George Washington Papers

[Diary entry: 8 February 1770]

8. Captn. McCarty, Doctr. Rumney and Mr. Jno. Ballendine Dined and lodged here.

Ballendine, having been forced by financial difficulties to transfer his Occoquan mills and iron furnace to John Semple, had since 1765 established another commercial complex farther up the Potomac River at Little Falls. At this time it consisted of merchant mills capable of grinding 50,000 bushels of wheat a year, a bakery with three ovens, a landing for large vessels complete with granaries and countinghouses, and a “public house, well finished, with 10 fire places, good cellars, and . . . a fine French cook.” In addition, he was currently building another gristmill and a sawmill and had the rights to 40 lots in the town of Philee, which was planned for the area (Va. Gaz., R, 29 Nov. 1770). Financial troubles, however, were again plaguing him. His debts were great, and his many creditors were beginning to press him. Nevertheless, like Semple, he was, and until 1775 would remain, a leading promoter of the Potomac navigation scheme.

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