George Washington Papers
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[Diary entry: 2 October 1784]

2d. I set off very early from Mr. Lewis’s who accompanied me to the foot of the blew ridge at Swift run gap,1 10 Miles, where I bated and proceeded over the Mountain. Dined at a pitiful house 14 Miles further where the roads to Fredericksburgh (by Orange C[our]t House) & that to Culpeper Court House fork.2 Took the latter, tho in my judgment Culpeper Court House was too much upon my right for a direct Course. Lodged at a Widow Yearlys 12 Miles further where I was hospitably entertained.3

1Swift Run Gap, located about seven miles southeast of present-day Elkton, Va., long provided settlers and traders a convenient route across the Blue Ridge Mountains. The Virginia General Assembly authorized the building of a road through the gap in 1765 and approved its repair in 1772 and 1789 (HENING description begins William Waller Hening, ed. The Statutes at Large; Being a Collection of All the Laws of Virginia, from the First Session of the Legislature, in the Year 1619. 13 vols. 1819–23. Reprint. Charlottesville, Va., 1969. description ends , 8:152, 548, 13:82–83).

2Traveling southeast from Swift Run Gap, GW passed through the western part of Orange County (now Greene County) and then turned northeast to cross the Rapidan River into the western part of Culpeper County (now Madison County). The Orange County Court House was at the site of the present-day county seat, Orange, Va., and the Culpeper County Court House was at the site of its present-day seat, Culpeper, Va.

3widow yearlys: probably Jane Paschal Early, widow of Joseph Early (c.1740–1783) of Culpeper County, an active Baptist who served as a lieutenant in the 5th Virginia Regiment during the War of Independence. She lived with her seven children about four miles southwest of present-day Madison, Va. According to a family tradition, GW gave a watch to one of the children during his stay (EARLY description begins R. H. Early. The Family of Early Which Settled upon the Eastern Shore of Virginia and Its Connection with Other Families. Lynchburg, Va., 1920. description ends , 205–6).

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