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    Description

    George and Martha Washington signed land indenture, also signed by Tobias Lear

    George Washington and Martha Washington Land Indenture Signed "Go:Washington" and "Martha Washington." Two pages, 9" x 15" (height varies), Fairfax County, Virginia, August 8, 1799, conveying a substantial amount of land in the city of Alexandria from the former first president and his wife, to Ezra Lunt. It reads in full:

    " This Indenture made the eighth day of August in the year of our Lord, one thousand seven hundred and ninety nine Between General George Washington of the County of Fairfax, and Commonwealth of Virginia and Martha his wife, of the one part, and Ezra Lunt of the Town of Alexandria, of the other part, Witnesseth, that the said General George Washington, for an in consideration, for the Rents and Covenants hereafter reserved and expressed, on the part and behalf of the said Ezra Lunt, to be paid down, and performed, has granted, bargained, and sold, aliened, and confined, and by these presents, does grant, bargain, and sell, alieu, and confirm, unto the said Ezra Lunt, his heirs and assigns forever, a certain piece or parcel of ground, situate, lying and being in the town of Alexandria. Beginning on Prince Street, adjoining the house built by Hugh Barr, thence along said Prince Street westwardly, twenty four feet four inches, thence Northwardly parallel to Hugh Barrs lot, eighty three feet to an alley, thence along said alley twenty four feet four Inches, to Hugh Barrs lot, and from thence, parallel with that, to the beginning.

    "To have and to hold the said piece or parcel of ground with the appurtenances thereto belonging, unto the said Ezra Lunt, his heirs and assigns. He the said Ezra Lunt his heirs and assigns yielding, and paying for the same, on the eighth day of August next ensuing, and on the eighth day, of August yearly, and every year, forever hereafter, unto the aforesaid General Washington, his heirs and assigns, the sum of Seventy three Dollars, Current money of Virginia, and the said Ezra Lunt, his heirs and assigns, doth hereby grant unto General George Washington his heirs and assigns, the said annual Rent of Seventy three Dollars issuing out of the said hereby demised premises, and the said Ezra Lunt, his heirs and assigns, do hereby Covenant, promise, and grant, to and with the said General George Washington his heirs and assigns, that he the said Ezra Lunt his heirs and assigns, will Yearly and every Year, forever, well and truly pay, the aforesaid sum of Seventy three Dollars; unto the said General George Washington his heirs and assigns, on the day and at the time appointed for payment as aforesaid, and also, that it shall and may be lawful, for the said General George Washington his heirs and assigns, at any and at all times after the said Rent shall become due, if the same be not paid when demanded to enter upon the said hereby granted piece of Land, and distress and sale make, of the goods and chattels which may be there upon found, to pay and satisfy such Rent or Rents or part of a Rent, as may remain due, and in arrear, and it is farther agreed, covenanted, conditioned, and provided, by the said Ezra Lunt his heirs and assigns to and with the said General George Washington, his heirs and assigns, that if the said Yearly Rent, of Seventy three Dollars or any part thereof be behind or unpaid by the space of thirty days next after the said becomes due and payable, and sufficient goods and chattels, of the said Ezra Lunt and his heirs and assigns, shall not be found upon the said hereby granted premises, to pay and satisfy the same, that then it shall, and may be lawful, for the said General George Washington and his heirs and assigns, in and upon the said hereby granted piece of Land, and premises to re-enter, and the same to hold again, Repossess, and enjoy, as if this present Indenture had never been made, any thing herein contained to the contrary thereof anywise notwithstanding. And the said General George Washington his heirs, [illegible], do grant and Covenant to and with, the said Ezra Lunt, in manner following, that is to say; that the said General George Washington and his heirs, the said Ezra Lunt and his heirs and assigns, paying the Rent herein reserved and performing, fulfilling, and keeping the Covenants, and agreements on their part; to be performed and done, the said hereby granted piece of Land and every part thereof unto the said Ezra Lunt, his heirs and assigns, against the said General George Washington, his heirs, and all and every other person or persons, shall and will warrant and forever defend these presents.

    "In Witness whereof the parties to these presents have hereunto interchangeably set their hands and affixed their seals the day and year first before written."

    Countersigned by Washington's secretary Tobias Lear and his step-grandson George Washington Parke Custis as witnesses.

    George Washington died three months after the signing of this indenture and his wife, Martha, followed three years later. In 1833, this indenture was read before the Supreme Court of the United States in the case of Richard M. Scott v. Ezra Lunt's Administrator. From the Reports of Cases Argued and Decided in the Supreme Court of the United States (New York, 1883, pp. 595-6):

    "This was an action of covenant, instituted in the circuit court for the county of Alexandria, by the plaintiff, against the defendant, to recover sundry annual rents alleged to be due from the defendant's testator to the plaintiff, under a deed executed by General George Washington and wife, of the one part, and the defendant's intestate, on the other part, by which a lot of ground, in the city of Alexandria, was conveyed to Ezra Lunt, his heirs and assigns, subject to the payment of an annual rent of $73, payable to General George Washington, his heirs, executors and assigns, on the 8th day of August in each year. The deed was made upon the 8th day of August 1799..."

    It continues: "On the 28th of August 1804, the executors of General Washington, by a deed of indenture, executed on that day, sold and conveyed to Henry Smith Turner, his executors, administrators and assigns, the annual rent of $73, issuing out of, and charged upon, the piece of ground conveyed to Ezra Lunt, 'to have and to hold the said annual rent of $73, unto the said Henry Smith Turner, his heirs and assigns,' &c. This deed recited the conveyance to Ezra Lunt at large. On the 25th day of February 1808, Henry Smith Turner sold and conveyed the said ground-rent of $73, to the plaintiff in error. The conveyance, after reciting the deed from General Washington to Ezra Lunt, and that the said rent and the powers of distress and re-entry contained in the same, were, by the executors of General Washington, transferred to him, the said Henry Smith Turner, his heirs and assigns, by the deed of August 5th, 1804... The plaintiff gave in evidence the deed or lease from General Washington and Martha his wife, to Ezra Lunt, and the conveyances of the executors of General Washington, and Henry Smith Turner."

    The Supreme Court sided in favor of the defendant saying: "the defendant had a right to the instruction, that the proof must conform to the allegations in the pleadings...we are of opinion, that the circuit court erred...and the judgment must, on this account, be reversed and a venire facias de novo be awarded."

    Documents bearing the signatures of both George Washington and his wife are very uncommon making this a unique piece of early American history. The document is elegantly written, with a scalloped top. Light ink bleed-through on the verso. Washington's signature is large and bold.


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    December, 2011
    8th-9th Thursday-Friday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 1
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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