George Washington formed the Potomack Company in 1785 to improve commerce through trade and transportation with a series of canals.
His goal was to turn the Potomack River into a navigable trade route to the Ohio country.
The most serious obstacles to overcome were a series of rapids along the river.
The Shenandoah Falls had a drop of 15 feet over a mile-long stretch of river that required the clearing of a navigable sluice through the rapids.
Borers were hired to excavate the locks of the canal.
A workforce consisting of unskilled laborers and slaves rented from nearby plantations set about the mammoth task.
In this incredible document George Washington, as President of the Potomack Company, and two fellow Directors, approve the payment of the laborers for the building of the canal at Shenandoah Falls.
On one side is a handwritten accounts chart headed:
'A Return of work done and Inches Bor'd under Alexander Pollock, Thomas Pollock, Robert Duke, & James Hamilton, Overseers at Shenandoah falls from the 29th Sept to the 12th No. 1786 inclusive"
The document is written by Richardson Stuart, the manager of the construction operations of the Potomack Company.
In total the names of 53 workers are listed and the total figure due '£112.18.1'
Borers and laborers were paid the same, twice as much as the cook.
Borers received additional payment for the amount of inches bored.
One the reverse George Washington has signed the document dating it Jan 7 1787. His co-Directors have signed below (George Gilpin + John Fitzgerald).
The document is in very good condition, with archival folds and light toning as would be expected with a document of this era.
The signatures are bold, clear and clean.
A wonderful item documenting the pre-Presidential career of George Washington.
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