George Washington Papers

[Diary entry: 12 May 1760]

Monday May 12th. Fine Rain began in the Morning and continued by Intervals all day.

Sent Cook Jack & my Horses to get in Stephens Corn.

Black Mare was coverd again to day. Mr. Alexander sent a Mare but She refusd the Horse.

corn: Zea mays, Indian corn. GW’s principal variety was probably Virginia Gourdseed, a coarse, white dent corn with a red cob and soft and starchy kernel (SINGLETON description begins W. Ralph Singleton. “Agricultural Plants.” Agricultural History 46 (1972): 71–79. description ends , 73). He wrote Charles Carter 14 Dec. 1787 that his normal yield at that time was 2 to 2½ barrels per acre, an estimated 8 to 10 bushels. When he obtained early seed corn from the North, it was most likely to be a flint variety with white cob and a round kernel, much harder than that of the dent variety.

There were two main branches of the Alexander family in eighteenth-century Virginia, descended respectively from Robert and Philip Alexander, the two sons of John Alexander the immigrant (d. 1677). It was this John Alexander who in 1669 purchased the 6,000–acre Howsing Patent out of which the city of Alexandria was carved in 1749. In 1760 the “Robert” branch of Alexanders was represented by the brothers John Alexander (1711–1764), of Caledon, in the Chotank area of Stafford County, and Col. Gerard Alexander (d. 1761), of Alexandria, whose oldest son, Robert Alexander (d. 1793), is probably the Mr. Alexander mentioned here.

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