George Washington Papers
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[Diary entry: 18 April 1785]

Monday 18th. Mercury at 60 in the Morning—64 at Noon and 66 at Night.

Wind Southerly with great appearances of rain until the afternoon when there was a red sky and clear horizon towards the sun setting.

Rid to Alexandria to the Election of Delegates for this County and dined at Colo. Fitzgeralds. Colo. Syme & Doctr. Steuart were chosen & for whom I gave my suffrages.

Had the Roots, shrubs (which had been grubbed) & Tussics of broom Straw in the point of New ground below the field I had been sowing in clover & Orchard grass, next the Hop inclosure raked of & burnt. I then sowed it up to stakes which run a cross the ground at a double Chesnut Tree with Barley and Orchard grass Seed. On the East side I sprinkled two Bushels of the plaister of Paris (powdered) and harrowed it in along with the Barley—after which the grass Seed was Sowed & harrowed with a Bush harrow. I intended to have sprinkled the same quantity of Plaister, on the West side, but Night coming on I could only get the Barley sowed & harrowed in with the Iron harrow, and the Grass seed with the Bush. The Plaister was postponed until the Morning. I intended this as an experiment (the ground being poor, & equal in quality)—first to try the effect of the Plaister & next whether spreading it on the Surface, or burying it with the Seed was most efficatious. The slipe adjoining the Fence of the hop ground was also sowed in Barley & Orchard grass Seed this day. This had been well spread with Stable & farm Yard Dung upon the Hooeing it had received previous to the Plowings.

col. syme: Charles Simms (1755–1819), son of Alexander Simms of Cecil County, Md., was lieutenant colonel of the 6th Virginia Regiment during the Revolution. Shortly before the end of the war he moved from his home near Pittsburgh to Alexandria, where he practiced law. He served in the House of Delegates from West Augusta in 1776 and in 1785–86, 1792, and 1796 he served as delegate from Fairfax County. In later years Simms was collector of the port of Alexandria and mayor of the city. He was also at this time a member of the Potowmack Company.

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