George Washington Papers

[Diary entry: 12 March 1785]

Saturday 12th. Mercury at 34 in the morning, 38 at Noon & 44 at Night.

Day clear and pleasant until about 5 oclock, when it began to lower, and the Sun set in a bank.

Wind Southerly all day. After dark it shifted to the No. Et. blew pretty fresh and grew colder.

Went to Abingden to see Mr. John Lewis who lay sick there. Returned in the Afternoon and brot. Betcy Custis home with me.

Planted two Hemlock trees in a line with the East end of my Kitchen, & Servants Hall; & 10 feet from the corner of the Post & rail fence at each.

Had a Bushel of the Plaister of Paris (which my people had been pounding) sifted & Weighed—which, in this State, amounted to 82 lbs.

Laid the borders of the gravel walk to the No. Necessary—from the circle in the Court yard.

Abingdon, the home of Jacky Custis’s widow, Nelly, and her second husband, David Stuart, was situated on the Potomac River just north of Four Mile Run. Jacky and Nelly Custis, who had lived at the Custis White House on Pamunkey River after their marriage, had both wanted to return to the Mount Vernon—Mount Airy neighborhood. In 1778 Jacky bought this house and about 900 acres of land from Robert Alexander, agreeing to pay him £12 per acre, the principal and compound interest to be paid in 24 years. GW was horrified at this latest example of his stepson’s fecklessness and reminded him that “£12,000 at compound Interest, [amounts] to upwards of £48,000 in twenty four Years. . . . No Virginia estate . . . can stand simple Interest; how then can they bear compound Interest”? (GW to John Parke Custis, 3 Aug. 1778, DLC:GW). The Stuarts lived at Abingdon until about 1792 (STETSON [1] description begins Charles W. Stetson. Four Mile Run Land Grants. Washington, D.C., 1935. description ends , 24–27; STETSON [2] description begins Charles W. Stetson. Washington and His Neighbors. Richmond, Va., 1956. description ends , 78–79).

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