George Washington Papers

[Diary entry: 30 April 1788]

Wednesday 30th. Thermometer at 56 in the Morning—66 at Noon and 62 at Night. Clear all day. Wind at No. Et. in the Morning and South in the evening—and though not warm, yet pleasant.

Visited all the Plantations.

At the Ferry the Plows still in No. 7. The Women, though the ground was extremely wet, had begun to make holes in No. 2 for planting Corn. Drawing, with the Plantation Carts, & Waggon, the Scantling from the landing to the New barn.

At Frenchs, the Ploughs at Work as yesterday, except two, in laying off for Corn in No. 2. The women were repairing fences around field No. 5.

At Dogue run, one plow laying off for Corn. The Overseer & Women makg. holes to plant it. Ordered all the Stock of every kind to be removed from the Mill Meadow this Afternoon.

At the River Plantation, the plows, after breaking up, & listing the farm Pen, in No. 6, went (except one) to plow that part of No. 9 which has been lately added, West of the Post & Rail fence; Nat was ordered to run 3 feet furrows in the Barn yard enclosure for the purpose of hilling more regularly for Pease, Beans &ca.—The Women & the rest of the people making Corn holes—ground being too wet to plant.

All the Flax which has hitherto been sown was up, and seemingly well.

Few or no fish caught to day, at the time I was at the landing.

Brick making going on. The Ditchers Carpenters &ca. went to work on the breach in the Mill race to day.

Majr. George Washington returned from below (Colo. Bassetts) to day.

Although most of the materials for the new barn were obtained at Mount Vernon, GW bought ready-cut lumber for the roofing from the Alexandria firm of Peterson & Taylor so that his carpenters would be available for haying rather than using their time cutting scantling and plank (BRISSOT description begins J. P. Brissot de Warville. New Travels in the United States of America, 1788. Translated by Mara Soceanu Vamos and Durand Echeverria. Edited by Durand Echeverria. Cambridge, Mass., 1964. description ends , 343; GW to Peterson & Taylor, 5 and 7 Jan. 1788, DLC:GW; see entry for 28 May 1788). The 21,922 board feet of pine scantling being transported today consisted of sleepers, joists, plates, rafters, window beams, studs, and rails all cut to order (GW to Peterson & Taylor, 5 Jan. 1788, DLC:GW). GW wanted this scantling delivered no later than 1 Mar. so that the carpenters would have adequate time to frame it before they were sent to the fields, but ice in the Potomac prevented Peterson & Taylor from getting timber from the Eastern Shore in time to meet his deadline (Peterson & Taylor to GW, 13 Feb. 1788, DLC:GW). GW was further disappointed to discover that 21 pieces of the scantling that he had ordered were missing and that 15 pieces not ordered were included (GW to Peterson & Taylor, 10 May 1788, and Peterson & Taylor to GW, 2 June 1788, DLC:GW). The ship that brought GW this scantling from Peterson & Taylor also brought him 1,300 board feet of one-inch thick pine plank and 2,300 feet of one-and-a-quarter-inch pine plank from the firm. The balance of GW’s order, 10,000 board feet of the one-inch plank, arrived in another ship on 5 June (Peterson & Taylor to GW, 18 April 1788, DLC:GW; see entry for 5 June 1788). In all GW paid Peterson & Taylor £108 5s. 9d. for lumber for his barn (LEDGER B description begins Manuscript Ledger Book 2, 1772-93, in George Washington Papers, Library of Congress. description ends , 266).

The slave Nat had been a laborer on River plantation apparently since 1762 (GW tithable lists 1762–73, DLC: Toner Collection; see entry for 18 Feb. 1786).

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