David Ross papers  1771-1803
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Collection Scope and Content Note

The David Ross papers contain financial documents and correspondence regarding the estate of Pennsylvania merchant Mark Freeman and the Revolutionary War-era tobacco business of Virginia planter David Ross, who handled Freeman's financial affairs after the latter's departure for Europe in 1779.

Most early items are financial documents, such as accounts related to Mark Freeman's estate. These pertain to Freeman's purchases in the 1770s and to debts owed after his death. Also included is a power of attorney granting Mark Freeman, William Temple, and Robert Wilson, all of Middletown, Pennsylvania, the right to represent the estate of James Forbes, also of Middletown (May 4, 1776). Other financial records concern the firm Forbes & Patton's purchases of snuff, rolling paper, tobacco, and other goods.

Later items primarily pertain to David Ross, who took over Freeman's affairs in 1779. The collection contains a copy of an indenture allowing Ross to become Freeman's attorney (August 2, 1779) and records regarding Freeman's finances. These documents reflect the difficulties of conducting trade during the American Revolution. Ross traded indigo, tobacco, and other products throughout the war, often in the Caribbean, and repeatedly mentioned the complications presented by the war. In one item, Ross discussed the possible future of Kentucky (January 29, 1781).

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