George Washington Papers

To George Washington from John Patterson, 17 June 1758

From John Patterson

June the 17th 1758.

Honourable Sr

I return you thanks, for Complying with my request, & hope to give content for Your goodness.1 I shall take the Roof off the House, as soon as the Carpenters gets the Laths for to shingle on; having the cheif of the Work fream’d, at this Instant. I shall want two inch plank for to Cover the Balusterade; & am of Opinion that Pine, is before Oak for that purpose. But if you think proper to have the Latter, the Carpenters can get it. Likewise its requesite the weatherboarding that is up; & will be, had a coat of Paynt, for which I spoke to Mr Washington, & he desir’d I would make Uce of the red Paynt, when Oyle was got; the sooner the better that the Work may not suffer. The sd Gent. desir’d I woould write, what Mr Possey’ Kitchen amounted to; the Value where of being fourteen Pound. And the other work Veiw’d by Mr Adams Six.2 Depend Sir on my deligence to forward the Work, & will stick to it early & laite til finish’d; & shall allways make it my study to please & serve a Gent. that has done me such a singular peice of Service. I remain Honrble Sir with the greatest respect Your Honours Most Oblidg’d, Most Humble Servt

John Patterson

P.S. Sr please to send the Wallnut plank, with the Oyle.3 The demensions is 6 feet long, by 1 f[oot]: 6 In. Broad, & 6:In. thick.


John Patterson (d. 1768), a joiner, or master carpenter, in the Northern Neck, was directing the repairs and improvements being made to the house at Mount Vernon, including the addition of another story. The progress of the work on the house during the summer and early fall of 1758 may be followed in the letters from Patterson, 13 Aug., 2 Sept.; from GW’s overseer Humphrey Knight, 16 June, 13 July, 24 Aug., 2 Sept.; from George William Fairfax, 25 July, 5 Aug., 1, 15 Sept.; and from John Carlyle, 4, 8, 22 August. Except for his letter to George William Fairfax of 25 Sept., no other in which GW gives instructions about or comments on Patterson’s work on Mount Vernon has been found. GW’s accounts reveal that he paid Patterson £20 cash in December 1757, £75 in May 1758, and in July 1759 gave him “an order on Messrs [John] Carlyle & [John] Dalton for [£]185–5.11” (Ledger A description begins Manuscript Ledger Book 1, 1750-72, in George Washington Papers, Library of Congress. description ends , 49).

1GW’s “goodness” presumably was the “singular peice of Service” that Patterson refers to later in this letter.

3According to his accounts GW paid Lewis Stephens £7 “for Lin-seed Oyl” (Ledger A description begins Manuscript Ledger Book 1, 1750-72, in George Washington Papers, Library of Congress. description ends , 39).

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