George Washington Papers

[Diary entry: 8 April 1760]

Tuesday April 8th. What time it began Raining in the Night I cant say, but at day break it was pouring very hard, and continued so, till 7 oclock when a Messenger came to inform me that my Mill was in great danger of blowing. I immediately hurried off all hands with Shovels &ca. to her assistance and got there myself just time enough to give her a reprieve for this time by Wheeling dirt into the place which the Water had Washd.

While I was here a very heavy Thunder Shower came on which lasted upwards of an hour.

Here also, I tried what time the Mill requird to grind a Bushel of Corn and to my Surprize found She was within 5 Minutes of an hour about. This old Anthony attributed to the low head of Water (but Whether it was so or not I cant say—her Works all decayd and out of Order wch. I rather take to be the cause).

This Bushel of Corn when Ground measurd near a Peck more Meal.

No. Et. Wind and Cloudy all day. Towards Night it dripd of Rain.

The mill was probably a small, one- or two-story wooden structure with an overshot or breast wheel and a single set of grinding stones. GW’s assessment of the mill’s machinery must have been correct, but Anthony recognized an equally important problem. The head of water was not high enough to generate much force when the water fell on the wheel, and without more power, better machinery could not be used to its full capacity. Some work was done on the millrace by Hosea Bazell during the late summer, but any improvement made in the head of water was probably minimal (General Ledger A description begins General Ledger A, 1750–1772. Library of Congress, George Washington Papers, Series 5, Financial Papers. description ends , folio 102). Jerry Mitchell apparently confined his efforts this year to rebuilding the mill’s internal works.

The slave carpenter Anthony was in his middle fifties when he was brought to Mount Vernon in 1759 as part of Martha Custis’s dower. GW made him his miller but the next year reassigned him to the crew of carpenters, where by 1762 he had become head slave carpenter. After 1763 Anthony disappears from GW’s tithable lists.

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