George Washington Papers

[Diary entry: 31 August 1768]

31. Dined with Mr. Jno. Smith who was marryed yesterday to the widow Lee.

John Smith (1715–1771) of Fleets Bay plantation on Indian Creek, Northumberland County, was a second cousin to GW. He had previously been married to Mary Jaquelin (1714–1764) of Jamestown and had lived for many years at Shooter’s Hill plantation, Middlesex County. In 1767 he established a smallpox inoculation hospital at Fleets Bay, despite the fear of some Virginians that he was opening “a second Pandora’s Box,” spreading the disease instead of preventing it. In Feb. 1768 he was accused of causing two or three outbreaks of smallpox in the colony, including one in Williamsburg, by failing to quarantine his patients long enough after inoculation (William Nelson to John Norton, 14 Aug. 1767 and 27 Feb. 1768; mason [1] description begins Frances Norton Mason, ed. John Norton & Sons, Merchants of London and Virginia, Being the Papers from Their Counting House for the Years 1750 to 1795. 1937. Reprint. New York, 1968. description ends , 31–33, 38–40). But he persisted in offering his services as an inoculator until his death (Va. Gaz., R, 9 June 1768 and 20 April 1769).

the widow lee: Mary, daughter of J. Philip Smith and widow of both Jesse Ball (1716–1747) of Lancaster County and Col. John Lee (1724–1767) of Essex and Westmoreland counties. John Lee had left Mary the use, for her lifetime, of his land and slaves at Cabin Point in Westmoreland County, about 3½ miles east of Bushfield near the mouth of the Lower Machodoc Creek (indenture between John Smith and Mary Lee, 30 Aug. 1768, Westmoreland County Deeds and Wills, 1768–73, 13–15, Vi Microfilm). The newly married couple were now living at Cabin Point, and it was probably there that GW dined with Smith on this day.

Index Entries