George Washington Papers

[Diary entry: 19 August 1768]

19. At home—settled & paid the Sheriff.

Once a year the justices of each county would submit the names of three of their number to the governor and council, who would choose one of the three to be sheriff for the ensuing year. The Virginia county sheriff was more an administrator than a law officer, having the major responsibility for running elections, serving summonses, and collecting the annual levies in his county, which included those laid by the county and the parishes within the county as well as public levies set for the entire colony by the General Assembly. Much of this collecting was done by sub-sheriffs; in 1768 Sampson Darrell was sheriff of Fairfax County and Pierce Bayly was the sub-sheriff who appears here to collect the balance owed by GW for this year, £1 15s. 3d. (ledger a description begins Manuscript Ledger Book 1, 1750-72, in George Washington Papers, Library of Congress. description ends , 277).

For the Fairfax County levy this year GW paid for 85 tithables at 14 pounds of tobacco each. Sixty-seven of these tithables lived in Truro Parish and thus came under that parish’s levy of 41 pounds of tobacco per tithable. GW also paid the public tax of £1 10s. on his chariot and his chair as well as some minor fees he owed for government services. The total of the levies paid by GW in 1768 was 3,937 pounds of tobacco and £3 14s. 4d. cash. Because GW no longer grew tobacco at Mount Vernon, he paid his tobacco levies in local tobacco warehouse, or transfer, notes, mostly on tobacco paid him by his local Mount Vernon renters. With tobacco worth 2d. a pound, these notes were equivalent to £32 16s. 2d. in currency (ledger a description begins Manuscript Ledger Book 1, 1750-72, in George Washington Papers, Library of Congress. description ends , 236; Truro Vestry Book, 128, 130, DLC. See also flippin description begins Percy Scott Flippin. The Royal Government in Virginia, 1624-1775. New York, 1919. description ends , 312–17; sydnor description begins Charles S. Sydnor. American Revolutionaries in the Making: Political Practices in Washington’s Virginia. 1952. Reprint. New York, 1965. description ends , 68–70, 78; hening description begins William Waller Hening, ed. The Statutes at Large; Being a Collection of All the Laws of Virginia, from the First Session of the Legislature, in the Year 1619. 13 vols. 1819–23. Reprint. Charlottesville, Va., 1969. description ends , 7:643–44).

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