George Washington Papers

[Diary entry: 12 August 1786]

Saturday 12th. Mercury at 72 in the Morning—79 at Noon and 74 at Night.

Warm, with a tolerably bri[s]k Southerly wind all day.

Mr. Barnes went away before Breakfast.

After which I rid to my Meadow in order to mark out a middle ditch, and to try how much the water within the Meadow is above the water in the run below where the two courses of it unite, below the old Mill Seat, and which is found to be nearly 3 feet; estimating between the Surfaces of the two. It also appears that the Meadow, just by where a breach is made in the dam, is as low as any part in it reckoning from the Surface of the water (from the bottom of the bed of the run would undou[b]tedly be deeper) and that from this place to the Surface of the run at a turn of it by a spreading spanish bush the rise is about 14 Inches.

Thomas McCarty left this yesterday—it being found that he was unfit for a Household Steward.

Richard Burnet took his place on the wages of Thirty pounds pr. ann.

Richard Burnet, whose tenure at Mount Vernon began in 1783, was a “House keeper,” or steward. He lived in Benjamin Dulany’s family before coming into GW’s employ (Lund Washington to GW, 12 Mar. 1783, ViMtvL). Lund described him as “clever in his Way, he is a very good Natured Peacable inoffensive well behaved man, and so far as we have been able to judge, will answer the purpose for which he was got, he certainly is a good cook, he appears to be careful active & Industrious, with respect to preservg., Pickling &c.—he is at no loss, but does these things very Ready & Well” (Lund Washington to GW, 1 Oct. 1783, ViMtvL). He seems to have left Mount Vernon briefly early in 1786 and returned in May (see entry for 29 May 1786). He is probably the same man who worked as butler or house steward at Mount Vernon from 1786 until 1789 under the name of Richard Burnet Walker (LEDGER B description begins General Ledger B, 1772–1793. Library of Congress, George Washington Papers, Series 5, Financial Papers. description ends , 234). Walker may have been married to John Alton’s daughter Ann.

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