George Washington Papers

To George Washington from John Patterson, 13 August 1758

From John Patterson

Alexandria August the 13th 1758

Honourable Sr

I have got the outside of the House finishd, the Closets excepted, & that by not having plank; which Mr Balendine has got a bill for, but having no dependance on his word, shall strive if posible to finish the inside, according to expectation (in case hands can be got) I have tryd my friends in raising & kivering, the House but those men cannot be prevaild upon to asist me longer, having business of there own to be done. Having consulted Col. Fairfax concerning the old floors up Stairs, pasage floor also; informs me, he would write & have your answer; its just the Nail holes of the latter, looks but indiffirent; but the Joynts makes amends for that; & in me would be base to take it up, when I am confident, its not in my power to lay a better one, the Stuff of it being dry, & when playnd over will have much a better look. As to the former floors Col. Fairfax will write his opinion of them.1 I Likwise consulted Mr Triplet of the Plan, he says its not in his power to do it, this year, as there is Bricks to be made, & as to the other jobs he can compleat.2 In regard to pleacing the Stairs up to the Garret, I do not intend to adapt them in the Room mentiond, in the last Letter, but opposite to the head of the old Stair Caise, takeing them off from the store room that was; & shall advise with Col. Fairfax in this point, as in every other article.3 I hope to give your Hon. a greater sadisfaction by my actions then words, & shall allways remain with the greatest respect; Your Honours Most obligd, Most Hble & Obedient Servt

John Patterson


John Patterson was in charge of the extensive alterations being made in the house at Mount Vernon. See Patterson to GW, 17 June 1758.

1The correspondence about replacing some of the flooring at Mount Vernon is discussed in George William Fairfax to GW, 5 Aug., n.1. Fairfax, GW’s neighbor and friend, kept an eye on the work being done on the house.

2The “Plan” was perhaps something devised by GW for Patterson’s guidance. In his letter of 2 Sept. Patterson makes it clear that what was not in William Triplett’s “power to do” this year was to build two small structures, or “Houses,” and a “yard wall” near the main house. Archaeological evidence indicates that the two little houses were built near the west front of the big house. The “other jobs” were brickwork to be done on the foundation and chimney and the plastering inside the house itself.

3In the only other letter from him that has been found, dated 17 June 1758, Patterson does not mention the stairs to the garret; but see George William Fairfax to GW, 1 September.

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