George Washington Papers

From George Washington to John Washington, 20 March 1773

To John Washington

Mount Vernon Mar: 20th 1773

Dear Sir

I thank you for the trouble you have had in purchasing a Gardener for me—the Man promises fair, & I hope will answer, thô chance too often directs in things of this sort.1

By the bearer Mr Franklin Syms I send You £6.16.9, amount of the charges of Transporting the Servant up. Your Draft favour ⟨of M⟩r Hodge shall be paid by me, or my ⟨mutilated⟩ the April Genl Court next2—I have nothing to add but my Compliments to Mrs Washington3 in which my wife joins & to assure you that I am Dr Sir Yr Most obedt Hble Servt

Go: Washington

ALS (facsimile), printed in Swann Galleries catalog no. 1354, item 210, 6 Dec. 1984.

This letter was written to “John Washington of King George Cty.,” according to a receipt of the same date (see note 2 below). This was probably John Washington (d. 1787) of Leedstown in King George County (now in Westmoreland County). Crippled in both legs, he was referred to by GW as “Lame Jno. Washington” (Diaries description begins Donald Jackson and Dorothy Twohig, eds. The Diaries of George Washington. 6 vols. Charlottesville, Va., 1976–79. description ends , 3:187). On the other hand, the recipient of the letter may instead have been John Washington (1730–1782) of Hylton, King George County.

1The gardener, Philip Bateman, remained at Mount Vernon for many years. Lund Washington wrote GW on 1 Oct. 1783: “As to Bateman (the old gardener) I have no expectation of his ever seeking Another home—indulge him but in getg Drunk now and then, and he will be happy—he is the best Kitchen gardener to be met with” (ViMtvL). Bateman was at Mount Vernon until at least December 1785 (Diaries description begins Donald Jackson and Dorothy Twohig, eds. The Diaries of George Washington. 6 vols. Charlottesville, Va., 1976–79. description ends , 4:254) and may be the same man as Philip Bater, gardener, who was there as late as 1787 (see Ledger B description begins Manuscript Ledger Book 2, 1772-93, in George Washington Papers, Library of Congress. description ends , 222, 251 and agreement between GW and Philip Bater, 23 April 1787, DLC:GW).

2A receipt for £6.16.9 signed by John Sims “for the Use of Mr. John Washington of King George Cty.” appeared for sale in the Collector, February 1951, p. 29. “John Sims” may be a misreading of “Franklin Sims.” GW recorded in his March Cash Memoranda, 1772-75 description begins “Pocket-day-Book or Cash-Memorandums,” 9 Aug. 1772–27 May 1773, 29 May 1773–22 March 1774, 26 Oct. 1774–3 May 1775. Manuscript in George Washington Papers, Library of Congress. 24 March-31 October 1774. Manuscript in Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens, San Marino, Calif. description ends paying “Franklin Syms for Mr Jno. Washington of Kg George Exps. bringing up a Gardner.” In the May Cash Accounts GW noted that he paid Thomas Hodge £35 “pr Colo. Lewis” for the gardener. Hodge (d. 1775), a Leedstown merchant, imported indentured and convict servants. GW had bought two servants from him in 1766 (Cash Accounts, May 1766).

3Mrs. Washington is either Constantia (Constant) Terrett (Terret) Washington, or Catherine Washington, wife of John Washington of Hylton and sister of Lawrence Washington of Chotank.

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