George Washington Papers

[Diary entry: 22 March 1770]

22. Rid to the Mill and laid of with the Millwright the foundation for the New Mill House. Upon my return found Captn. Crawford here.

The site selected for the new mill was about one-third of a mile down Dogue Run, on the opposite bank, from the old mill. There, as planned, the tidal waters of the navigable portion of the stream, Dogue Creek, would flow up to the tailrace, enabling flat-bottom boats to deliver grain to the mill’s door, from whence it would be “hoisted . . . to the garners above” (advertisement, 1 Feb. 1796, writings description begins John C. Fitzpatrick, ed. The Writings of George Washington from the Original Manuscript Sources, 1745–1799. 39 vols. Washington, D.C., 1931–44. description ends , 34:433–41). The same boats would carry flour down to the mouth of the creek, where a brig or schooner would take the cargo aboard and transport it to the markets at Alexandria, Norfolk, or elsewhere. The site of the new mill was also convenient for land traffic, because the road from Gum Spring to Colchester passed between it and the edge of the creek, being only a few feet from both. The foundations of the building, as laid off on this day, measured roughly 40 by 50 feet (burson description begins R. E. Burson. “A Report of the Findings of Mr. R. E. Burson on the George Washington Grist Mill, Situated on Dogue Run Creek, Mount Vernon, Va.” Mimeographed Report. Richmond, 1932. description ends , blueprint no. 2). When finished, the mill would be 2½ stories high, equipped with a breast wheel 16 feet in diameter and two sets of millstones, one to be used exclusively for merchant work and the other for custom work, that is, grinding local farmers’ grain in return for one-eighth of the amount brought in, the legal toll at this time (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 , 6:58). This custom business would be still another source of income provided by the new mill.

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