George Washington Papers

[Diary entry: 24 July 1786]

Monday 24th. Mercury at 70 in the Morning—80 at Noon and 77 at Night.

Wind at No. West, and day very pleasant.

After breakfast I accompanied Colo. Bland to Mr. Lund Washington’s where he entered the stage on his return home. Rid from hence to the Plantations at Dogue run & Muddy hole. At the first I found that the plows had finished the alternate rows of drilled corn on Saturday afternoon, & were then plowing the intermediate ones, which had been passed over. Examined the low, & sickly looking corn in several parts of this field, and discovered more or less of the Chinch bug on every stalk between the lower blades & it. It is highly probable that the unpromising appearance of most of my Corn, & which I had been puzled to acct. for and ascribing it to other causes may have proceeded from this, and that the calamity, especially, if a drought should follow, will be distressing to a great degree. The Hoes at this plantation will to morrow have finished the cut they had begun on the west side the field, & would go into the one adjoining. Muddy hole People were engaged in getting their wheat into stacks at the barn & threshing out what rye they had put into the Barn which amounted to 12 shocks, & yielded 18 Bush. of clean grain.

On my return home, found colo. Humphreys here and soon after a Captn. Cannon came in with a letter from Colo. Marshall, from Kentucke.

David Humphreys (1752–1818), the youngest son of Rev. Daniel and Sarah Riggs Bowers Humphreys of Connecticut, was a graduate of Yale and a poet. He distinguished himself during the Revolution by his rapid promotions and his appointment as aide-de-camp to GW. A lifelong friendship developed between Humphreys and GW, and Humphreys often visited Mount Vernon. He went abroad in 1784 to negotiate commercial treaties and returned in the spring of 1786 to Connecticut where in September he was elected to the assembly (Humphreys to GW, 24 Sept. 1786, DLC:GW). At this time he was at Mount Vernon attempting to gather information for a proposed biography of GW. He was at Mount Vernon in the winter of 1787–88, served as one of GW’s secretaries 1789–90, and in 1790 again went abroad on a series of diplomatic missions.

The letter John Canon delivered to GW was from Thomas Marshall, formerly of Fauquier County, Va., and now residing in Fayette County, Ky. GW had commissioned Marshall to procure for him the seeds of trees requested by Lafayette for use at Versailles (Marshall to GW, 19 May 1786, and GW to Lafayette, 25 July 1785, DLC:GW).

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