George Washington Papers

[Diary entry: 6 November 1789]

Friday 6th. A little after Seven oclock, under great appearances of Rain or Snow, we left Watertown, and Passing through Needham (five Miles therefrom) breakfasted at Sherburn which is 14 Miles from the former. Then passing through Holliston 5 Miles, Milford 6 More, Menden 4 More, and Uxbridge 6 More, we lodged at one Tafts 1 Miles further;1 the whole distance of this days travel being 36 Miles. From Watertown till you get near Needham, the Road is very level—about Needham it is hilly—then level again, and the whole pleasant and well cultivated ’till you pass Sherburn; between this and Holliston is some Hilly & Rocky ground as there is in places, onwards to Uxbridge; some of wch. are very bad; Upon the whole it may be called an indifferent Rd.—deversified by good & bad land—cultivated and in woods—some high and Barren and others low, wet and Piney. Grass and Indian Corn is the chief produce of the Farms. Rye composes a part of the culture of them, but wheat is not grown on Acct. of the blight. The Roads in every part of this State are amazingly crooked, to suit the convenience of every Mans fields; & the directions you receive from the People equally blind & ignorant; for instead of going to Watertown from Lexington, if we had proceeded to Waltham we should in 13 Miles have saved at least Six; the distance from Lexington to Waltham being only 5 Miles and the Road from Watertown to Sherburn going within less than two miles of the latter (i.e. Waltham). The Clouds of the Morning vanished before the Meridian Sun, and the Afternoon was bright and pleasant. The House in Uxbridge had a good external appearance (for a Tavern) but the owner of it being from home, and the wife sick, we could not gain admittance which was the reason of my coming on to Tafts; where, though the people were obliging, the entertainment was not very inviting.

1GW apparently found these accommodations adequate. On 8 Nov. he wrote Samuel Taft: “Being informed that you have given my name to one of your Sons, and called another after Mrs. Washington’s family. And being moreover very much pleased with the modest and innocent looks of your two daughters Patty and Polly I do, for these reasons, send each of these Girls a piece of chintz. And to Patty, who bears the name of Mrs. Washington, and who waited more upon us than Polly did, I send five guineas, with which she may buy herself any little ornaments she may want, or she may dispose of them in any other manner more agreeable to herself. As I do not give these things with a view to have it talked of, or even to its being known, the less there is said about the matter the better you will please me; but that I may be sure the chintz and money have got safe to hand, let Patty, who I dare say is equal to it, write me a line informing me thereof directed to ‘The President of the United States at New York’” (DLC:GW). Patty, whose given name was Mercy rather than Martha, acknowledged the gifts in a letter to GW, 28 Dec. 1789 (DLC:GW).

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