George Washington Papers

[Diary entry: 5 May 1786]

Friday 5th. Thermometer at 62 in the Morning—67 at Noon and 63 at Night.

The Morning mild and agreeable, as indeed it was through the day till towards evining, when it began to lower pretty much: a large & distinct circle round the Sun before noon & lasted a gd. while.

Set out early from Abingdon, and beginning at the upper corner of my Land (in 4 Miles run) a little below an old Mill; I ran the Tract agreeably to the courses & distances of a Plat made thereof by John Hough, in the year 1766 (Novr.) in presence of Colo. Carlyle & Mr. James Mercer. Not havg. Hough’s field Notes, & no Corner trees being noted in His Plat, I did not attempt to look for lines; but allowing one degree for the variation of Compass since the Survey, above mentioned, was made, I run the courses and distances only; & was unable for want of time, to do more than run the lines that brot. me to the run again; the Meanders of wch. must be run at some other time in order to ascertain with precision the quantity of Land which is contained. Upon the whole I found this tract fully equal to my expectations. The whole of it is well wooded—some part is pretty well timbered; and generally speaking, it is level. About the main road, on the South side of the tract, trespasses (on the wood) had been made, but in a less degree than I expected to find and as I run the lines, as set down by Hough, with the variation; I run into the field lately Colo. Carlyle’s (now Whitings) so far as to cut off 12 or 15 acres of his inclosure; & made the plat close very well to the run.

Returned at Night to Abingdon being attended in the labours of the day, by Doctr. Stuart.

For background on this land, see entries for 27 Jan. 1775 and 21 and 22 April 1785.

Hough had surveyed the two tracts of land for James Mercer. There were several John Houghs of Loudoun County, and this seems to have been the John Hough who died in 1797. He was probably the one who lived on the Vestal’s Gap Road and in 1772 was appointed a trustee for keeping the main roads to Vestal’s and Williams’ gaps in repair (HARRISON [1] description begins Fairfax Harrison. Landmarks of Old Prince William: A Study of Origins in Northern Virginia. Berryville, Va., 1964. description ends , 562, 576). The surveyor and one of the original trustees for the town of Leesburg was John Hough, probably the same man (HENING description begins William Waller Hening, ed. The Statutes at Large; Being a Collection of All the Laws of Virginia, from the First Session of the Legislature, in the Year 1619. 13 vols. 1819–23. Reprint. Charlottesville, Va., 1969. description ends , 7:235; STEADMAN description begins Melvin Lee Steadman, Jr. Historic Leesburg, Virginia: A Walking Tour. Leesburg, Va., 1967. description ends ). He was also a collector of quitrents for the Northern Neck proprietary from 1764 through most of the Revolution (DLC: Toner Collection).

presence of colo. carlyle & mr. james mercer: That is, they were present during the 1766 survey. Col. John Carlyle owned adjoining land. His “field” was inherited by his grandson, Carlyle Fairfax Whiting (1778–1831), in 1784 (STETSON [1] description begins Charles W. Stetson. Four Mile Run Land Grants. Washington, D.C., 1935. description ends , 55; WMQ description begins The William and Mary Quarterly: A Magazine of Early American History. Williamsburg, Va. description ends , 18 [1910], 286).

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