Indenture, vellum, approx. 14.755 x 19.5 in. 10 July 1795, Philadelphia. Between Thomas Willing and Robert Morris of the first part and Edward McCafferty of the second part for "a certain lot or piece of ground" ..."on the East side of a certain twelve feet wide Alley... and on the South side of a certain sixteen feet wide Alley or passage between fifth and sixth Streets...." Red wax seals beside Willing and Morris' signatures as well as the Justice of the Peace are chipping away, but still partially present.
Born in England in 1734, Robert Morris immigrated to North America in 1747, first to Oxford, Maryland, then to Philadelphia, where he apprenticed with the shipping and banking firm of Charles Willing. Almost immediately Willing's son, Thomas, and Robert Morris agreed to go into business together, an association that would last until 1793. Morris served as a member of the state legislature, the 2nd Continental Congress and the U.S. Senate. He signed the Declaration of Independence, Articles of Confederation and U.S. Constitution. During 1781-1784 he served as Superintendent of Finance, giving him the unofficial title of "Financier of the Revolution." He would help set up the Bank of North America, but refused to take the position of Secretary of the Treasury.
Thomas Willing (1731-1821) was a Philadelphia native. He served as Mayor of the city, a delegate to the Continental Congress among other positions. He would later become the first President of the first Bank of North America, the first President of the Bank of the United States.
After the War, speculation was seen by the upper classes as a quick way to recover from the financial ravages of the war. Willing and Morris engaged in land speculation along with dozens of their countrymen. Unfortunately that "bubble" burst in 1796-1797 triggering a financial panic on the heels of the one that had happened in 1792. This indenture documenting a sale of land in 1795 was likely one of a few he still controlled with Thomas Willing, even though they were no longer formally in business together. Morris would be unable to pay debts accrued in the land speculation and would spend 1798-1801 in a debtor's apartment adjacent to Walnut Street Prison. After his release, he lived quietly until his death in 1806.
An irregular area of missing paper along the right side, roughly 1.25 x 5.75 in.
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