George Washington Papers

[Diary entry: 2 May 1785]

Monday—2d. Mercury at 54 in the Morning—56 at Noon and 56 at Night. Received and accepted an invitation to dine with the Sons of Saint Taminy, at Mr. Andersons Tavern, and accordingly did so at 3 Oclock.

About Noon, having Assembled a sufficient number of the Proprietors of the Swamp, we proceeded to business in the Senate Chamber; & continued thereon till dinner, when we adjourned till nine Oclock next day.

Raw & cold Easterly Wind the whole day. Towards evening it turned very cloudy & very like Rain & became quite cold.

The Sons of St. Tammany, a democratic society opposing aristocracy and privilege, was named for a seventeenth-century Delaware chief supposed to have befriended the whites. The first society was formed in 1772 in Philadelphia, as the Sons of King Tammany, a Loyalist group, but shortly afterwards, as political attitudes changed, the name was changed to the Sons of St. Tammany. After the Revolution, the number of societies in various cities greatly increased. The first of May was normally the day celebrated in St. Tammany’s honor, but in 1785 the first of May fell on Sunday, thus postponing the celebration by a day.

Anderson’s tavern was commonly used for civic meetings until it burned in 1787. It may have been opened by Robert Anderson (d. 1784), who operated a tavern in Williamsburg in the 1770s (MARSHALL [2] description begins Herbert A. Johnson et al., eds. The Papers of John Marshall. 12 vols. Chapel Hill, N.C., 1974–2006. description ends , 1:140; GIBBS description begins Patricia Ann Gibbs. “Taverns in Tidewater Virginia, 1700–1774.” Master’s thesis, College of William and Mary, 1968. description ends , 145–47).

proceeded to business: At this meeting of the proprietors of the Dismal Swamp Company, there was a discussion of proposals for procuring a large number of laborers from Holland or Germany and for obtaining a large foreign loan to aid in the work of draining the swamp (GW to Jean de Neufville, 8 Sept. 1785, GW to John Page, 3 Oct. 1785, DLC:GW; NORFLEET [2] description begins Fillmore Norfleet. Suffolk in Virginia, c.1795–1840: A Record of Lots, Lives, and Likenesses. Richmond, 1974. description ends , 115; see also editorial note for 15 Oct. 1763).

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