George Washington Papers

[Diary entry: 5 March 1798]

5. Calm morng. with Indications of a change in the weather. Mer. at 30. Doctr. Stuart left this, to accompany Washington Custis to St. Johns College at Annapolis. Messrs. Bowne & Lawrence from New York & young Hartshone dined here & retd. Mer. 40 at N. 46.

After much thought GW had finally decided to enroll Washington Custis in St. John’s College, a small nondenominational school opened in 1789 in Annapolis. Custis’s uncle George Calvert had recommended the college. GW thought the boy might like it better than a school farther from home and also he felt “there is less of that class of people which are baneful to youth, in that City, than in any other” (GW to David Stuart, 26 Feb. 1798, NN: Washington Papers). GW sent by Dr. Stuart’s hand a letter to John McDowell, president of the college, in which he warned McDowell of Custis’s indolence. He added, however, that he knew of no vice in the boy. “From drinking and gaming he is perfectly free and if he has a propensity to any other impropriety, it is hidden from me. He is generous, and regardful of truth” (5 Mar. 1798, NN: Washington Collection). young hartshone: may be William Hartshorne, Jr. (Fairfax Index description begins Edith Moore Sprouse, ed. A Surname and Subject Index of the Minute and Order Books of the County Court, Fairfax County, Virginia, 1749–1800. Fairfax County History Commission. Fairfax, Va., 1976. description ends , 2:50).

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