George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Anthony Whitting, 27 March 1793

From Anthony Whitting

Mount Vernon March 27th 1793

Honrd Sir

Your Letter of the 17th I had the Honor to receive,1 with respect to the Lucerne Lot (bottom part of) I have not yet had it Cleand up fit for Sowing Grass Seeds On—Your Excelly will remember that it was your particular Orders that none of the Evergreens should be taken up, till you came home in consequence they are all still remaining & are at places very thick So that nothing can be sown, till they are Clumpd & left in single trees as you may think proper2—However it is as well to sow the Grass Seeds abt July or Augst as at this time & I dont know but better And While you are down they may be Laid of as may best please you The Potatoes shall be planted agreable to your request as far as the seed will admit of. But we Shall be Obliged to plant all Sizes but they may be kept Seperate to try the difference—We began to Clean & Get ready the fishing Landing on Monday We haul the Shad Sein but as yet catch very few. They Catch Great plenty of Shad below & bring them up to Town in Vessels they now sell at a half bit each—My Herring Sein is not quite finish’d but will be this Week we shall begin haul for herrings on Monday next. McGinnis disapointed me in knitting the Sein.3

Mr Stuart has Got out all the Wheat at River farm & Crow will I believe finish thrashing this week there is now plenty of Wheat in the mill We had a fine Seasonable rain yesterday & this a very fine Day after it Yesterdays rain suits both farms & mill & will enable the miller to Carry on his manufacturing with out delay4—We are Listing5 every Where but Dogue run they are Sowing Oats & Grass seeds I have endeavor’d to Get as much fencing done as possible a Great deal still remains to do before the fences will be in such order as I wish to see them There was not three Good fences on the Whole Estate.

Lynna (Boatswains Daughter) has had a remarkable bad breast after her Lying in[.] Docr Craik has attended her—Blacksmith George has been sick this week past which is a Great Loss at this busy season I was forc’d to take Gardener George into the Shop Yesterday morning this will be an excuse for the Gardr6 as I think he will require some I am Going to Town to morrow for the first time when I hope to receive Your Excelly Letter of the 24th7 I have a Great deal to do in Town Some Articles to prepare for fishing and some Bills to pay which have been contracted during my Sickness & some money I expect to receive of Jamieson for ShipStuff sold on 60 Days if so I intend paying Hampsons bill.8 I Get Strength very fast & on days past I could not walk without Assistance But I now Ride out every fine Day.9

We have a report here and at Alexa. that Mrs Frances Washington is at Frederickburgh on her Road to mount Vernon.10 I am Honrd Sir Your Obdt Servt

A. Whitting

P.S. Greens Report is not come to hand he has been Sick several Days perhaps that Occasioned it.11


1GW’s letter of 17 Mar. has not been found.

2GW instructed Whitting in his letter of 9 Dec. 1792 to leave standing the large cedars in the lucerne lot until he returned to Mount Vernon and could examine them.

3Whitting paid £1.11.3 to Lawrence McGinnis, weaver, on 2 April for twenty-five pounds of knitting twine and another 8s. for “rigging the Seine” (Ledger B description begins General Ledger B, 1772–1793. Library of Congress, George Washington Papers, Series 5, Financial Papers. description ends , 349). Fish accounts for March-April 1793 are at ViMtvL.

4William Stuart and Hiland Crow were overseers, respectively, at the River and Union farms. Joseph Davenport was the miller, about whose lack of effort GW often complained (GW to Whitting, 27 Jan., 10 Feb. 1793).

5"Listing" is the preparation of land for a crop by creating ridges and furrows with a plow.

6GW’s June 1799 Slave List identifies Linny, the daughter of Boatswain and Matilda, as at the Dogue Run farm, 27 years old with no husband, and the mother of two children, including 6–year-old Bartley and 1–year-old Matilda. For the blacksmith George, see GW to Whitting, 23 Dec. 1792, note 3. For the gardener George, see GW to Whitting, 4 Nov. 1792, note 9. Whitting had complained previously about gardener John Christian Ehlers’s work in his letter to GW of 20 March.

7Whitting expected to receive a letter on Wednesday, 27 Mar., because GW usually wrote to Whitting each Sunday in order that the letter would arrive in Alexandria on the following Wednesday (GW to Whitting, 2 Dec. 1792).

8Whitting had sold “50 bbls Shipstuff wt 10,9333 lb. & 50 barrels @ 1/6” to Alexandria, Va., baker Andrew Jamieson, for which he received £43.11.6½ on 29 Mar. (Ledger B description begins General Ledger B, 1772–1793. Library of Congress, George Washington Papers, Series 5, Financial Papers. description ends , 348). For payment of Bryan Hampson’s bill, see GW to Whitting, 17 Feb., and note 3.

9Whitting was ill with tuberculosis, and he died on 21 June 1793 (Tobias Lear to GW, 24 June).

10For Frances Bassett Washington’s travels and her plans to meet GW at Mount Vernon in early April, see her letter to GW of 28 March.

11The carpenters’ report that was included in the farm reports of 23 Mar. is in the writing of James Butler and indicates that Thomas Green, the overseer of the carpenters, had been ill for four days. Whitting wrote on the reverse of the carpenters’ report that “Greens Report of March 23d Omitted to be sent at that time” (ViMtvL).

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