Journal of George Washington

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Journal of George Washington
by George Washington

1760[edit]

  • Tuesday April 1

Crossd plowd the Fallow Field to day wch. contains 3.2.38[1] wch. shews that 2 Acres a day in Level ground already broke up may easily be accomplishd.

Doctor Laurie came here.

The Wind at No. West. Weather clear, somewhat Cool and drying.

Moon at its first rising remarkably red.

Recd. a Letter from Mr. Digges, Inclosing a Packet for Messrs. Nichos. & Withe wch. he desird I woud send under Cover to some Friend of mine in Williamsburg as it was to go by Clifton suspecting that Gentleman woud not deal fairly by it.

Began to prepare a Small piece of Ground of abt. [ ] Yards Square at the lower Comer of my Garden to put Trefoil in--a little Seed given me by Colo. Fx[2] Yesterday.

  • Wednesday Apl. 2d.

Got the above Ground ready for Sowing tomorrow. Begn. to Cross plow the first Cook Jack after laying of the Lands in this Field went to plowing in the 12 Acre Field where they were Yesterday as did the other plow abt. 5 oclock after Pointing.

Got several Composts and laid them to dry in order to mix with the Earth brot. from the Field below to try their several Virtues.

Wind blew very fresh from South. Clouds often appeard, and sometimes threatned the near approach of Rain but a clear setting Sun seemd denoted the Contrary.

  • Friday Apl. 4th.

Sowd abt. one Bushl. of Barley in a piece of Ground near the Tobo. House in the 12 Acre Field.

Harrowd, & crossd Harrowd the Ground in the sd. Field intended for Lucerne.

Apprehending the Herrings were come Hauled the Sein but catchd only a few of them tho a good many of other sorts. Majr. Stewart and Doctr. Johnston came here in the Afternoon and at Night Mr. Richie attended by Mr. Ross solliciting Freight--promisd none.

  • Saturday Apl. 5th.

Planted out 20 young Pine trees at the head of my Cherry Walk.

Recd. my Goods from York.

Hauld the Sein again catchd 2 or 3 White Fish more Herring than Yesterday & a great Number of Cats.

Richie and Ross went away.

Made another Plow the same as my former excepting that it has two Eyes and the other one.

So[uther]ly Wind, but not so fresh as that wch. blew Yesterday. However, it blew up a little Rain abt. Dark with a good deal of Lightning & some Thunder.

  • Sunday April 6th.

Wind at No. Et. and Cool. About 3 Oclock it began Raining and continued to do so (moderately) for about an hour when it cleard, the Wind shifting So[uther]ly.

I just perceivd the Rye grass Seed wch. I sowd in the Garden to try its goodness was beginning to come up pretty thick; the Clovr., Lucerne, & Barley I discoverd above Ground, on the first Instant.

Majr. Stewart & Doctr. Johnston set out for Winchesr.

  • Monday April 7th.

Raind till 6 Oclock pretty hard and then cleard--Wind So[uther]ly and Cloudy all day.

In the Evening Colo. Frog[3] came here, and made me an offer of 2400 Acres of Land wch. he has in Culpeper for £400. This Ld. Lyes (according to his acct.) 46 Miles above The Falls of Rappahannock--is well Water'd Timberd & of a Fertile Soil--no Impr[ove]ments on it. I told him that I woud get Captn. Thomas Fitzhugh[4] to give me his Opinion of the Land when he went next to his Quarter not far from it--or I woud take it in my way from Fredk. when I next went up there as it lies he says only 8 Miles from the place where Josh. Nevil livd at the Pignut Ridge.

One Captn. Kennelly lives within a Mile of the Land and is well acquainted with it.

People kept Holliday.

  • HOLLIDAY: Easter Monday.
  • Tuesday April 8th.

What time it began Raining in the Night I cant say, but at day break it was pouring very hard, and continued so, till 7 oclock when a Messenger came to inform me that my Mill was in great danger of blowing. I immediately hurried off all hands with Shovels &ca. to her assistance and got there myself just time enough to give her a reprieve for this time by Wheeling dirt into the place which the Water had Washd.

While I was here a very heavy Thunder Shower came on which lasted upwards of an hour.

Here also, I tried what time the Mill requird to grind a Bushel of Corn and to my Surprize found She was within 5 Minutes of an hour about. This old Anthony attributed to the low head of Water (but Whether it was so or not I cant say--her Works all decayd and out of Order wch. I rather take to be the cause).

This Bushel of Corn when Ground measurd near a Peck more Meal.

No. Et. Wind and Cloudy all day. Towards Night it dripd of Rain.

  • Wednesday Apl. 9th.

Wind at No. Et. Very Cloudy and sometimes Misty.

The Heavy Rains that had fallen in this few days past had made the Ground too wet for Plowing; I therefore set about the Fence which Incloses my Clover Field.

Doctr. Laurie came here. I may add Drunk.

Observd the Trefoil wch. I sowd on the 3d. Inst. to be coming up, but in a Scattg. manner. The Lucerne wch. was sewd at the same time and in the same manner appeard much better; & forwarder.

  • Thursday Apl. 10th.

Mrs. Washington was blooded by Doctr. Laurie who stayd all Night.

This Morning my Plows began to Work in the Clover Field, but a hard Shower of Rain from No. Et. (where the Wind hung all day) abt. 11 Oclock, stopd them for the Remainder of the day. I therefore Employd the hands in making two or three hauls of the Sein, & found that the Herrings were come.

Val Crawford[5] brought 4 Hhds. of my Mountain Tobo. to the Warehouses in Alexa. two in my own Waggon and with a Plow such as they use mostly in Frederick came here in the Night.

He informd me of my worthy Overseer Hardwicks lying since the 17th. Ulto. in Winchester of a Broken Leg.

  • Friday Apl. 11th.

Set one Plow to Work again in the Morning the other about 10 Oclock in the Clover Field.

Tryd the new Plow brot. Yesterday, found she did good Work and run very true but heavy--rather too much so for two Horses, especially while the Gd. was moist.

Abt. 11 Oclock set the People to Hauling the Sein and by Night and in the Night Catchd and dressd [ ] Barrels of Herring and 60 White Fish.

Observd that the Flood tide was infinitely the best for these Fish.

The Wind came fresh from So. Et. the day Cool. Cloudy till Noon, but very clear promising settled Weather afterwards.

After cleaning, the catch was packed with salt into barrels and stored for use on the plantation, fish being a staple of the slaves' diet.

  • Saturday April 12th.

Hard No. West the whole day, very clear and Cool.

Hauld the Sein but without Success. Some said it was owing to the wind setting of the Shore, which seems in some Measure confirmd by the quantity we catchd Yesterday when the Wind blew on upon it.

About 11 Oclock finishd plowing the Clover Field. Abt. 1 Mullatto Jack began harrowing it with the wide Toothd Harrow and got half over the Field by Night. Cook Jack went to Plowing in the 12 Acre Field.

Perceivd my Barley and Oats to be coming up very thick and well.

Engag'd 150 Bushels of Oats of an Eastern shore Man & got 40 of them Landd. before I found they were damagd.

  • Sunday April 13th.

Fine clear still Morng. Abt. 10 Oclock the Wind (what little there was before being So.) came Easterly, blew fresh and Clouded. Towards Evening the Atmostphere was quite Overcast and threatned Instant Rain.

My Negroes askd the lent of the Sein to day but caught little or no Fish. Note the Wind blew upon the shore to day.

  • Monday Apl. 14.

Fine warm day, Wind Soly and clear till the Eveng. when it clouded.

No Fish were to be catchd to day neither.

Mixd my Composts in a box with ten Apartments in the following manner viz.--in *No. 1 is three pecks of the Earth brought from below the Hill out of the 46 Acre Field without any mixture--in No.

  • 2. is two pecks of the said Earth and one of Marie taken out of the said Field which Marie seemd a little Inclinable to Sand.
  • 3. Has 2 Pecks of sd. Earth and 1 of Riverside Sand.
  • 4. Has a Peck of Horse Dung.
  • 5. Has Mud taken out of the Creek.
  • 6. Has Cow Dung.
  • 7. Marle from the Gullys on the Hill side wch. seemd to be purer than the other.
  • 8. Sheep Dung.
  • 9. Black Mould taken out of the Pocoson on the Creek side.
  • 10. Clay got just below the Garden.

All mixd with the same quantity & sort of Earth in the most effectual manner by reducing the whole to a tolerable degree of fineness & jubling them well together in a Cloth.

In each of these divisions were planted three Grains of Wheat 3 of Oats & as many of Barley, all at equal distances in Rows & of equal depth (done by a Machine made for the purpose).

The Wheat Rows are next the Numbered side, the Oats in the Middle, & the Barley on that side next the upper part of the Garden.

Two or three hours after sowing in this manner, and about an hour before Sun set I waterd them all equally alike with Water that had been standing in a Tub abt. two hours exposd to the Sun.

Began drawing Bricks burning Lime & Preparing for Mr. Triplet who is to be here on Wednesday to Work.

Finishd Harrowing the Clover Field, and began reharrowing of it. Got a new harrow made of smaller, and closer Tinings for Harrowing in Grain--the other being more proper for preparing the Ground for sowing.

Cook Jack's plow was stopd he being employd in setting the Lime Kiln.

  • Tuesday April 15th.

Sent Tom and Mike to Alexandria in my Boat for 20 or 25 Bushels of Oats.

Went up myself there to Court after calling at Mr. Green's & leaving Mrs. Washington there.

Mr. Darrell not being there the Execution of his Deeds were again put of.

Being informd that French, Triplet and others were about buying (in conjunction) a piece of Land of Simon Piarson[6] lying not far from my Dogue Run Quarter I engagd him to give me the first offer of it so soon as he shoud determine upon selling it.

About 3 Oclock fell a very heavy Shower of Rain attended with much Wind at So. wch. Instantaneously abt. an hour by Sun changd to No. West & blew for a few Minutes most violently but soon after fell calm.

Good part of my New Fencing that was not Riderd was leveld.[7]

  • Wednesday Apl. 16.

My Boat which the Wind and Rain prevented from returning Yesterday came home this Morning the Wind being at North West and Fresh.

Mr. Triplet & his Brother came this day to Work. Abt. 10 Oclock they began, and got the Wall between the House and Dairy finishd.

Thinking the Ground Rather too wet for Sowing I set my Horses to Carting Rails, and both my Plows were stopd Cook Jack being employd abt. the Lime.

Finishd a Roller this day for Rolling my Grain.

  • Thursday April 17th.

By 3 Oclock in the afternoon Mr. Triplet finishd the Wall between the Dairy and Kitchen. The Rain from that time prevented his Working. Sowed my Clover Field with Oats, 24 Bushels. The upper part next the Peach Orchard was Harrowed in during the Rain but before it began to Clog much.

Also sowd 18 Rows of Lucerne in the 12 Acre Field below the Hill. The first 4 Rows were Sowd in Drils the others by a line stretchd and the Seed Raked In.

Richd. Stephens brot. down 9 Hogsheads of Tobo. to go to the Inspection at Hunting[8] in a flat which I borrowd (or I rather suppose hird) from Messrs. Carlyle and Dalton--wch. Flat brot. down 4 Barrels of Corn--being part of Eight that I was to have had of William Garner at the rate of 9/. pr. Barl. to be paid in Pistoles or Dollars. It seems the other 4 Barrels I am to get from Garner's House.

A Fresh Southerly Wind blew all day. Towards Noon it shifted more East and by 3 Oclock it began Raining and continued so to do witht. Intermission till we went to Bed & how long afterwards I know not.

  • Friday April 18th.

Righted up all my Fencing.

Planted other Pine Trees in the Fencd place at the Cornr. of the Garden the first being broke, and much hurt by Creatures.

Began Sowing my Clovr. and got 4 Acres sowd 14 lb. to the Acre. Harrowd it in with the fine toothd Harrow as light as I coud.

Tryd my Roller wch. find much too light.

Sowd 69 Rows more of Lucerne which makes 87 in all.

Got my Cloaths &ca. packd up for my Journey to Williamsburg tomorrow.

Mr. Barnes's Davy[9] brot. home my Negroe fellow Boson who Ran away on Monday last.


  • Saturday Apl. 19th.

Crossd at Mr. Possey's Ferry[10] and began my journey to Williamsburg about 9 Oclock. Abt. 11 I broke my Chair and had to Walk to Port Tobo. where I was detaind the whole day getting my Chair mended--no Smith being with 6 Miles. Lodgd at Doctr. Halkerston's.[11]

  • Sunday Apl. 20th.

Set out early, and crossd at Cedar point by 10; the day being very calm & fine, Dind and lodgd at my Brother's. The Evening Cloudy with Rain. Wind tho little at So. West.

  • Monday Apl. 21st.

Crossd at Southern's and Tods Bridge and lodgd at Major Gaines's.

  • Tuesday April 22d.

Crossd Pamunky at Williams's Ferry, and visited all the Plantations in New Kent. Found the Overseers much behind hand in their Business. Went to Mrs. Dandridges and lodgd.

  • Wednesday Apl. 23d.

Went to Colo. Bassetts[12] and remaind there the whole day.

  • Thursday April 24th.

Visited my Quarters at Claibornes and found their business in tolerable forwardness. Also went to my other Quarter at unintelligible where their was an insufficiently quantity of Ground prepard--but all that coud be had--it was sd.

Dind at Mr. Bassetts and went in the Evening to Williamsburg.

  • Friday Apl. 25th.

Waited upon the Govr.

  • Saturday Apl. 26th.

Visited all the Estates and my own Quarters about Williamsburg. Found these also in pretty good forwardness.

Receivd Letters from Winchester informing me that the Small Pox had got among my Quarter's in Frederick; determind therefore to leave Town as soon as possible and proceed up to them.

  • Sunday Apl. 27th.
Went to Church.[13]  In the Afternoon some Rain, & a great deal of severe Lightning but not much Thunder.
  • Monday Apl. 28th.

Let my House in Town to Colo. Moore, for Colo. Dandridge, who is to come into it in the Fall, and pay me 45 £ pr. Ann. In the meanwhile I am to paint it.

In the Afternoon after collecting what Money I coud I left Town and reachd Colo. Bassetts.

This day agreed with Mr. Jno. Driver of Nansemond for 25,000 shingles to be deliverd in October. They are to be 18 inch shingles and of the best sort. Desird him if he coud not cause them to be deliverd for 18/a Thousd. not to send them but let me know of it as soon as possible.

  • Tuesday Apl. 29th.

Reachd Port Royal by Sunset.

  • Wednesday 30th.

Came to Hoes Ferry by 10 Oclock but the wind blew too fresh to cross: detained there all Night.

Annotations[edit]

  1. 3 acres, 2 roods, 38 perches.
  2. Colonel Fairfax
  3. Colonel John Frog was a resident of Fauquier County who owned land across Hedgman's River in Culpeper County.
  4. Captain Thomas Fitzhugh (1725--1768) lived at Boscobel in King George County.
  5. Valentine Crawford (d. 1777) lived near Washington's Bullskin plantation in Frederick County and was often hired to move his tobacco crop. Valentine was the brother of Col. William Crawford (1732--1782) and half brother to John, Hugh, Richard, and Marcus Stephenson, sons of Richard and Onora (neée Grimes) Crawford Stephenson, all of whom are mentioned in Washington's diaries.
  6. Simon Pearson owned 558 acres of land between Alexandria and Colchester, northwest of the land on Dogue Run that Washington had purchased from Sampson Darrell in 1757. To sell his tract Pearson had to dock the entail on it, which he achieved in 1762, and on 14 Feb. 1763 GW bought 178 acres of Pearson's land for £191 7s. (deed of Pearson to GW, DLC:GW).
  7. A rail fence is ridered by placing a top rail between crossed posts at the end of each segment
  8. Hunting Creek Warehouse
  9. Davy was one of Abraham Barnes's slaves. In 1760 Boson was assigned to the Mount Vernon quarter called Williamson's. GW today paid Davy 10s. for taking up Boson (LEDGER A, 89).
  10. John Posey's ferry crossed the Potomac River from the lower point of the Mount Vernon neck to Marshall Hall in Charles County, Md. By using Posey's ferry, one could cut across Charles County, past Port Tobacco, and recross the Potomac, entering Virginia in the Chotank area of King George County.
  11. Dr. Robert Halkerston was a founding member of the local Masonic Lodge in 1752, and was likely present at the 1753 meetings in which the young Washington was initiated, passed, and raised into Masonry.
  12. Burwell Basset, who lived in New Kent County
  13. presumed to be a reference to Bruton Parish Church on Duke of Gloucester Street in Williamsburg.