Washington’s Slave List
The list of Mount Vernon slaves which GW drew up, probably some time in June 1799, included those slaves owned by him outright, those who were controlled by him as part of Martha Washington’s dowry, and a number who were rented by him in 1786 by contract with Mrs. Penelope French at the time he acquired her life rights to land that she owned on Dogue Run.
The slaves Washington owned in his own right came from several sources. He was left eleven slaves by his father’s will; a portion of his half brother Lawrence Washington’s slaves, about a dozen in all, were willed to him after the death of Lawrence’s infant daughter and his widow; and Washington purchased from time to time slaves for himself, mostly before the Revolution.
Washington also hired for varying periods of time individual slaves, usually skilled artisans, from neighbors and acquaintances. These do not appear on this slave list.
Only one other complete roll of the slaves at Mount Vernon has been found. In February 1786 Washington recorded in his diary all the Mount Vernon slaves, dower and personal, the farms on which they lived, and their jobs. The total at that time came to 216; it did not include Mrs. French’s slaves, the use of whom Washington acquired later in the year.
There are also in the Washington Papers at the Library of Congress Washington’s lists of his tithables in Truro and Fairfax parishes (where Mount Vernon lies) for every year from 1760 through 1774. These have been printed in the Papers, Colonial Series. These lists name slaves living at Mount Vernon but do not include children under the age of sixteen and a few elderly slaves who were not tithed. The lists of tithables also include the names of indentured white servants and other whites living on the farms, including GW’s overseers and managers. For further information on GW’s slaves, see Charles Lee to GW, 13 Sept. 1786, and especially note 4 to that document, GW to William Triplett, 25 Sept. 1786, and notes 3 and 5 (Papers, Confederation Series description begins W. W. Abbot et al., eds. The Papers of George Washington, Confederation Series. 6 vols. Charlottesville, Va., 1992–97. description ends , 4:247–49, 268–74), Memorandum: Division of Slaves  and note to that document (Papers, Colonial Series description begins W. W. Abbot et al., eds. The Papers of George Washington, Colonial Series. 10 vols. Charlottesville, Va., 1983–95. description ends , 7:172–74), Division of Slaves, 10 Dec. 1754 (ibid., 1:227–31), and Diaries description begins Donald Jackson and Dorothy Twohig, eds. The Diaries of George Washington. 6 vols. Charlottesville, Va., 1976–79. description ends , 4:277–83.
Negros Belonging to George Washington in his own right and by Marriage
|GW TRADESMEN &CA|
|Nat||Smith||His Wife||Lucy||D[ogue] R[un]||dow[e]r|
|Dundee||Ditto||His wife||at Mr Lears|
|W. Muclus||B[rick] Lay[e]r||Ditto||Captn Marshalls1|
|Trades &ca not engagd in Cropping|
|Total||2 not cultivators of the Soil3|
|DOWER TRADESMEN &CA|
|Tom Davis||B: layr||Wife||at Mr Lear’s|
|Chriss||Ho. Ser:||Ditto||Majr Wests4|
|Betty Davis||Ditto||Mrs Washington’s—Dick6|
|Anna||Ditto||liv[in]g at George Town||GW|
|Peter lame||Kn[i]tt[e]r||No wife|
|House Serts Spinners &ca &ca||28|
|Total||Not employed in the Crops &ca|
|In all||9 not employed in the Crops|
|Children 18||together 36|
|DOWER MUDDY HOLE F[ARM]|
|Young||1||In all 5|
|Altogether at this Farm 41.|
|GW RIVER FARM|
|Robin||80||nearly passed labr|
|Suckey—Bay||46||husbd||belongg to Adans7|
|Nancy||11||daugh.||to Bay Suke||ditto|
|Nancy||4||Daughr||to Bay Suke||ditto|
|Passed labr||1||together 27|
|DOWER RIVER FARM|
|Ben||70||Nearly done||Peg for wife|
|Breechy||60||not better||Ruth his wife|
|Doll||16||No husbd||Daugh. to Doll|
|Cecelia||14||No husbd||Ditto to Agnes|
|Altogether at this Farm 57.|
|Pass’d labr||1||together 27|
|DOWER DOGUE RUN FARM|
|Sall Twine||38||Ditto||Gardr George||GW|
|Kate||18||Ditto||a Negro of Moreton’s9|
|Barbary||11||Daughr||to Sall T.||D.R.|
|Pass’d labr||1||Making 18|
|Whole amt at this Farm 45|
|GW UNION FARM|
|Pass’d labr||1||Making 6|
|DOWER UNION FARM|
|Sam Kitt||78||Wife||at Danl Sto⟨n⟩es10|
|Lucy||50||Husbd||at Cap. Marshalls|
|Jenny||34||Ditto||Mrs Washns George|
|Suckey||11||Ditto||at Mrs W.||Ditto|
|Jesse||6||Son||to Patt dead|
|Doll||52||Lame & pretds to be so|
|Whole amount at this Farm exclusive of French’s Neg[roe]s 36|
|Will||Old but hearty||Looks after the Stock||Wife at Mrs French’s11|
|Abram||in his prime||Wife||at Muddy hole||Nancy|
|Paschall||Ditto||No wife||lately lost||Cornelia M.H.|
|Tom||Ditto 28||No wife||getting Blind|
|Isaac||Ditto 29||Ditto||lives at Muddy hole Farm|
|Moses||Ditto 26||Plowman & Carter|
|James||24||At the Distillery|
|Spencer||20||Ditto and Mower13|
|Lucy||55||Ditto||McCarty’s George||a Knitter15|
|Grace||28||Husband||Mrs Washns Davy||Plougher18|
|Workg Boy’s & Girls||6|
|Children||16||In all 40|
AD, ViMtvL. The format of the document has been changed somewhat in order to fit easily on the pages. The slave list for Union farm has been moved to its proper place in the document; Washington wrote at the top of the Recapitulation page: “Union Farm ought to have been entered in this place; but by mistake, was carrd to the other side.” Abbreviations and contractions have been silently expanded when necessary for sake of clarity. A somewhat different list of only Mrs. French’s slaves was enclosed in Washington’s letter to Benjamin Dulany of 15 July 1799 (ALS [letterpress copy], NN: Washington Papers).
1. Capt. Thomas Hanson Marshall (1731–1801) lived at Marshall Hall, just across the Potomac River from Mount Vernon, in Charles County, Maryland.
3. Washington had a total “26” here because of a mistake in bringing a figure from the previous page. The mistake was repeated in his summing up of Mansion House and Tradesmen.
4. Christopher was Washington’s current body servant who was with him at his death. His wife was either a slave or a free black woman living at Roger West’s. See note 11 to Tobias Lear’s Narrative Accounts of the Death of George Washington.
5. Molly, Charlotte, and Caroline—all listed here among the dower slaves—were in Washington’s room when he died. See Tobias Lear’s Narrative Accounts of the Death of George Washington.
6. Mrs. Washington was Elizabeth Foote Washington, widow of Washington’s old manager and cousin Lund Washington, who lived at Hayfield, northwest of Mount Vernon. Several other Mount Vernon servants were married to slaves at Hayfield.
7. “Adans” was probably Abednego Adams (1721–1809), Washington’s closest neighbor, who lived on Little Hunting Creek.
8. This may be one of Robert Alexander’s (d. 1793) sons. Alexander had lived on a plantation upriver from Mount Vernon.
9. Moreton was probably Archibald Moreton who lived near Belvoir on the road from Washington’s mill to Boggess’s house.
10. This may be Daniel Stone who lived in Truro Parish on the road from Washington’s mill to Robert Boggess’s.
11. Penelope Manley French lived at Rose Hill, on the back road to Alexandria.
12. The slave list at NN, which was enclosed in GW’s letter to Benjamin Dulany of 15 July 1799, describes Julius as “A very good Carter, and can do any other work, although defective in Shape from his Infancy.”
13. The slave list at NN describes him as “A good Carter and Mower and able at any business.”
14. The slave list at NN calls her “A good working woman, notwithstanding her ⟨age⟩.”
15. Daniel McCarty, Jr. (1759–1801), lived at Cedar Grove on Pohick Bay. The slave list at NN describes Lucy as “Lame, or pretends to be so occasioned by rheumatic pains, but is a good knitter, & so employed.”
16. The slave list at NN claims she “Ploughs very Well, and is a good hand at any work.”
17. The slave list at NN describes her as “Equally good at the Spinn⟨ing Wheel⟩ or Hoe, but has been kept chiefly at the form⟨er⟩.”
18. The slave list at NN calls her “A very good Plougher—and equally so at all sorts of Work.”
19. The slave list at NN claims she “Ploughs Well—and can Milk & Churn.”
20. The slave list at NN describes her as “A full grown Woman, and ⟨illegible⟩ly; has been used to Common work only.”
21. The slave list at NN describes her as “The same—in all respects.”
22. The slave list at NN claims she is “nearly at her full growth and a woman in appear[anc]e.”