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Little Sages Books

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Autograph Letter Signed from Phineas Miller, partner of Eli Whitney in the patented creation of the cotton gin, to Catherine ‘Caty’ Greene Miller, (nee Littlefield ) widow of General Nathanael Greene (1742-1786), sent from Hartford to Warwick, April 27th, 1787 – mentions of Col. Jeremiah Wadsworth, Captain Sweet, the Governor (Georgia) and Mrs. Ward.

Phineas Miller In the fall of 1785, after Revolutionary War service, Greene and family settled to Mulberry Grove in Chatham County, Georgia, near Savannah, where land had been gifted from the State of Georgia and the Carolinas, yet Nathanael's time there would be short -within one year, Greene was dead. The children's tutor, Phineas Miller, took up the role of plantation manager. It is within this time period that this letter was written, I have sent you the best assortment of garden seeds I am now able to procure - They are from a retailer, who received them fput up, mark'd and warranted from Col. Wadsworth's gardener. [Col. Jeremiah Wadsworth was a friend of General Greenes]. I intended to have had a larger assortment selected by himself but he went out to West Division early this morning with the intention of putting them up this evening, and Capt. Sweet sails today so that I had no alternativebut to get them of the retailer - I have put on board a salmon for your family and Mrs. Ward, with very particular directions to Capt. Sweet, to take care of it, and hope it may arrive good and prove agreeable - Please to present my most respectful compliments to the Governor and family and permit tme to to be Madam your Most Obedient and Very Humble Servant. -- Phins. Miller. In 1792, after passionate and active work on the part of the widow, the crushing debt that General Greene amassed during the Revolutionary War was erased. In this same year, Eli Whitney came aboard the plantation to assist. Within the year, the cotton gin was fully developed. On March 14, 1794, Whitney received a patent for the cotton gin - it was debuted on the plantation grounds. By some reports, she was in partnership with Miller in the financial and logistical support of the process of patent and production of the gin. [In an 1883 article in The North American Review titled "Woman as Inventor", the early feminist and abolitionist Matilda Joslyn Gage claimed that Mrs. Greene suggested to Whitney the use of a brush-like component, which was instrumental in separating the seeds from the cotton.] In 1796, Phineas and Catherine were married, but Mulberry Grove would not outlast the duo. By 1798, it was sold, and the Millers moved to Cumberland Island, to land given to Gen. Greene. Sheet, folded, with creaselines and wax seal. Foxing, with no loss, text clear to read.