Partly printed deed on vellum, completed in manuscript, 28 x 52 cm. Thomas Willing conveys to William Bingham 1100 acres, a tract called "Halstead," in the late purchase district No. 3, Northumberland County, Pennsylvania. Document signed by Gov. Thomas Mifflin, and attested to by James Trimble, Deputy Secretary. State Seal of Pennsylvania affixed to left margin. Additional assignment of the deed on verso, in manuscript: William Bingham conveys this tract to Robert Morris and John Nicholson, Esquires, for the sum of five shillings, on January 31, 1795. Signed by Bingham and witnessed by George Willing and Herman Baker. Attested to be James Biddle, Pres. of the Several Courts of Common Pleas, and recorded in the Patent books. Folded, a very good copy. Item #65291
Just before the American Revolution, William Bingham joined the Philadelphia trading firm of Willing, Morris & Co., begun by Thomas Willing (1731-1821) and Robert Morris (1734-1806). Bingham was sent by the Continental Congress to the West Indies to negotiate for produce and munitions to supply the American army in 1776. His ownership of privateers and other business dealings made him one of the wealthiest men in America. He married Willing's daughter in 1780. At the time of the execution of this deed, Willing was President of the First Bank of the United States. Bingham became U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania in 1795, following Robert Morris in office. [see: the Encyclopedia of Greater Philadelphia and the Penn University Archives & Record Center for brief biographies of Willing and Bingham]
Robert Morris and John Nicholson, to whom Bingham transferred this tract of land created the North American Land Company in February 1795. The company engaged in land speculation, amassing some six million acres in Pennsylvania, the District of Columbia, Georgia, Kentucky, North and South Carolina, and Virginia. Overextended, they ran into financial difficulties and along with another founding partner James Greenleaf, they all served time in debtors prison. Morris served three and a half years, from 1798-1801. Nicholson died in prison.