George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Sally Ball Haynie, 11 February 1798

To Sally Ball Haynie

Mount Vernon 11th Feby 1798.

Miss Sally,

I have received your letter of the 28th of last month,1 and without enquiring at this time why you left Mr Lewis’s family—or how you employ your time, I have requested him to furnish you with ten pounds to supply you with such necessaries as you may be in immediate want.

But as you have no fortune to support you, Industry, economy, and a virtuous conduct are your surest resort, and best dependance. In every station of life, these are commendable but in the one in which it has pleased Providence to place you, it is indispensably necessary that they should mark all your footsteps. It is no disparagement to the first lady in the Land to be constantly employed, at some work or another; to you, it would prove, in addition to a chaste & unsullied reputation the surest means of attracting the notice of some man with whom your future fortune will be united in Matrimonial bond and without which it would be vain to expect a person of worth. I wish you well & am Your friend

Go: Washington

ALS (letterpress copy), DLC:GW; LB, DLC:GW.

Sally Ball Haynie, in January 1795 “a beautiful young girl of sixteen or seventeen,” and her mother, Elizabeth Haynie (d. 1796), were impoverished relatives of GW’s mother. Elizabeth Haynie was probably the daughter of Mary Ball Washington’s half sister Elizabeth Johnson. GW had been sending them money since 1791 (Robert Lewis to GW, 17 Jan. 1795; see GW to Elizabeth Haynie, 27 Dec. 1790, and source note of that document). Since early in 1795 Robert Lewis had let the Haynies live near him on one of his small tenements, in Fauquier County, and Sally did some housework for Mrs. Lewis and possibly other neighbors. GW had at one time considered having Sally live at Mount Vernon, but Robert Lewis discouraged this (see especially GW to Lewis, 26 June 1796, and Lewis to GW, 17 Jan. 1795, 5 May, and 26 July 1796).

1Sally Ball Haynie wrote on 28 Jan.: “Honoured Sir I expect you have long Since bin in formed of my mothers death who departted this lif apil the 29 [ 17] 96 I was then left with out father or mother Mr Lewis and lady [Judith Walker Browne Lewis] Whom I then lived with was veary kind to me Mrs Calmes In vited me to live with hir wheair I lived in my mothers liftime I excepted hir kind offer and Wheair I am at preasent Kind Sir I was left with out Surport but what Corns through my one indursty” (DLC:GW). Miss Haynie wrote GW two more times, on 8 Sept. 1798 and 7 Dec. 1798. Her letter of 8 Sept. reads: “My Deair and affectinate frend and well wicher It gives me pleasure to informe you that I am well and am in hops this will find you and famly ingoying the same blesing I recived your letter with the mony you desired Mr Lewis to let me have which gave me infinit pleasure and am my deair Sir much oblidged to you for the kind advice you gave me in your letter I shall indever to follow it I shall return you thanks for ever for your kindness to me I neavur have seen Mr laurance nor Mr robrt lewis sence i re[c]ived your letter thay have frequently past by wheair I live but was not kind enuf to call and see me I have nothing more to wright only I remain single yet. I ever remain yours til death Sally B. Haynie” (DLC:GW). She wrote from Frederick County on 7 Dec. 1798: “I have lately met with an opperetunity by ambrus to wright a few lins to you as nothing givs me gratter pleasure then to wright and reseve a letter from Soo grate a friend as you have bin to me. I am now at Capt. George Eskridges wheair I exspet to reside I have wrote to sence you ware Soo kind as to send me that mony by Mr lewis but I dont know weather you eaver got it or not I was veary much obliged to you kindness know more but Ever reman your In detter Sally B. Haynie” (DLC:GW).

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