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(AMERICAN REVOLUTION--1778.) Bill for maintenance on Philadelphia's wetlands "when the English was here." Manuscript document titled "Account of work done by Wm Jones in the Middle District of Greenwich Island." One page, 13 1/4 x 8 1/4 inches, docketed simply "No. 1" on verso; unevenly trimmed, partial separations at folds, 3 cello tape repairs on verso with stains bleeding through. [Philadelphia], circa 1778
Greenwich Island was an area of desolate swampland to the south of Philadelphia, requiring maintenance of dams and sluiceways to allow for a minimum of settlement and navigation. With the threat of British invasion of the new Continental capital, it may have gained some strategic importance. Here is a detailed accounting of work done on the island by William Jones from May 1776 to April 1777: "repairing the old sluice," "stoping leaks," "laying in Keen's Bank to my hazard." The British took possession of the city in September 1777. Jones continued his work on the maintenance of the island's primitive infrastructure, adding one entry: "1778 April 17th to May 16th, 59 days work mending banks & stoping leaks when the English was here." The British evacuated Philadelphia the following month.
Greenwich Island has since been filled, connected to the mainland, and incorporated into the southern part of the city; the Citizens Bank Park baseball field is built on what was once the island.
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