George Washington Papers

[Diary entry: 19 February 1760]

Tuesday Feby. 19th. Went to Court, and Administerd upon Nations Effects. Got Mr. Smiths Lease to me recorded and Mr. Johnston not having Darrels Deeds ready I was obligd to get the acknowledging of them postpond.

Recd. a Letter from my Brothr. Austin by Mr. Lane & answerd it.

Fine moderate day with a brisk Southerly Wind which brought up the Vessell with my Corn.

Mike and Tom began sawing in the Pit some considerable time after Sun rise and Cut 122 feet of Oak Scantling.

GW’s first expansion of the Mount Vernon property occurred in Dec. 1757, when he bought two pieces of land on the plantation’s northern boundary from Sampson Darrell (d. 1777) of Fairfax County: a tract of 200 acres on Dogue Run and an adjoining tract of 300 acres on Little Hunting Creek. The total price of these two tracts was £350, which GW paid with £260 in cash and a bond for £90 due in two years, and in return he received Darrell’s bond guaranteeing him title to the land (LEDGER A description begins Manuscript Ledger Book 1, 1750-72, in George Washington Papers, Library of Congress. description ends , 49; bond of Darrell to GW, 20 Dec. 1757, ViMtvL). But the official deeds were not immediately signed and recorded in court because the property was held under right of dower by Darrell’s mother, Ann, for her lifetime; only after her death would it revert to Darrell as a surviving son. Thus, although GW owned Darrell’s rights to the land, he could not obtain the deeds until Ann died or rented the land to him. GW did not have to await her death, because on 20 Sept. 1759 he signed a lease with her and her present husband, Thomas Smith (d. 1764) of Fairfax County, agreeing thereby to pay them 1,000 pounds of tobacco and cask a year until Ann died (lease of Thomas and Ann Smith to GW, 20 Sept. 1759, PHi: Gratz Collection; LEDGER A description begins Manuscript Ledger Book 1, 1750-72, in George Washington Papers, Library of Congress. description ends , 111). Having recorded the lease on this day, GW was eager to get and record Darrell’s deeds, but he was obliged to wait for the May court session (deeds of Darrell to GW, 19–20 May 1760, Fairfax County Deeds, Book D–1, 681–92, Vi Microfilm).

Augustine Washington (1720–1762), half brother of GW by his father’s first wife, Jane Butler, married Anne Aylett (d. 1773) and lived at Pope’s Creek in Westmoreland County. GW usually called him “Austin.” Mr. Lane was probably one of the three sons of William Lane (1690–1760) of Nomini Forest, Westmoreland County: James Lane (d. 1777), William Carr Lane (d. 1770), and Joseph Lane (d. 1796).

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