The Irish Bomfords

Correspondence between Sarah Bomford and George Washington

The Library of Congress has copies and transcripts of George Washington's correspondence which include a number of letters from a Sarah Bomford to George Washington and vice versa, and several related letters to lawyers and trustees.† The principal topic is a legal dispute between a Mrs Savage in Ireland and her estranged husband, Doctor Savage in Virginia, in which Mrs Bomford has sought George Washington's assistance on behalf of Mrs Savage.† The correspondence covers the period up to and just after the War of Independence.† The records are not complete, but there is a good sample.

Bryan Fairfax to George Washington, 3 August 1772.† Mr Bomford has requested copies of Mrs Savage's deeds of settlement - probably in the general court at Loudon [Virginia?] where the lands lie and not the deeds executed at Dumfries.

George Washington to Sarah Bomford, 20 September 1772.† Doctor Savage doesn't scruple to assert that he left Mrs Savage well provided for, but we will hold him to his Bond.

Sarah Bomford to George Washington, 27 September 1773.† Haven't heard from you since September 1773 and getting rather anxious.† Mr Bomford will cheerfully pay the postage.† This letter gives Sarah's address as Fish Amble Street, Dublin.

George Washington to Isaac Bomford, 23 December 1773

"To Isaac Bomford Esq Dublin

"Permit me under your cover to direct the following letter to your Lady, also? assure that I am Sir your most hbl servt George Washington"

George Washington to Sarah Bomford, 23 December 1773. Delays in the courts - the Doctor determined to oppose at every avenue, probably 8 months to go.

Sarah Bomford to George Washington, 25 May 1774.† Thanks yours of December 1773.† Tis now 2 years since last March Mrs Savage became one of our family.† She wrote to you from Whitehaven with her thanks.

George Washington to Sarah Bomford, 28 August 1774. Have had some success but all put to a stop because the courts have stopped operating during dispute with Britain.

Sarah Bomford to George Washington, 20 April 1776.† I am moving to Bath in May 1776 and leaving Mrs Savage to her fate.

George Washington to Sarah Bomford, 15 March 1785.† I have your letter of 8 October 1784 from Lisle in Flanders and have seen the Irish will of Mrs Savage held by Mr Moore (unknown - his widow has since been after it) and think it should be acted on by the executors named (there is no evidence they have seen it).† Dr Savage is also dead; by report he made an immense fortune.† Refer all claims to the executors; and re Mrs Savage's case to Bryan Fairfax, one trustee of Mrs Savage's bond for her annuity.

George Washington to Bryan Fairfax, 6 April 1789.† I am ready to turn over papers of [Mrs Savage's] estate for benefit of Mrs Bomford any time.

George Washington to Sarah Bomford, 6 January 1790, in reply to a letter from Sarah Bomford of August 1789.† I have not attended to the matter because my public duties have precluded any attention to my private affairs since the outbreak of the war in 1775.† I have forwarded your letter to Mr Fairfax and request you correspond with him in future.

George Washington to Bryan Fairfax, 6 January 1790.† Please reply to Mrs Bomford's claim for her legacy under Mrs Savage's will and her claim for 4 years board etc for Mrs Fairfax.

George Washington to Samuel Potts, 18 March 1792.† I have referred your inquiry on behalf of Mrs Bomford to Revd Bryan Fairfax.

George Washington to Bryan Fairfax, 19 March 1792.† Refers a letter from Mr Samuel Potts re the legacy of Mrs Savage for Mrs Bomford.


The Writings of George Washington from the Original Manuscript Sources, 1745-1799. John C. Fitzpatrick, Editor.

George Washingtonís letters to Sarah & Isaac Bomford

April 25, 1767.

Sir: The security you offer is, in our opinions, amply sufficient and we dare say will readily be received by Fairfax Court; to whom being given, our Bond for the Executrixship of Mrs. Savage becomes void of course. We do not mean to hurry you, or the Gentlemen proposed by you, into the execution of this securitiship, two or three Courts hence (being the same to us) may perhaps prove more convenient to yourself, and to them. Far be it from us to accuse you of any remissness, or neglect in not proffering this counter security before, it was our business to apply, not yours to offer; and we have done it now in consequence of information that the relations of the late revd. Mr. Green are making enquiries after his Estate here (for what end we know not). Your avowed intention of leaving the Colony, &ca.79

[Note 79: The matter of the Savage bond was a troublesome affair that dragged on until 1774 and 1775. Mrs. Margaret Savage, Doctor Savage's wife, complicated the matter by changing her mind. Apparently the bond in question was a joint one of George Washington and George William Fairfax, in a matter of bequest by the late Rev. Charles Green, of Pohick Church, to Mrs. Savage, in which bequest Washington and Fairfax acted as trustees.]

That the devise to Mrs. Savage will admit of dispute, is a matter we are not to judge of; sufficient it is, that the Will was somewhat out of the Customary form; and tho' Mr. Mercer80 ( upon the whole) was of opinion 'twas valid, yet, to the best of our reccollection he pointed out a necessary mode of proceeding, in order to give it authenticity which if Mrs. Savage ever complied with, is entirely unknown to us. We therefore hope to stand excused for the application we made to you on Monday last. and are Sir, etc.

[Note 80: James Mercer, the eminent Virginia lawyer.]

G. Wm. Fairfax. G: Washington.

(Catherine Holman email 8 Apr 2006)