George Washington Papers

[Diary entry: 3 May 1769]

3. Went into Williamsburg and dined with the Council & spent the Evening in the Daphne.

The Daphne was a room in the Raleigh Tavern, on Duke of Gloucester Street about half a block from the Capitol. Owned at this time by Anthony Hay (d. 1770), a former cabinetmaker, the Raleigh was a center of social, political, and business activities in Williamsburg. Public auctions were often held in front of it, and many important meetings and fashionable balls took place inside its elegant rooms (raleigh tavern description begins Colonial Williamsburg. The Raleigh Tavern. Williamsburg, Va., 1934. description ends , 7–10). While GW was at the Raleigh on this date, he bought subscriptions to three Williamsburg purse races from Hay (ledger a description begins Manuscript Ledger Book 1, 1750-72, in George Washington Papers, Library of Congress. description ends , 290). “There are races at Williamsburgh twice a year,” a visitor to the town about this time observed, “that is, every spring and fall, or autumn. Adjoining to the town is a very excellent course, for either two, three or four mile heats. Their purses are generally raised by subscription, and are gained by the horse that wins two four-mile heats out of three; they amount to an hundred pounds each for the first day’s running, and fifty each day after; the races commonly continuing for a week” (smyth description begins J. F. D. Smyth. A Tour in the United States of America: containing An Account of the Present Situation of that Country; The Population, Agriculture, Commerce, Customs, and Manners of the Inhabitants; Anecdotes of several Members of the Congress, and General Officers in the American Army; and Many other very singular and interesting Occurrences . . .. 2 vols. London, 1784. description ends , 1:17–19).

GW also amused himself frequently at the card table during this visit to Williamsburg, winning £4 17s. 6d. this day but losing £1 the next (ledger a description begins Manuscript Ledger Book 1, 1750-72, in George Washington Papers, Library of Congress. description ends , 290). He did not lodge at the Raleigh but stayed as usual at Mrs. Campbell’s place (ledger a description begins Manuscript Ledger Book 1, 1750-72, in George Washington Papers, Library of Congress. description ends , 291).

Index Entries