George Washington Papers

[Diary entry: 26 April 1786]

Wednesday 26th. Left Hanover Court Ho[use] about Sun rise; breakfasted at Norvals tavern and reached Richmond about Noon. Put up at Formicalo’s Tavern, where by invitation, I dined with the Judges of the General Court.

Morning cloudy & not much wind, but between 8 and 10 Oclk. it came out fresh from the No. Wt.; and died away again about Noon.

Meeting with Mr. Thos. Newton of Norfolk, he informed me that Mr. Neil Jameeson late of that place, now a merchant in New York, was Executor of Jno. Shaw (also of Norfolk) who was possessed of the Books of Messrs. Balfour & Barraud & to whom he advised me to apply, thinking it probable that I might obtain, a list of the Ballances due to that House and thereby recover what was due to me therefrom.

norvals: probably the ordinary in Hanover County situated on the stage road about 12 miles north of Richmond. In 1787 Samuel Vaughan referred to this ordinary as “Nevils” (VAUGHAN description begins Samuel Vaughan. “Minutes Made by S. V. from Stage to Stage on a Tour to Fort Pitt or Pittsburgh in Company with Mr. Michl. Morgan Obrian, from Thence by S. V. Only through Virginia, Maryland, & Pensylvania (18 June to 4 Sept. 1787).” Manuscript diary in the collection of the descendants of Samuel Vaughan. description ends , 44).

Serafino Formicola (Formiculo, Formicalo, Formicula), reputedly a “Neapolitan who came to Virginia with Lord Dunmore, as the latter’s maitre d’hotel,” moved his tavern business from Williamsburg to Richmond in 1780, where the next year he “opened tavern” on the southeast corner of Main and Fifteenth streets, and where, during assembly days, “Generals, Colonels, Captains, Senators, Assembly-men, Judges, Doctors, Clerks, and crowds of Gentlemen, of every weight and calibre and every hue of dress, sat all together about the fire, drinking, smoking, singing, and talking” (CHASTELLUX description begins Marquis de Chastellux. Travels in North America in the Years 1780, 1781 and 1782. Translated and edited by Howard C. Rice, Jr. 2 vols. Chapel Hill, N.C., 1963. description ends , 2:428; Va. Gaz., D&N, 24 Feb. 1781; HEADS OF FAMILIES, VA. description begins Heads of Families at the First Census of the United States Taken in the Year 1790: Virginia; Records of the State Enumerations, 1782 to 1785. 1908. Reprint. Baltimore, 1970. description ends , 118; SCHOEPF description begins Johann David Schoepf. Travels in the Confederation [1783–1784]. Translated and edited by Alfred J. Morrison. 2 vols. Philadelphia, 1911. description ends , 2:64). Later in the decade Formicola moved to the Eagle Tavern at Main and Twelfth streets (DUMBAULD description begins Edward Dumbauld. Thomas Jefferson, American Tourist: Being an Account of His Journeys in the United States of America, England, France, Italy, the Low Countries, and Germany. Norman, Okla., 1946. description ends , 46).

Thomas Newton, Jr., a merchant, dealt with GW’s flour and acted as GW’s agent in Norfolk. This meeting was probably prearranged (see GW to Thomas Newton, Jr., 3 Sept. 1785, GW to Neil Jamieson, 20 May 1786, DLC:GW). Neil Jamieson, earlier one of the leading merchants in Norfolk, fled Virginia during the Revolution (SOLTOW description begins James H. Soltow. The Economic Role of Williamsburg. Williamsburg, Va., 1965. description ends , 89–94). In 1793 GW recorded what was due him from Balfour & Barraud as £1,768 17s. (LEDGER C description begins Manuscript Ledger in Morristown National Historical Park, Morristown, N.J. description ends , 3). Before the Revolution, GW had sold flour to James Balfour (d. 1775) and Daniel Barraud, merchants of Norfolk (Va. Gaz., P, 14 April, 14 July, 25 Aug. 1775; and see 4 Jan. 1775).

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