Tobias Lear appears with a fair degree of frequency in the Papers of the War Department, mostly in his capacity as personal secretary to President George Washington. He is perhaps best known for having recorded Washington’s last words, ‘Tis well,” and for noting and carrying out Washington’s burial instructions. Born to a relatively prosperous and connected family in Portsmouth New Hampshire in 1762, Lear caught the eye of his uncle Benjamin Lincoln, who recommended Lear to Washington. Beginning around 1784, Lear went on to become virtually indispensable to Washington. Nevertheless, Lear struggled personally and financially. Beginning around 1793, he left Washington to pursue development of the Potomac River for commerce and navigation, but lost money. He apparently once pocketed the rent he collected from one of Washington’s tenants, which infuriated his boss. During the so-called Quasi War with France, Lear was appointed as a Colonel and aide to Washington, though he never saw action. Present at Washington’s death, Lear recorded Washington’s request that he not be placed into the vault for three days after his death. (Some have suggested that Washington feared being buried alive). Oddly, given that Washington came to despise Thomas Jefferson toward the end of his life, Lear went on to become Jefferson’s Consul General to the North African Coast, where he would eventually negotiate the release of captive American sailors aboard the Philadelphia. Lear apparently committed suicide in 1816.