George Washington Papers

[Diary entry: 4 April 1760]

Friday Apl. 4th. Sowd abt. one Bushl. of Barley in a piece of Ground near the Tobo. House in the 12 Acre Field.

Harrowd, & crossd Harrowd the Ground in the sd. Field intended for Lucerne.

Apprehending the Herrings were come Hauled the Sein but catchd only a few of them tho a good many of other sorts. Majr. Stewart and Doctr. Johnston came here in the Afternoon and at Night Mr. Richie attended by Mr. Ross solliciting Freight—promisd none.

bushl. of barley: Hordeum vulgare, barley. Here GW is sowing spring barley, but his common practice is to use the winter variety (see entry for 2 Sept. 1763). “I tried it [spring barley] two or three years unsuccessfully” (GW to William Pearce, 23 Mar. 1794, NBLiHi). Elsewhere he mentions summer barley, Minorca barley, and English barley. For naked barley, see entry for 3 May 1788, and for bere barley, see entry for 10 April 1787.

Herring came up the rivers of tidewater Virginia and Maryland every spring to spawn near the falls (VOYAGE description begins “Narrative of a Voyage to Maryland, 1705–1706.” American Historical Review 12 (1906–7): 327–40. description ends , 335). On 15 Mar. 1760 Cary & Co. of London sent GW an invoice listing two new fish seines which were described as being “35 fathoms long each, each 20 feet deep all through, made of the best 3 thd. laid twine, small Inch Meshes, hung loose on the lines & well fixd with Leads & Corks” (DLC:GW). Those seines, however, probably did not arrive in time to be of much use to GW during this fishing season.

Robert Stewart entered the Virginia Regiment in 1754. He was soon made captain and was with GW at Braddock’s Defeat, becoming one of GW’s favorite officers. In the fall of 1758 he became brigade major of the Virginia troops on GW’s recommendation, and in 1760 he was still in the service, stationed at Winchester. Dr. Johnston is probably Robert Johnston (Johnson), originally of James City County, who served as the surgeon in both GW’s and Col. William Byrd’s Virginia Regiments; he may have been attending the Virginia troops in Winchester at this time. Johnston, who voted for GW in the lively 1758 burgesses’ election in Frederick County, died in Frederick County in 1769 (CROZIER [1] description begins William Armstrong Crozier, ed. Virginia Colonial Militia, 1651–1776. Baltimore, 1954. description ends , 40; election poll for Frederick County, 24 July 1758, DLC:GW).

Archibald Ritchie (d. 1784) was a Scottish merchant in Hobbs Hole (Tappahannock, on the Rappahannock River, Essex County). Hector Ross, a merchant at Colchester, Fairfax County, bought tobacco and Indian corn from GW, and his establishment, in turn, served as a local store of convenience for clothing and minor necessities for GW’s white servants, his tenants, and his slaves.

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