George Washington Papers

[Diary entry: 6 April 1785]

Wednesday 6th. Mercury at 47 in the Morning—[ ] at Noon and [ ] at Night.

Clear, calm & pleasant in the Morning. Wind afterward springing up from the Eastward, it began to lower and before Night had much the appearance of rain.

Sowed the semicircle North of the front gate with Holly berries sent me by my Brother John—three drills of them—the middle one of Berries which had been got about Christmas and put in Sand—the other two of Berries which had been got earlier in the year, gently dried, & packed in Shavings.

Planted in a Nursery in my Vineyard 17 Live Oaks sent me by Colo. Parker of Norfolk 13 of one, and 7 of another kind of what I suppose to be the wild Honeysuckle, they being in different Bundles, and he having been written to for the wild Honey Suckle.

Sent my Shad Sein and Hands to the Ferry to commen⟨ce⟩ Fishing for Mssrs. Douglas & Smith who had engaged to take all the Shad & Herring I can catch in the Season—the first at 15/. a hundred, and the other at 4/. a thousand.

A Mr. Vidler, to whom I had written (an Undertaker at Annapolis) came here and opened the cases wch. contained my Marble chimney piece—but for want of Workmen could not undertake to finish my New room.

Mr. Carter, & Mr. Geo. Lewis returned here this afternoon.

Lonicera periclymenum, wild honeysuckle. nursery in my vineyard: This was one of several experimental or nursery areas GW had on his Mount Vernon farms. The vineyard was behind the stables, south of the mansion house. douglas & smith: Smith & Douglass of Alexandria, also bought the shad and herring for the 1786 season, paying GW a slightly increased rate (LEDGER B description begins Manuscript Ledger Book 2, 1772-93, in George Washington Papers, Library of Congress. description ends , 225). The firm partnership was dissolved late in 1786 (Va. Journal, 26 Oct. 1786).

There was an Edward Vidler living in Annapolis in 1785 (Va. Journal, 25 Aug. 1785). an undertaker: a contractor or subcontractor.

my marble chimney piece: Samuel Vaughan, a London merchant in the colonial trade, had enthusiastically supported the colonies during the Revolution, and had immigrated with his family to Philadelphia in 1783. He was a great admirer of GW and wrote to him in 1784 offering to send a marble chimney piece for his New Room at Mount Vernon (8 April 1784, DLC:GW). The chimney piece, packed in ten cases, arrived in Alexandria in Feb. 1785 aboard Capt. W. Haskell’s brig May. GW wrote Vaughan’s son Benjamin that “by the number of cases . . . I greatly fear it is too elegant & costly for my room, & republican stile of living” (GW to Benjamin Vaughan, 5 Feb. 1785, DLC:GW; Va. Journal, 3 Feb. 1785).

new room: the large room at the north end of the mansion, now called the Banquet Hall, but always referred to by GW as the New Room. Construction on this room had been begun during the Revolution by Going Lanphier under Lund Washington’s supervision (see main entry for 25 April 1774), but Lanphier had left before the interior of the room was completed. After his return to Mount Vernon GW was anxious to have work resumed on the unfinished structure.

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