Plain leather bound notebook. 8vo. Manuscript record of lands surveyed in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania in 1777 (2 1/2 pp. of owners' names and acreage), and in Bedford County, Pennsylvania (35 pp. of owners' names and acreage) between 1785 and 1787. Approximately 18 names per page, each with holdings anywhere between 42 and 452 acres. A note at the head of the entry for Oct. 1, 1785 states the survey was done for John Nicholson & Co., and notes "Warr'ts Date July 1784, Nicholson & Company." The surveys listed for March 1787 were made out and returned by the surveyor John Cannon, others by Mr. Massey. The final land related entry is on July 16, 1787: "Received of George Enslow a Certificate [?] for Ten pounds-3-9 old Militia fines.... Delivered the same to the Comptroller General. G...W...." One more entry, Nov. 4, 1788, is an apparently unrelated note about the purchase of steers in 1788. Item #62144
Many of the names in this record book appear on a list of Pennsylvania Land Warrants (1733-1987), most with entry dates of 1784 and 1785. These state issued land warrants awarded free land to Revolutionary War soldiers as an inducement to enlist or in payment for their service. The additional mention in this manuscript notebook of John Nicholson who was appointed Pennsylvania's Comptroller General in 1782, with broad powers to manage the financial affairs of the state, may indicate that the lists appearing in this notebook represent soldiers who were selling or transferring their assigned lands. Nicholson (1757-1800) was a well-known land speculator just after the Revolutionary War. His business dealings often crossed with his official duties which by 1785 included the authority to collect and receive taxes. In 1794 he resigned his various public offices having come under suspicion for dealing privately in state securities. He later joined Robert Morris in the Asylum Company engaging in land speculation in the creation of a settlement for French refugees on the Susquehanna. In early 1800 he was imprisoned for debt and died in jail in December of that year. [see Robert Arbuckle's biography "Pennsylvania Speculator and Patriot: The Entrepreneurial John Nicholson, 1757-1800," (Penn State: 1975)].
G... W... is likely George Woods, a deputy surveyor in Bedford County, Pennsylvania. Both George Woods (?-after 1795) and his son George (1764-1807) were surveyors in Bedford, and both were involved in laying out the city of Pittsburgh. The father served on the Bedford County Committee of Correspondence in 1774-5, and as a Colonel in the Second Battalion of the Bedford Militia in 1776.