinion of you I have Since Recomended you to one or two of my Friends who have Appeals to manage, & who I am persuaded if they have no particular Friends of their own...


      • Enclosure 1 John Mercer, Case of the Ohio Company, 1762
        (pp. 49-139)

        and subsistance of fifty men only with proper officers to form a regular garrison and even any building that could with any propriety be termed a fort would amount to more than all the 〈Rights &〉 quit rents264to be so remitted, and therefore they were persuaded nothing more was necessary to carry their point 〈clear up that matter〉 than a bare representation of the fact, in the mean time fully persuaded of the benefit that would arise to the colony by the prosecution of their scheme they resolved to proceed in it with vigour and for that end had...

      • Enclosure 2 Orders and Resolutions of the Ohio Company and the Committee of the Company, June 20, 1749—September 9, 1761.
        (pp. 140-153)
      • Enclosure 3 Acts of Pennsylvania about the Indian Trade, 1758—1759
        (pp. 153-165)

        An act for preventing Abuses in the Indian Trade, for Supplying the Indians, Friends and Allies of Great Britain, with Goods at more easy Rates, and for Securing and Strengthening the Peace and Friendship lately concluded with the Indians inhabiting the Northern and Western Frontiers of this Province

        WHEREAS the Indians, living and hunting near the Western and Northern Frontiers of this Province have earnestly requested that this Government would regulate the Trade with them, prevent Abuses therein, and provide that they may be furnished with a Sufficiency of the necessary Goods, by honest, prudent and Sober Men, at reasonable...

    • George Mercer’s Field Notes for the Charlottesburg Survey, ca. March—May, 1763.
      (pp. 165-166)

      Beginning at a small Elm Tree on Potọ River, at the Corner of a cleared Field & running N. a 68 Perches to the Nọ Side of the main Street

      formed by three Walnut Trees thence E.

      a[t]74 Poles Wills’s Creek where the Mills are to be built is 26 Poles distant–& bears N 18 N. & the Creek from hence Bears N 59 W up–& the Bottom is 15 Poles Wide–and the Mills are within 6 Po: of G Braddock’s Waggon Road X Wills’s Creek

      a[t]94 Poles E Course X a Drain at the Head of the Bottom...

    • Orders and Resolutions of the Ohio Company and the Committee of the Company, October 20, 1748—July 4, 1763.
      (pp. 167-182)
    • George Mercer’s Appointment and Instructions as London Agent for the Ohio Company, July 4, 1763.
      (pp. 182-183)
    • Statement of Account of the Ohio Company with Arthur Dobbs, 1763.
      (pp. 183-183)
    • John Mercer’s Letter to Charlton Palmer, April 17, 1764.
      (pp. 184-185)

      I sometime since forwarded to you a copy of the Record of the Proceedings upon the contestation of a Will between Williamson and Clifton and in November last again sent you the same under the colony seal, which I hope are come safe to hand tho’ I doubt too late for Capṭ Dansics purposes, as by a Letter I rec’ed last week from my Son627dated London Jan’ 25. last he complained of his not hearing from me since he went from Virginia but as he mentioned his being newly returned from Bath, I suppose the packets I sent were...

    • George Mason’s Letter to Robert Carter, January 23, 1768.
      (pp. 185-186)
    • John Mercer’s Letter to George Mercer, December 22, 1767—January 28, 1768.
      (pp. 186-220)
    • John Mercer’s Letter to George Mercer, March 3, 1768.
      (pp. 221-229)

      • Enclosure 1 Boundaries Proposed by the Ohio Company, February 26, 1768.
        (pp. 229-232)

        I think the following or some such Proposals would be proper on behalf of the Ohio Company.

        If the Instructions from his late Majesty are insisted on, and the Company are thought to deserve no further Favours in Consideration of the great Charge they have incurred the Discoveries they have made, and the Informations they have from time to time given to the Government; then we ought at least to have Liberty to Survey our 500,000 Acres in as many different Tracts as we please, the words Grant or Grants plainly bearing that Meaning and being no way inconsistent with...

      • Enclosure 2 Case of the Ohio Company, 1754.
        (pp. 233-286)

        By the treaty of Lancaster,287as well as by deed bearing date the second day of July one thousand seven hundred and forty four, the northern Indians, by the name of the six nations (who claimed all the lands west of Virginia and also to and on the waters of the Mississippi and the lakes by right of conquest from the several nations of Indians who formerly inhabited that countrey and had been extirpated by the said six nations) did yeild up, make over and forever quit claim to his Majesty and his successors, all the said lands west of...

      • Enclosure 3 Resolutions of the Committee of the Ohio Company, October 17, 1760 and September 7-9, 1761.
        (pp. 287-288)

        At a Meeting of the Committee of the Ohio Company at Williamsburg on Friday the 17ṭhof October 1760.

        Mṛ John Mercer having drawn up a State of the Companys Case and presented the same to the Committee

        Resolved that the same be approved …

        Identical item in “Orders and Resolutions, 1749–1761.”

        Printed on pp. 150-151.

        Ordered that Mṛ George Mason the Companys Treasurer write to Mṛ Edward Athawes Merchṭ …

        Identical item in “Orders and Resolutions, 1749-1761.”

        Printed on p. 151.

        Resolved that the Companys Store house at Wills Creek be repaired and put into good Order …...

      • Enclosure 4 Record of Land Grants, Made in Virginia, 1745—1753.
        (pp. 289-291)
      • Enclosure 5 Petitioners for Land on the Ohio, 1745—1753.
        (pp. 292-294)
      • Enclosure 6 Fragment of the Case of the Ohio Company, 1762.
        (pp. 295-296)

        told Majṛ Washington enquiring by what authority he had made prisoners of several English Subjects, that the Countrey belonged to the French, that no Englishman had a right to trade upon those waters & that he had orders to make every person prisoner that attempted to trade on the Ohio or the Waters of it. And it is remarkable that the half king in the account he gave Majṛ Washington of his Speech to the French Commander insisted that the Land on the Ohio belonged to the Indians & neither to the English or French. altho at the Treaty at Logs Town...

      • Enclosure 7 Resolution of the Committee of the Ohio Company, July 4, 1763.
        (pp. 296-296)
        J Mercer

        At a Meeting of Committee of the Ohio Company at Stafford Court House on Monday July 4ṭh1763.

        Resolved that the Company will upon the very first Notice from Colọ George Mercer reimburse and repay him any Sums of Money which he shall judge necessary to expend in Order to obtain a Grant for the Ohio Company on the Terms they have now petitioned for–provided the Sum does not exceed Two thousand Pounds Sterling upon the whole including any Money that may be advanced or raised already by Charlton Palmer Esqṛ on this Account...

      • Enclosure 8 Fragment of John Mercer’s Letter to George Mercer, January 28, 1768.
        (pp. 296-296)

        (which he alone of all the creditors, contrary to his promise, reserved at his Execution of the Assignment) …

        I should be very desirous that you would procure me the

        Fragment of complete letter which is printed on pp. 186-220....

    • John Mercer’s Letter to George Mercer, March 9, 1768.
      (pp. 297-310)
    • Charlton Palmer’s Letter to George Mercer, December 27, 1769.
      (pp. 310-310)
    • Thomas Walpole’s Memorandum to Osgood Hanbury, February 7, 1770.
      (pp. 311-311)

      Mṛ Walpole presents his Compliments to Mṛ Hanbury, & begs leave to acquaint him & the rest of the Gentlemen concern’d in the Ohio Company, that Mṛ Walpole having met the Gentlemen concerned with him in an Application to Government for Lands in America, Mṛ Walpole is authorised to assure the Ohio Company, that Mṛ Walpole & associates having no Intention to interfere with any Persons who have had any legal Grants779from Government, if the Ohio Company think it right to prosecute their Pretentions, Mṛ Walpole & those concerned with him can have no Objection thereto.

      Wednesday 7thfeby 1770

      [Endorsed]1770. Note...

    • Conway Richard Dobbs’ Letter to George Mercer, March 26, 1770.
      (pp. 311-312)
    • James Mercer’s Letter to Several Members of the Ohio Company, January 9, 1772.
      (pp. 312-315)
    • George Mason’s Letter to James Mercer, January 13, 1772.
      (pp. 315-318)
    • Pearson Chapman’s Letter to James Mercer, January 13, 1772.
      (pp. 318-318)
    • Thomas Ludwell Lee’s Letter to James Mercer, January 13, 1772.
      (pp. 318-319)
    • Thomas Ludwell Lee’s Letter to James Mercer, January 19, 1772.
      (pp. 320-320)
    • Philip Ludwell Lee’s Letter to James Mercer, January 21, 1772.
      (pp. 320-320)
    • James Mercer’s Letter to Several Members of the Ohio Company, Together with Their Replies to His Letter, ca. January 21, 1772.
      (pp. 321-321)
    • James Scott to James Mercer, January 11, 1772.
      (pp. 321-322)
    • Richard Lee to James Mercer, January 21, 1772.
      (pp. 323-323)
    • James Mercer to Philip Ludwell Lee, January 21, 1772.
      (pp. 323-324)
    • George Mercer’s Draft on Samuel Wharton, August 5, 1772.
      (pp. 324-324)
    • Samuel Wharton’s Letter to George Mercer, August 20, 1772.
      (pp. 324-325)
    • Statement of Account of Thomas Walpole with George Mercer, in Behalf of the Grand Ohio Company, February 26, 1776.
      (pp. 325-325)
    • Statement of Account of Samuel Wharton with George Mercer, in Behalf of the Grand Ohio Company, July 17, 1777.
      (pp. 326-328)
  5. PART II The CASE of the OHIO COMPANY, extracted from original papers.
    (pp. 329-391)

    IT was generally reputed that, by the treaty of Lancafter, as well as by deed, bearing date July 2, 1744, the northern Indians, by the name of the Six Nations, (who claimed all the lands weft of Virginia, and alfo to, and on the waters of the Miffifippi and the lakes, by right of conqueft from the feveral nations of Indians who formerly inhabited that country, and had been extirpated by the faid Six Nations) did yield up, make over, and for ever quit claim to his majefty, and his fucceffors, all the faid lands weft of Virginia, with all...

  6. PART III COMMENTARY on the case of the ohio company extracted from original papers
    (pp. 392-458)

    THE George Mercer Papers printed in Part I of this book are a manuscript collection in the Darlington Memorial Library at the University of Pittsburgh. They cover most of the source material from which was compiled the printed pamphlet reproduced in Part II:The Case of the Ohio Company, Extracted from Original Papers.

    Because the printedCasecontains material which is not among the Mercer papers in the Darlington Library and which is hitherto unknown information concerning the history of the Company it, too, is reproduced here. The manuscript papers and the printed pamphlet belong together in a study of...