George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Leven Powell, 8 April 1787

From Leven Powell

Loudoun April 8th 1787.

Dear Sir,

The Bearer will now deliver the residue of the Buck-wheat purchased for you, which would have been down sooner, but for the Hurry we were in to get Tobacco down & I knew it could be sent in time for your purpose. Being but an indifferent Farmer & never having made Crop of Buck-Wheat obliged me to consult some of our Farmers with respect to the information you require.1

The ground should be well broke up early in June, Plow’d again in July & the Seed put in with an Harrow by the last of that Month, this is said to be the proper way, but I have offen observed the farmers to give their ground but one plowing & Harrow twice, once before & again after sowing.

Good land properly managed Will produce from 30 to 40 bushels per acre & half a bushel of seed is Sufficient. Mean land produces less & requires more seed, say three Pecks to the Acre; from my own observations I think as much depends upon the Season as the Soil & more for the growth of this Crop than any other & which I have found more frequently to fail. It is generally esteem’d & I believe is the best feed for Milch Cows, ground into Meal & Mix’d with Cut straw or Chaff It is given in the same manner to Horses not much used. Made into a Slosh, it fattens hoggs Quick but it is necessary to give them ten or twelve days feed of Indian Corn to give the meat a firmness which it will otherwise want. I shall always be happy to serve you when in my power & am with very great regard Dear Sir Yr ob: Hble Servt

Leven Powell


1Leven Powell wrote from Loudoun a letter to GW on 18 Dec. 1786, which was inadvertently omitted from volume 4 and will be printed in full at the end of volume 6. In the letter Powell wrote that he was having trouble getting a wagon to send down “the residue of the Buck Wheat” and that he hoped GW could wait “’till a more Leisure time.” See also GW to Powell, 21 Dec. 1786, and Diaries description begins Donald Jackson and Dorothy Twohig, eds. The Diaries of George Washington. 6 vols. Charlottesville, Va., 1976–79. description ends , 5:74.

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