George Washington Papers

[Diary entry: 31 August 1797]

31. Appearances of rain in the Morning—clear & warm afterwards. Mer. at 84. Genl. Spotswoods family & ours dined with Mr. Ludwell Lee. And Mr. Nichs. Fitzhugh & his wife came here to dinner & Mr. Lawe. Lewis in the evening.

dined with mr. ludwell lee: at Shuter’s (Shooter’s) Hill, Lee’s home just outside Alexandria. Nicholas Fitzhugh (1764–1814), one of 14 children of Henry Fitzhugh (1723–1783) of Bedford and Sarah Battaile Fitzhugh (1731–1783), lived at Ravensworth in Fairfax County. He served in the House of Delegates 1790–91 and 1800–3, and then was appointed judge of the United States circuit court for the district of Washington. He married in 1788 Sarah Ashton, daughter of Burdett Ashton and his wife, Ann Washington Ashton, GW’s niece.

Lawrence Lewis, son of GW’s sister Betty, had been invited by GW to reside at Mount Vernon to help with the entertainment of the many guests. GW informed Lewis, however, that he would “expect no Services from you for which pecuniary compensation will be made. I have already as many on wages as are sufficient to carry on my business and more indeed than I can find means to pay, conveniently. As both your Aunt and I are in the decline of life, and regular in our habits, especially in our hours of rising & going to bed; I require some person (fit & proper) to ease me of the trouble of entertaining company; particularly of Nights, as it is my inclination to retire (and unless prevented by very particular company, always do retire) either to bed, or to my study, soon after candle light. In taking these duties (which hospitality obliges one to bestow on company) off my hands, it would render me a very acceptable service, and for a little time only, to come, an hour in the day, now and then, devoted to the recording of some Papers which time would not allow me to complete before I left Philadelphia, would also be acceptable” (4 Aug. 1797, ViMtvL).

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