George Washington D.S. along with his four Directors of the Potomac Company
JOHNSON, Thomas (1732-1819). First elected Governor of Maryland. Johnson and Washington formed a company to extend navigation of the Potomac River. Johnson became one of the four directors of the company. In 1791, Johnson accepted the nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court. He wrote the first documented opinion of the Court. Johnson was appointed by George Washington as Chairman of the Board of Commissioners to lay out the Capitol City. He was the first to call the city Washington. Johnson attended the Maryland Convention in 1788 where he successfully urged the state’s ratification of the U.S. Constitution. Thomas Jefferson recommended Johnson for Secretary of State but the offer was refused due to poor health.
GILPIN, George (1740-1813). Merchant, surveyor, and Colonel in the militia who accompanied George Washington as they fought through New Jersey. He was one of the four directors of the Potomac Company. The Gilpin Map was the plan of the town of Alexandria, Virginia. Gilpin was one of the pallbearers at Washington’s funeral.
FITZGERALD, John (unknown-1799). George Washington’s aide-de-camp. Served with Washington at Valley Forge, and the battles of Princeton and Trenton. He founded the Bank of Alexandria and the Alexandria Library. He got George Washington to donate to building the first Catholic Church in Virginia. One of the four directors of the Potomac Company.
LEE, Thomas Sim (1745-1819) Second State Governor of Maryland (1779-1782). Important participant in the process of the creation of the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution. He participated in the Annapolis Convention which transformed the colony into the State of Maryland. He owned over 200 slaves. One of the four directors of the Potomac Company.
The Potomac Company was created in 1785 to make improvements to the Potomac River and improve navigability for commerce.
Very scarce manuscript document signed, 2 pp (recto and verso) Alexandria, as this receipt indicates, on October 3, 1786 “The within allowed for 16 Pounds virga (Virginia) Currency. Very boldly signed by five, George Washington, Th. Johnson, George Gilpin, John Fitzgerald and Tho. S. Lee.
Below is a note in manuscript: “Alexandria, October 4, 1786 rec’d of Wm. Hartshorne, Treasurer of Potomac Company the above Sixteen pounds, allowed by the President & Directors. Fr. Hamilton.”
The other side is an a.l.s. from a Francis Hamilton writing “To The Honorable President and
Directors of the Potomac Company now present at the great falls. In a lengthy letter Hamilton
writes about his framed house of 30 feet long and 20 feet wide with a stone chimney which was
entirely destroyed last Christmas by powder. At the head of Shannandock Falls.” He continues
by recommending a man who was familiar with the house before it was destroyed. Apparently, the
Potomac Company may have been expanding the width of the river by blowing it up with
“powder” which destroyed the house of Francis Hamilton. This document is in very good condition
except for a paper tape repair to a blank margin 1.25” long, not affecting any of the writing These
type documents are very scarce and almost never signed by the President and all four of the
directors. The signature of Thomas Johnson is usually missing in all collections of the Supreme
Court. The signatures of Johnson and Lee have ink blots but still readable. ........$15,000.00