George Washington Papers

To George Washington from George Augustine Washington, 7 March 1791

From George Augustine Washington

Mount Vernon March 7th 1791

Honored Uncle

Being informed by Giles who arrived this morning that You expected being here as soon as he would or shortly after I cannot suppose that this will find You in Philadelphia unless You are unexpectedly detain’d—Very contrary to my expectation and wish I have been prevented returning untill last night.1 I was on my way as far as Westmoreland and should have been here by the time I mentioned in a Letter I wrote You from Eltham but the death of Mrs McCarty preventing Mr Bassett attending his Sister up and hearing also that the small pox was in Dumfries and concieving it probable that it would become general in this part of the Country though it advisable to hasten back and bring them up with me which I have done2 not having had the happiness of hearing from You since my absence I knew not of Your being expected in so soon and I have just had the pleasure of being informed by Mr Lund Washington that it is the prevailing report in Alexandria that You are to be in anapolis on Thursday next but in case of Your being delay’d I have coverd the Report and I know it is always Your wish to receive it and refer You to it for information as I came home so late that I have not had time this morng to visit the plantations but shall immediately after dispatching this—Fanny joins me in tenderest regards for You my Aunt and the Children and believe me to be Your truly affectionate Nephew

Geo. A. Washington


1Giles, a slave belonging to GW, was purchased in 1770 or perhaps shortly before. He served as GW’s driver and coachman as early as 1770 and was in Philadelphia with GW in 1790–91. Scheduled to accompany GW on his Southern Tour, Giles had been sent ahead from Philadelphia by water. In his accounts GW noted paying Capt. John Parker £2.8 for Giles’s passage from Philadelphia (Ledger B description begins General Ledger B, 1772–1793. Library of Congress, George Washington Papers, Series 5, Financial Papers. description ends , 324). Giles’s name does not appear on the 1799 Mount Vernon slave census, suggesting that he died before that date.

2George Augustine Washington apparently had traveled to Eltham, the home of his wife’s father, Burwell Bassett, in New Kent County. No letter from George Augustine to GW written from Eltham has been found. When he departed Eltham, George Augustine evidently left Fanny with her family, expecting her brother, Burwell Bassett, Jr., to bring her to Mount Vernon later. Upon reaching Westmoreland County, however, he learned of the death of Winifred Thornton McCarty, wife of Daniel McCarty of Pope’s Creek and mother of Burwell’s wife, Elizabeth. Understanding that this death would prevent Burwell from coming to Mount Vernon, George Augustine returned to Eltham for his family and did not reach Mount Vernon until 6 March.

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