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LETTER (NOVEMBER 1879) WRITTEN BY JOSIAH WARE TO
PRESIDENT RUTHERFORD B. HAYES
CONCERNING SOME ITEMS
BELONGING TO GEORGE WASHINGTON

Transcribed by Judy C. Ware
Judy C. Ware February 2009

Original copy of letter on file in RB Hayes Library in Ohio


     ** Josiah Ware was the cousin of Hayes’s wife, Lucy Ware Webb Hayes.  Just as Josiah did, President Hayes had a passion for collecting & preserving pieces of history and keeping detailed genealogical records.  He and Josiah visited in person often and corresponded by mail quite a bit over the years.  Josiah had in his possession several things from the Revolutionary War era and some specific items that had belonged to President George Washington and his wife, Martha.  His youngest daughter, Lucy Balmain Ware, had married into the Washington family when she married Edward Parke Custis – a favorite nephew of Washington.   Edward was the son of Lorenzo Lewis and grandson of Nelly Custis {Lewis} – the adopted daughter of George Washington.  It is possible some of these items may have actually been given to Lucy first, but she died rather young and Josiah would have kept them in safekeeping.   However he came to have ownership of them, it is clear from several letters that Josiah had quite a few fascinating pieces of Washington’s property. Knowing that Hayes had such a deep respect and awe for historical pieces, Josiah kindly offered to give him some of the items he had in his own possession and also try and track down the whereabouts of other collectibles that he knew were in existence.  In addition to items that may be on display at the Rutherford B. Hayes Library and home in Fremont, Ohio, both Mount Vernon and the Smithsonian have several items that were donated by a member of the immediate Ware family.


                                                                              Nov. 20, '79

My dear Cousin,

     Very much gratified by your kind hospitality of last winter and your injunction to come there and stay when I come to Washington.  My business will take me there early next month; I trust only a few days, and may after call me there for a few days again - more than once - and with my daughter writing me your house will be full all winter, it seems gross ingratitude in me to impose on you in such case and excuse myself.

     Please, with my dutiful respects to the President, say to him that I have 3 times ridden to get the continental money (10 miles off) and failed.  The last time satisfied me he had none, but I got the ancient note I enclose for him.  I have failed to get the Washington letter so far, but his nephew has promised to notify me when to meet me there and he will try.  The boots had been stolen; I hope to get them.  The screen - Mrs. Ware advised me not to send until I give you a more full description of.  You may be disappointed and dissatisfied.

     Best regards to Gen. H. Hardy, if with you, and such relations as may be.

                                                                          Affectionately,

                                                                            J. W. Ware

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