Lot 118 - George Washington hair and piece of coat
A framed 14¾” x 15¼” display featuring an autograph of George Washington, a square piece of Washington’s coat and a lock of approximately six strands of Washington’s hair
The items are attractively framed with an engraved metal plaque and a 4½” x 6½” reproduction of a Gilbert Stuart portrait of Washington.
Washington’s signature is featured on a partial document which was originally part of a large March 17 1769 indenture between George Washington and Robert Thompson. The location of this signature has been identified on a lifesize colour reproduction of the 21” x 17” original document from which the fragment was excised, which is included in this lot.
The display also features a piece of George Washington’s cloak from the family of his personal secretary Colonel Tobias Lear, who was also one of Washington’s best friends.
It was purchased in a lot of other material sold at auction in February 5, 2010. Complete provenance is included.
The lock of six strands of George Washington’s hair comes from from the Custis-Powell family. Librarians at Mount Vernon and at Woodlawn Plantation (both in Virginia) have commented that it was commonplace for Martha Custis Washington to give her husband’s hair as a gift both during his life and after his death. Colonel Levin Powell (1738-1810) was an intimate friend of Washington and a Revolutionary War hero.
A certification of authenticity from noted American dealer and collector Charles Hamilton is included.
In the indenture, Washington leases 150 acres of land “partly in Fauquier & partly in Loudoun Counties … being part of a Tract granted to George Carter Esqr deceased for 3312 Acres in Ashbys Bent of the Blew Ridge … unto the said Robert Thompson his Heirs, and Assigns, from the Day of the Date hereof, for and during the natural Lives of him the said Robert Thompson, Daniel McPherson son of Richard McPherson and Alice Gibson daughter and the Longest Liver of them: Yielding and Paying unto the said George Washington his Heirs, Executors, Administrators, or assigns, yearly, and every year, for and during the Space and Term before mentioned, the Rent of Seven pounds Current Money of Virginia at his Meeting House in Fairfax County, or to any Person who may be legally authorized, and approved to receive the same…”
In 1767, Washington bought a tract of 2,481 acres at Ashby’s Bent in Fauquier and Loudoun counties, Virginia from George Carter’s estate. He divided this into 20 parcels for renting and leased one 150 acre parcel to Robert Thompson.
After the Revolutionary War, Washington hired Battaile Muse to collect the rents from his tenants in Fauquier and Loudoun counties. By the time Muse was ready to pass the collection of rents to Washington’s nephew Robert Lewis in 1791, the payments from these tenants had come to form a significant portion of Washington’s income.
Exactly a week before his death in 1977, Washington wrote to his nephew about the death of one of his tenants and the possibility of acquiring the land. This letter, in part, read:
“What prospect the death of Mr. Airess may open to the attainment of the Farm which was leased for his, and life of Mrs. Airess, I know not; it may, however, be the subject of a round about enquiry of yours; for I must, if Mrs. Washington and myself should both survive another year, find some place to which the supernumerary hands on this Estate could be removed…”
End Date: 2012-05-24 19:59:00