George Washington Papers

[Diary entry: 2 January 1768]

2. Surveying some Lines of my Mt. Vernon Tract of Land.

The Mount Vernon tract was the original Washington family land on Little Hunting Creek, being part of a grant for 5,000 acres between Little Hunting and Dogue creeks that the proprietors of the Northern Neck had made 1 Mar. 1674 to Col. Nicholas Spencer (d. 1689) of Albany, Westmoreland County, and GW’s great-grandfather, Lt. Col. John Washington (1632–1677) of Bridges Creek, Westmoreland County (Northern Neck Deeds and Grants, Book 5, 207–8, Vi Microfilm). The Spencer-Washington grant was divided in 1690 between Colonel Spencer’s widow, Frances Mottram Spencer (died c.1727), and John Washington’s son Lawrence Washington (1659–1697/98). Mrs. Spencer chose the western half of the grant which bordered on Dogue Creek, or Epsewasson Creek as the Indians had called it, and Lawrence Washington took the eastern half on Little Hunting Creek (survey and division by George Brent, 18 Sept. and 23 Dec. 1690, ViMtvL). The Little Hunting Creek tract was inherited by Lawrence’s daughter Mildred Washington (1696–c.1745), who, after her marriage to Roger Gregory of King and Queen County, sold it for £180 to her brother Augustine Washington, GW’s father (deed of Roger and Mildred Gregory to Augustine Washington, 19 Oct. 1726, ViMtvL).

From Augustine the tract passed to GW’s half brother Lawrence, who during the 1740s named it Mount Vernon (will of Augustine Washington, 11 April 1743, DLC:GW). After Lawrence’s death in 1752, his widow Ann and her second husband, George Lee (1714–1761) of Westmoreland County, rented the tract and 18 slaves to GW for her lifetime at the rate of 15,000 pounds of tobacco or £93 15s. Virginia currency a year, and upon Ann’s death in 1761, it became GW’s outright by virtue of a provision in Lawrence’s will (deed of George and Ann Lee to GW, 17 Dec. 1754, ketchum description begins Richard M. Ketchum. The World of George Washington. New York, 1974. description ends , 25; ledger a description begins Manuscript Ledger Book 1, 1750-72, in George Washington Papers, Library of Congress. description ends , 47; will of Lawrence Washington, 20 June 1752, ViMtvL). Although the tract was originally supposed to contain about 2,500 acres, it now contained only about 2,126 acres because of a change in the northern boundary that had been made about 1741 (survey by R. O. Brooke, c.1741, callahan description begins Charles H. Callahan. Washington: The Man and the Mason. Washington, D.C., 1913. description ends , facing p. 3; GW’s quitrent lists 1760–73, DLC:GW). GW had purchased several additional tracts adjoining this original Mount Vernon land.

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