George Washington Papers

[Diary entry: 6 January 1760]

Sunday Jany. 6th. The Chariot not returng. time enought from Colo. Fairfax’s we were prevented from Church.

Mrs. Washington was a good deal better today, but the Oyster Man still continuing his Disorderly behaviour at my Landing I was obligd in the most preemptory manner to order him and his Compy. away which he did not Incline to obey till next morning.

In colonial Virginia the established church—paid for by an annual levy on all tithables—was the Anglican Church of England. By 1760 there were a number of Methodists, Baptists, Presbyterians, Quakers, and German Pietists in Virginia; but GW, like the majority of Virginians, still adhered to the established church. Each Anglican parish was administered by a 12–man vestry elected by the voters upon the creation of the new parish by the Virginia Assembly. Subsequent vacancies were filled by the vestry itself, which had broad civil and religious duties within the parish boundaries and enjoyed great power in the choice of rector. The parish boundaries did not always follow county lines; while populous counties were served by two or even three parishes, more thinly settled counties often had but one. Mount Vernon was in Truro Parish, which in 1760 served all but the upper edge of Fairfax County. In the 1760s “Church” for GW was the old wooden Pohick Church, built sometime before 1724 in Mason’s Neck, two miles up the road from Colchester toward Alexandria and about a seven-mile ride from Mount Vernon. Originally called Occoquan Church, it became the main church for Truro Parish when that parish was formed in 1732 and was renamed Pohick Church the following year (see HARRISON [1] description begins Fairfax Harrison. Landmarks of Old Prince William: A Study of Origins in Northern Virginia. Berryville, Va., 1964. description ends , 285–86; SLAUGHTER [1] description begins Philip Slaughter. The History of Truro Parish in Virginia. Edited by Edward L. Goodwin. Philadelphia, 1908. description ends , 5; FREEMAN description begins Douglas Southall Freeman. George Washington: A Biography. 7 vols. New York, 1948–57. description ends , 1:136–37).

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