George Washington Papers

[Diary entry: 13 October 1773]

13. Mr. Beal went away after Breakfast. I continued at home all day. In the Afternoon Mr. Willis & my Brother Charles came. As also Mr. Baker Surgeon Dentist.

Mr. Willis may be Lewis Willis (1734-1813) of Willis Hill near Fredericksburg, who was the son of GW’s aunt Mildred Washington Lewis. He and Charles Washington, who was also currently residing in Fredericksburg, had served together as trustees of that town, and both men had been elected vestrymen of St. George’s Parish in Spotsylvania County, Virginia. Lewis Willis, like GW, had previously been elected a member of the Fredericksburg Lodge. Mr. Baker is Dr. John Baker (d. 1796), a Williamsburg surgeon dentist. Baker, who had a medical degree, was a native of England but had practiced in several countries before coming to America before 1767. One of the first qualified dentists to practice in the colonies, he settled in Williamsburg in 1772 but moved to Philadelphia during the Revolution. GW had consulted him as early as April 1772 for help in solving what were to become his perennial dental problems and used his services on other occasions, both in Williamsburg and later in Philadelphia (FAGGART description begins Harold L. Faggart. “A Recently Discovered Second Letter from George Washington to John Baker.” Journal of the American Dental Association 59 (1959): 549–51. description ends , 551). Baker made short trips throughout the colonies, offering his services to the residents of the principal cities. On this trip to Mount Vernon, he stayed several days and charged GW £5 (General Ledger B description begins General Ledger B, 1772–1793. Library of Congress, George Washington Papers, Series 5, Financial Papers. description ends , folio 93).

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