Picking up from the previous post I wish to expand on my findings relating to William Longmire's early life in King George County in the 1730's onward. And whereas William's entry into the colonies had such an ignominious beginning it will be shown that not only did he make immense strides in his station due to his many talents and abilities, but that he occupied a place almost singularly unique in his time - a convicted felon who later went on to work for the court in many capacities and whose various clerical duties involved the families of two of our first Presidents. Also noteworthy is the fact that he did much of this prior to the expiration date of his mandated 14 year servitude.
As the issue may arise as to how I can confirm much of the handwriting in the various court records, deeds, estate inventories, and other writings which I attribute to William Longmire I will make the following points:
William Longmire no doubt was the author of the majority of ledger entries found in the Edward Dixon Papers (Library of Congress) from their extant date of 1743 until late 1748. This is confirmed several ways: His wages for doing so are contained therein, but just as importantly, his signature in witnessing account settlements, tobacco exchanges for goods, parish claims, levies, etc is unmistakable and conforms completely with the context and content of the various entries. William also accepted and signed for goods for Col Thomas Turner himself.
The Newgate letter of 1725 written by and signed by William Longmire is more than enough of a separate writing sample to confirm his handwriting yet at this point is just more evidence to make the case overwhelming.
Besides the numerous court entries written by William in the early 1740's the yearly "Laying of the Levy" probably demonstrates most profoundly this point. Because Col Turner was Clerk of the Court AND store owner where William worked the overlap between parish claims and store ledger entries becomes more apparent. For example the accounting methods and layout of the page(s) is identical, the handwriting exactly identical, and just as important, the numeral comparisons between the two indicate the same handwriting.
One other point which can not be overlooked is the fact that the store and court recording handwriting I attribute to William Longmire abruptly ends at the same time in late 1748 whereupon both sets of books continue on with two vastly differing hands. This coincides with a probable illness of sorts which befell William as he is known to have died thereafter and his handwriting not to be seen again. Interestingly not even in a will - something he was certainly capable of constructing on his own otherwise and perhaps suggestive that he was bedridden to the extent before death that he could not even write.
In short, William is first found writing, and later maintaining, the estate records of Col Nicholas Smith by 1734. By 1735 or 1736 he appears to have written some deeds. He is evidently a free man by at least early 1737 but probably earlier. He is definitely writing deeds by 1737 and one deed in particular of 1741 which he wrote is later recorded by him in court whereupon he also drew a map for the ensuing boundary dispute (Morton vs Donne Survey and Proceeding). By 1742 he is taking an order for "Spanish Hide" from Augustine Washington and by 1743/44 is entering Augustine's complex multi-estate inventory into the court records of King George County. By June 1, 1744 William is then actually sitting in court and recording all of the proceedings - his first entry being that of Joseph Strother providing his Commission and taking the oath of Sheriff of K.G. Co and the subsequent same for Josiah Ferguson and Jos Strother Jr for Under Sheriff. His 2nd case that day is the presentation of the will of James Jones deceased - an item I will comment on in my next post.