To George Lewis
Mount Vernon 9th April 1797
Your letter of the 31st Ult. from Culpeper County, came to my hands late at night on the 5th instt; and the enclosure for your brother Fielding was sent to him early next morning.1
The melancholy occasion of your writing has filled me with inexpressable concern. The debt of nature however sooner or later must be paid by us all, and although the seperation from our nearest relatives is a heart rending circumstance, reason religeon & Philosophy, teach us to bear it with resignation; while time alone can ameliorate, & soften the pangs we experience at parting.
It must have been a consoling circumstance to my deceased Sister, that so many of her friends were about her. I find myself almost in the situation of a New beginner, so much does my houses, and every thing about them, stand in need of repairs. What with Joiners, Painters, Glasiers, &ca &ca I have scarcely a room to go into at present, that is free from one, or other of them. But the inside will soon be done, tho’ it will require a good deal of time to make good the decays which I am every day discovering in the out buildings & Inclosures.
This leads me to ask if you know of a good House Joiner (white or black) that could be hired by the year, or month, & on what terms. I want one who is capable of making a well finished pannel Door, Sash, & Wainscot; and who could be relied on for his sobriety & diligence.2
At any time, and at all times, we should be very glad to see you & Mrs Lewis at this place; and with best regards to you both, in which your Aunt joins—I am Dear Sir, Your sincere friend, and Affectionate Uncle
Since 1796 Major George Lewis (1757–1821), son of Fielding Lewis (1725–1781) and Betty Washington Lewis (1733–1797), had been living at Marmion, King George County, with his wife Catherine Daingerfield Lewis, daughter of Col. William Daingerfield (d. 1781) and Mary Willis Daingerfield of Coventry in Spotsylvania County.
1. Lewis’s letter of 31 Mar. telling of the death of his mother, Betty Lewis, GW’s sister, at the home of her daughter, Betty Carter, who lived at Western View in Culpeper County with her husband Charles Carter, has not been found. George Lewis’s letter to his brother Fielding, who at this time lived in Fairfax County, included a paragraph about Fielding’s daughter Nancy who had become the charge of her grandmother: “You will, no doubt be anxious to know what is to be done with poor little Nancy. She is in good health, and at present with Sister Carter, where it was intended by mother, had she not have died, to have left her for some time for the advantage of her education, Mr. Carter having a teacher in his family, and I have not a doubt but she will receive all the care and attention that she has all along experienced from the dearest and best of women” (Duke,Kenmore and the Lewises, 173 - 74).