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From John Mason

Dear Sir

     Since the communication you were good enough to make to me, last winter, respecting the little legacy left, by our late Friend Mr George Gray, to the Children of my Brother Thomas Mason, I have, at the request of the only surviveing child, my nephew Gerard Mason, communicated thro' a Friend with his (Mr Gray's) Executor in Baltimore, Mr Wethered, on the subject—and find that a very singular difficulty exists, as to the payment of it— an extract of the will has been sent me, which is in the following words— "I give and bequeath unto such of the Children of Mr Thomas Mason of <2m> County Virginia as may be living at the time of my death the sum of five hundred dollars"—from the terms used you will perceive Sir, that it is sufficiently clear, that those of the Children alive at the time of the Testator's death are meant—but as the name of the county has been left blank—the Executor states that he is at a loss, how to act, unless he could get satisfactory assurance that the Thomas Mason, whom I have represented, as his person designated, to wit Thos Mason of Prince William County, was really the one meant—and Mr Skinner of Baltimore, who made the Enquiries for me, writes me, that the Executor who is a worthy & fair Man, & wishes to throw no obstacles in the way unnecessarily, has suggested to him that he thinks that Mr Gray was in the habit of corresponding with you and Mrs Washington, and th<at> possibly you Sir, or your lady, might have known his intentions on that subject.

     Desirous to aid my Brother's Family all I can—in developing the matter, I have taken the liberty to write you this letter, and will beg the Favor of you, should it happen that yourself or Mrs Washington may have had, at any time, any intimation from Mr Gray, of his intended kindness, toward that Family, or if you can give me any other clue, by which to trace such Intentions of his—to give me such information, by the mail, as you may deem useful, in enabling us to satisfy the Executor, or the Orphan's court, who was intended by the Testator. With great Regard & Respect I am Sir your very obt. Servt

J. Mason

Source Note

ALS, ViMtvL: Bushrod Washington Family Papers. Mason addressed the letter to BW at Mount Vernon, and wrote above the address "Charge postage to J. Mason." The letter was postmarked 20 April in Georgetown, and BW endorsed the letter. Washington noted on the cover "<An>sd 1st June — recd 30 May."