George Washington Papers

[Diary entry: 29 March 1786]

Wednesday 29th. Thermometer at 48 in the Morning—60 at Noon and 62 at Night.

Lowering in the forenoon, and sometimes dropping Rain—clear afterwards—Wind Southerly all day and at times fresh.

Finished crossing the ground at Muddy hole plantation, intended for experiments.

Began to plow a piece of grd. in the Neck for Burnet, Saintfoin and Rib grass, in front of the overseers house.

Rid to all my Plantations and to the fish house at the ferry where my Carpenters were at work. In the afternoon a Mr. Brindley, manager of the Susquehanna canal and Mr. Hanes manager of the James River Navigation came in and stayed all night.

rib grass: Plantago lanceolata, plantain or ribwort. Arthur Young said he had long recommended it as a forage crop (ANNALS description begins Arthur Young, ed. Annals of Agriculture & Other Useful Arts. 46 vols. London, 1784–1815. description ends , 6:47), but it is now a common weed in grasslands.

James Brindley was a nephew of James Brindley (1716–1772), the talented Englishman who had initiated the dry-land canal era in England in the 1760s under the auspices of the duke of Bridgewater. Coming from the Susquehanna canal works Brindley and Harris “took the great Falls in their way down, & both approve of the present line for our Canal,” wrote GW to John Fitzgerald and George Gilpin, adding, “no person in this country has more practical knowledge than Mr. Brindley” (31 Mar. 1786, DLC:GW). Brindley was on his way to Richmond to consult and advise on the James River project and GW hoped he would do the same for the Potomac project on his way back to the Susquehanna.

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