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"John Fitch" Signed 1778 Revolutionary War Bond
JOHN FITCH, Relative of the Famous Clock Maker, Brass Worker, Silversmith, and Inventor of the Steamship in the United States.
October 20, 1778-Dated Revolutionary War Period, Manuscript Document Signed, "John Fitch," as a witness to a transaction, being a Bond executed and signed by "John Martin" as Assistant Commissary in the American Army, Charles City County, Fredericksburg, VA, measuring 13.5" x 8.25", Choice Very Fine. There is an original red Wax Seal at bottom right edge, below Martin's signature. This rare 1778 Revolutionary War bond reads, in full:

"Know all Men by there (sic) presents that I John Martin of Charles City County in the State of Virginia am holden and stand bound unto the honorable Henry Laurens Esquire President of the Continental Congress or his successor in office, in the sum of five thousand dollars, to which payment well and truly to be made and done, I the said John Martin do bind myself my Heirs, Executors and administrators firmly by these presents, signed with my hand and sealed with my seal, dated Fredericksburg...

The Condition of this obligation is such that if the above bounden John Martin shall well and truly execute the office and trust of an Assistant Commissary of the American Army according to the resolutions of Congress regulating that Department; then this present obligation to be void and of none effect, but in default thereof shall remain and abide in full force, strength, Power and Virtue... Signed sealed and Delivered in the present off - John Fitch - Sil Mather".

Very clear and distinct brown-ink manuscript. Document with normal folds, minor dampstains along the margins; large, clear signatures of both Martin and Fitch. A superb Revolutionary War bond that mentions the president of the Continental Congress and contains the signature of John Fitch.
On August 26, 1791, John Fitch was granted a United States patent for the steamboat. Four years earlier, on August 22, 1787, John Fitch demonstrated the first successful steamboat, launching a forty-five-foot craft on the Delaware River in the presence of delegates from the Constitutional Convention.

In 1786 Fitch (1743-98) built the first recorded steam-powered ship in the United States. The first successful trial run of his steamboat was made on the Delaware River on August 22, 1787, in the presence of delegates from the Constitutional Convention. Fitch was granted a patent on August 26, 1791, after a battle with James Rumsey, who had created a similar invention. Fitch's idea would be turned profitable by Robert Fulton, decades later. In the autumn of 1777, Fitch sold beer and tobacco to the British" George Washington greatly despised him for this. According to the Fitch family, this document is made to his son John, who lived in Windham.
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