George Washington Papers

[Diary entry: 25 November 1797]

25. Moderate with the Wind Southerly—Mer. 41 a 49. Mr. Russel came here abt. 9 Oclock A.M.

mr. russel: probably William Russell (1740–1818), a merchant and reformer of Birmingham, Eng., who engaged in an export trade from Birmingham and Sheffield to Russia, Spain, and the United States. In 1795 he came to the United States to clear up matters dealing with his American trade and to check on a family estate in Maryland. He stayed for five years. On 8 Sept. 1798 Russell wrote GW from Middletown, Conn., thanking him for the hospitality shown him at Mount Vernon and promising to send the ram and the recently completed chaff machine he had promised as soon as appropriate shipping could be had (DLC:GW). Owing to various delays, the sheep and the chaff machine did not arrive until May 1799. Russell also sent GW a gift of a new type of hoe and a new implement called a ground borer, designed for digging fence post holes but which could be put to military use making chevaux-de-frise (GW to Russell, 28 Sept. 1798, 6 Jan. and 26 May 1799, and Russell to GW, 11 May 1799, DLC:GW; Russell to GW, 20 Dec. 1798, ViMtvL).

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