George Washington Papers
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[Diary entry: 2 February 1788]

Saturday 2d. Thermometer at 32 in the Morning—42 at Noon and 42 at Night. Wind Southerly, & day moderate.

Visited my Ferry, Frenchs & Dogue run Plantations.

At all, the same work as usual, except that the Dogue run Women were employed in pulling up a cross fence in the Meadow by the Overseers house—being the 2d. cross fence in this Meadw.

Set the home house gang to cording the Wood which had been cut for Bricks.

Began with a pair of Sawyers, this day, to cut the flooring planks for a Barn, proposed to be built between the Ferry & French’s Plantations of 2 Inch Oak.

Doctr. Craik came down to visit Mathew Baldridge but returned before dinner.

My Nephew Geo. Steptoe Washington came here this Evening to proceed to Lancaster to visit his Brother Ferdinando Washington who lay dangerously ill of a Consumption.

The barn was to be a two-story brick structure built according to a plan obtained from Arthur Young the previous year, but with some changes by GW to adapt it to his particular needs. Jacques (Jean) Pierre Brissot de Warville, a French visitor who saw GW’s new barn in an advanced stage of construction later this year, described it as “a huge one . . . about one hundred feet long and of an even greater width, which was to store all his grain, potatoes, turnips, etc. [from Ferry and French’s plantations]. Around it he had also built stables for all his cattle, horses, and donkeys [on those two plantations]. . . . The barn is so well planned that a man can fill the racks with hay or potatoes easily and without any danger.” Because most of the building materials came from Mount Vernon, the cost of the whole undertaking, GW told Brissot, “amounted to no more than £300.” The barn and barnyard, Brissot noted, “were innovations in Virginia, where they have no barns and do not store fodder for cattle” (BRISSOT description begins J. P. Brissot de Warville. New Travels in the United States of America, 1788. Translated by Mara Soceanu Vamos and Durand Echeverria. Edited by Durand Echeverria. Cambridge, Mass., 1964. description ends , 343; SCHOEPF description begins Johann David Schoepf. Travels in the Confederation [1783–1784]. Translated and edited by Alfred J. Morrison. 2 vols. Philadelphia, 1911. description ends , 2:48). GW wrote Young 4 Dec. 1788 that he believed his barn to be “the largest and most convenient one in this Country” (DLC:GW).

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