Papers of John Adams, volume 17

From Thomas Jefferson

From Joseph Palmer

From Charles van Notten, 28 November 1785 Notten, Charles van Adams, John
From Charles van Notten
Sir Devonshire Square 28 Novemr 1785

I beg pardon for troubling You on a very disagrable Subject, but not being able to procure a sufficient Information in any other manner, I must request the favor of Yr Ex’ Information & is if it is true, the Report circulated here, of a Party of Indians, having about the 29th: July last, fallen on a few Settlers at Great Kanhaves, & having there Scalp’t five Persons, amongst which were

Mr: Jean Duval Senator of the Districht of Monougholie & the Ohio1

& Mr: Galatin who was known as a french Gentn (tho born at Geneve, from which Place he about a Year or Some Months back, on the troubles in that Town, went to Settle in America).2

An Uncle’s of this Gentn: is very uneasy, & it will be doing him a friendly act, to let Us know, if Yr: Ex: knows if it is true, & if Mr Galatin is one of those unfortunate Persons, the Name was Spelt Galatan in an Article of 15 Augt: from New York—but differs you See but one Letter, I fear therefore it is so. The favor of a Line in answer at Your leisure directed as hereunder will oblige / sir Yr: Ex: / Most Obt Humb: Servt

Chas Van Notten

RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “H E Adams Esqr:.”


The report seen by Notten, a London merchant, stemmed from erroneous accounts appearing in various Pennsylvania and Virginia newspapers of the deaths of Albert Gallatin and John P. Duval, a Virginia state senator, while on a surveying expedition in the vicinity of the Ohio and Monongahela Rivers. Gallatin’s business partner, Jean Savary de Valcoulon, indicated that the reports were false in a 10 June 1786 letter to John Jay written in consequence of Thomas Jefferson’s efforts to discover if the rumors had any basis in fact ( ANB ; Jefferson, Papers , 10:183).


Closing parenthesis editorially supplied.