George Washington Papers

[Diary entry: 9 May 1785]

Monday 9th. Mercury at 60 in the Morning—[ ] at Noon and 70 at Night.

Clear & warm—But little Wind & that Southerly.

Rid to my Muddy hole & Dogue run Plantations and from the latter to the fishing Landing at the Ferry.

Perceived the Orchard grass seeds which had been sown on the Wheat at Muddy hole were coming up tolerably well—but could not discover that the Wheat had derived any benefit from the Plaister of Paris which had been sprinkled thereon—or from the rolling.

Mathew Baldridge who had been engaged for me by Mr. John Rumney, as a Joiner, and sent over in his Brig the Caesar, Captn. Atkinson, and who arrived here yesterday, set in to work today.

The blossom of the Crab tree is unfolding, & shedding its fragrant perfume. That of the black Haw, had been out some days; and is an ornamental flower being in large clusters, tho’ individually small upon single foot stems. They are white with a yellowish cast. The flower of the small berry thorn is also good looking—the tree being full of blossoms, which is not much unlike the blossom of the apple tree, but quite white.

On 3 July 1784 GW wrote John Rumney, Jr., who was going to England, to say that he, “being in want of a House Joiner & Bricklayer . . . would thank Mr. Rumney for enquiring into the terms upon which such workmen could be engaged for two or three years . . . Bed, board & tools to be found by the Employer, cloaths by the Employed.” GW added that “rather than encounter delay [he] would be obliged to Mr. Rumney for entering into proper articles of agreement on his [GW’s] behalf with them, & for sending them out by the Vessel to this port” (DLC:GW). The articles of agreement with Mathew Baldridge, a joiner, were signed for three years (bill from Peter How Younger, 8 Jan. 1785, DLC:GW). GW paid Baldridge £25 sterling for the first two years and £31 10s. for the third year (General Ledger B description begins General Ledger B, 1772–1793. Library of Congress, George Washington Papers, Series 5, Financial Papers. description ends , folio 249). He seems to have left Mount Vernon after this three-year period.

John Rumney, Jr. (1746–1808), was a partner in the English mercantile firm of Robinson, Sanderson & Rumney, which had a store in Alexandria in the 1780s and early 1790s. In addition to his request for a joiner and a bricklayer, GW asked Rumney to make inquiries regarding flagstones for the piazza at Mount Vernon (GW to Rumney, 3 July 1784, DLC:GW). Rumney’s search for a bricklayer was unsuccessful, but he did contract for the flagstones to be delivered to GW. Later, Rumney moved to Geneva, N.Y., where he lived until his death (BROCKETT description begins F. L. Brockett. The Lodge of Washington. A History of the Alexandria Washington Lodge, No. 22, A.F. and A.M. of Alexandria, Va., 1783-1876. Alexandria, Va., 1876. description ends , 107–8). Rumney may have been a brother of Dr. William Rumney.

The brig Cesar, Capt. J. Atkinson, had stopped at the Mount Vernon wharf on its way to Alexandria, where it arrived by 12 May. The brig brought European goods for sale by Robinson, Sanderson & Rumney (Va. Journal, 12 May, 26 May 1785).

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