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Report of Committee on Petition of Alexander Ross and William Thompson, of Pittsburgh


Saturday, January 6, 1776.

Mr˙ Adams, from the Committee to whom the Petition of Alexander Ross and William Tompson was referred, reported, that they had, according to order, had the same under their consideration, and that it appeared to them that, in the year 1760, His Majesty had a garrisoned fort erected at the place called Fort Pitt, which was kept up until the year 1772, after which a Corporal and a few men only were continued in the said fort; that the Petitioners produced to them a bill of sale from Major Charles Edmonstone, commander of the said fort, to them, bearing date the 10th day of October 1772, reciting that the said Edmonstone, for and in consideration of the sum of fifty Pounds, New-York currency, to him inland paid by the said Alexander Ross and William Tompson, did bargain and sell, in behalf of the Crown, unto the said Alexander Ross and William Tompson, all the pickets, bricks, stones, timber, and iron, which are now in the buildings or walls of the said fort, and in the redoubts be demolished by order of his Excellency Generall Gage, Commander-in-Chief of His Majesty' s Forces in North-America; and that it also appeared, from the testimony of John Campbell, that he, with many others, signed a Remonstrance, and sent it to General Gage, whereby they complained of a private sale made of the ruins of the fort, by the said Charles Edmonstone, to the Petitioners, and requested that they might be publickly sold; that they received for answer from General Gage, that although the said Charles Edmonstone had proceeded irregularly, yet, as a sale was made, he could not set it aside; that it further appeared, from the deposition of Dorsey Penticost, that he saw a letter from Gen˙ Gage, dated in the winter of 1772, which seemed to be an answer to a remonstrance of the inhabitants of Fort Pitt, desiring to purchase the ruins of the fort, wherein he informs them that he had received a return from Major Edmonstone of the sale thereof, which was good and by his orders; that there were a corporal and three men left at Fort Pitt, who, he was informed by Edward Hand, surgeon of the said Regiment, were left to take care of the boats, batteaus, &c˙; that it also appeared the further sum of fifty Pounds was given as a present, by the Petitioners, to the said Charles Edmonstone, and the sum of twenty-five Pounds to one Bredau, an ensign to the said Regiment, and a witness to the bill of sale; and that the said Edward Hand, another witness to the bill of sale, had empowered him to receive from the said Alexander Ross one-third of the sales of the ruins of the fort, by virtue of a contract subsisting between the said Edward Hand and the Petitioners; that it further appeared that the Petitioners, since the purchase aforesaid, have sold some of the ruins of the said fort, and were in possession of others in the year 1774, when John Connolly, by order of Lord Dunmore, took possession thereof, and had the same appraised and valued by John Gibson and Thomas Smallman, sworn for that purpose, which valuation amounted to 1082l, 7s, 2d˙, current money of Virginia; that the said Alexander Ross had built, without the said fort, several houses, and enclosed a garden with pickets and a brick wall, and was possessed of two redoubts and eight stacks of chimnies, as his private property


some of which were made use of, and others destroyed, by the said John Connolly, having been previously valued by the said Gibson and Smallman, on oath, to the sum of 314 1 9d˙, Virginia currency. And that they had come to the following Resolutions thereupon; which he read in his place, and afterwards delivered in at the Clerk' s table, where the same were again twice read and agreed to:

Resolved, That so much of the Petition as relates to the claim of the said Alexander Ross and William Tompson be rejected.

Resolved, That such other part of the Petition as relates to the said Alexander Ross is reasonable, and that the sum of 107 1 9 ought to be allowed and paid to the said Ross, by the publick, deducting 55 10s˙, which appears at present to be due to the country from the said Ross, for Provisions furnished by John Connolly to four men of the Eighteenth Regiment of Royal Irish, remaining in Fort Pitt, to which the said Ross was Commissary.