George Washington Papers

[Diary entry: 23 October 1768]

23. Dined at the Causey & got to Colo. Bassetts.

Because the shores of the lower Pamunkey River were rather marshy, it was difficult to maintain convenient ferry landings. In 1749 Thomas Dansie, who had a wharf on the north, or King William, side of the Pamunkey, was authorized to build a “Causeway from the [south shore of the Pamunkey] River opposite to his said Wharf through the said Marsh to the High Land in the said County of New Kent” (winfree, 413). Five years later the General Assembly authorized Dansie to run a ferry between his wharf and the causeway landing at “the same rates as are by law now taken . . . at Claiborne’s Ferry,” and also directed New Kent County to build a road from the causeway to the main road leading to Claiborne’s ferry landing (hening description begins William Waller Hening, ed. The Statutes at Large; Being a Collection of All the Laws of Virginia, from the First Session of the Legislature, in the Year 1619. 13 vols. 1819–23. Reprint. Charlottesville, Va., 1969. description ends , 6:427).

Dansie’s ferry was not yet open in May 1755 when a northbound traveler recorded: “came to Claibornes about Twelve [o’clock]. Was an hour in passing here; by making a long slant up the River, upon the account of large marshes” (“Narrative of George Fisher,” description begins “Narrative of George Fisher. Commencing with a Voyage from London, May, 1750, for Yorktown in Virginia and Ending in August, 1755, on His Return from Philadelphia to Williamsburg.” William and Mary Quarterly, 1st ser., 17 (1908–9): 100–139, 147–76. description ends 165). The two ferries were so close to one another that travelers did not always bother to differentiate one from the other. Thus, although GW here records his dining at the causeway, he noted in his ledger that his dinner expenses and ferriages today were at Claiborne’s (Va. Gaz., 24 July 1752; ledger a description begins Manuscript Ledger Book 1, 1750-72, in George Washington Papers, Library of Congress. description ends , 281).

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