George Washington Papers

To George Washington from William Augustine Washington, 14 May 1793

From William Augustine Washington

Haywood [Va.] May 14th 1793

My D: sir

Your favor of the 29th Ulto I recd by the last Post—I should be very sorry that your Building should stop for the want of Lime, particularly, as you seem to have relyed on me for procuring it1—The person whom I informed you in my last had engaged to deliver a load of shell by the 15th Apl has delivered a load of Lime & at our last Court said he should immediately proceed with a Load of Shells, and continue carrying, untill you were supplyed, a Mr Rust also on Yeocomoco—informed me he had about 3,000 Bushels of live Shells which he would carry up as soon as possible—I had written twice to Colo. Gaskins, but never recd an answer to my letters—The small Pox being in his Family and all thro’ that Neighbourhood, I suppose is the reason that he has not answered my Letter, or engaged Craft to carry Shells—I have now sent the Young Man who Lives with me, below, to see if Rust & Branson are carrying of Shells, and to engage others in the Business—on his return I shall be able to give You better information—and you shall hear from me by the next Post.2

You suppose that you had written to me on the practicability of hiring of N⟨e⟩groes Carpenters—you are mistaken my D. sir, there is nothing respecting it in your former Letter to me—I fear it will be dificult at this time to procure them, most that were to hire with us, being engaged in Squaring Timber for the Federal Buildings—But if you will be so kind in your next, as to mention the Number you want, the length of time to be employed, I will make the fullest enquiries and let you know.3

Mrs Washington joins me in our best regards to you & Mrs Washington.4 and beleive me to be my Dr Uncle Your very Affectionate Nephew

Wm Augt. Washington


1For GW’s request for his nephew’s help in securing oyster shells to aid in the construction of a new barn at Dogue Run farm, see GW to William Augustine Washington, 17 Feb., and notes 1, 3. For William Augustine Washington’s eventual success in arranging delivery of both lime and shells, see GW to Anthony Whitting, 2 June.

2William Augustine Washington’s most recent letter to GW may have been that of 20 Mar., which has not been found. The Yeocomico River flows through Westmoreland County, Va., in which William Augustine Washington’s home Haywood was located, and empties into the lower Potomac River. Samuel Turner delivered oyster shells to Mount Vernon on 13 May, 5 June, and 3 July, but it is not clear whether William Augustine Washington or Anthony Whitting, GW’s farm manager, hired Turner (Ledger B description begins General Ledger B, 1772–1793. Library of Congress, George Washington Papers, Series 5, Financial Papers. description ends , 366–67, 369, Whitting to GW, 20 Mar.). The next extant letter from William Augustine Washington to GW is that of 3 Sept. 1793.

3Contrary to William Augustine Washington’s recollection, GW had inquired about hiring black carpenters in letters to his nephew of 3 Mar. and 29 April. One of the buildings upon which the available carpenters may have been working at this time was the President’s House in the District of Columbia (George Walker to GW, 8 Oct. 1792, GW to D.C. Commissioners, 3 Mar. 1793 [second letter]).

4On 10 Aug. 1792 William Augustine Washington had married his second wife, Mary Lee (1764–1795), the daughter of Richard Henry and Anne Aylett Lee.

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