George Washington (1731-32-1799) by Charles Willson Peale (American colonial era artist, 1741-1827) Detail
December 1769 - Where & how—my time is—Spent
Decr. 1. Dined at Mrs. Campbells with the Speaker, Treasurer & other Company. Mrs. Washington & Childn. Dined at the Attorneys. Myself & J. P. Custis suppd at Mrs. Campbells.
2. Mrs. Washington & children, myself, Colo. Basset, Mrs. Basset & Betcy Bassett all Eat Oysters at Mrs. Campbells abt. One oclock and afterwards went up to Eltham.
The burgesses once more adjourned until 11:00 A.M. Monday. Before the family left town, GW paid Miss P. Davenport £3 3s. 8d. for clothing furnished Patsy and Mrs. Washington. He also paid 3s. for postage and gave Jacky £1 in cash. Mrs. Washington and Patsy had received spending money earlier in the week).
3. At Eltham all day.
4. Returnd to Town and dined at Mrs. Campbells. Spent Eveng. there also witht. Supg.
Mrs. Washington and the children remained at Eltham. In town GW bought an ornamental comb for Patsy at John Carter’s store on Duke of Gloucester Street.
5. Dined at Mrs. Campbells & spent the Evening there without supping—in.
GW on this date paid Alexander Craig, a Williamsburg saddler, 9s. 6d. on his own account and 16s. for Jacky .
6. Dined at Mr. Cockes & spent the Eveng. there.
7. Dined at Mrs. Campbells & the Evening spent in my Room.
8. Dined at Mrs. Campbells & was engagd. at Charltons abt. Colo. Moore’s Lotty. the Evg.
Bernard Moore, of Chelsea in King William County, was forced to raffle all his property in a lottery to pay his debts, part of which were owed to the administrators of Speaker John Robinson’s estate. GW was a manager for the lottery.
9. Dined at Mrs. Campbells and suppd there with the speaker &ca.
10. Dined at the Speakers & spent the Evening in my own Room.
Today being Sunday, the burgesses did not meet. GW recorded under this date the payment of 7s. 6d. to Benjamin Bucktrout, Williamsburg cabinetmaker and merchant, for repairing a coach house belonging to the printer William Rind (d. 1773). GW may have kept his new chariot there while he was in town.
11. Dined at Mr. Wythes—and the Eveng. Spent in my own Room.
12. Dined at Mrs. Campbells and Spent the Evening in my own Room.
13. Dined at Mrs. Campbells and went to the Ball at the Capitol.
The ball was given in the evening by the burgesses for the governor, the council, and the ladies and gentlemen of the town, and the Capitol was illuminated for the occasion. Of the ladies who attended, “near one hundred, appeared in homespun gowns” to show their support of the nonimportation agreement. “It were to be wished,” William Rind’s Virginia Gazette observed the following day, “that all assemblies of American Ladies would exhibit a like example of public virtue and private oeconomy, so amiably united”
14. Dined at Mrs. Campbells & spent part of the Evening in drawing Colo. Moores Lottery.
15. Dined at the Attorney’s and went to Southalls in the Evening to draw Colo. Moores Lottery.
James Barrett Southall (b. 1726) was at this time operating a tavern on Duke of Gloucester Street which he had leased from the heirs of its original proprietor, Henry Wetherburn. Located in the block nearest the Capitol, the tavern had become very popular by 1760, when Wetherburn died, and it continued to have an excellent reputation under Southall, who took it over sometime before June 1767. An experienced innkeeper, Southall had been in business elsewhere in Williamsburg as early as 1757, when GW paid him for supper and club. He remained at the Wetherburn Tavern until 1771.
16. Dined at Mrs. Campbells & drawg. Colo. Moores Lottery till 10 Oclock & then compleated it.
GW was today given permission by the House of Burgesses to be absent for a week, and he paid most of his bills in town as if he intended to go home (JHB, 1766–69, 343). The barber George Lafong was given £5 9s. 1d. to settle his account against GW, Jacky, and Patsy; James Craig, a Williamsburg jeweler, received £3 for two mourning rings bought for Harrison Manley and 2s. 6d. for repairing Jacky’s buttons; Anthony Hay was paid 14s. for three suppers and other expenses at the Raleigh; and Patsy’s medical bills were discharged: £10 15s. to Dr. Sequeyra and £2 13s. 3d. to Dr. William Pasteur, probably for medicines from his apothecary shop on Duke of Gloucester Street. Pasteur, who died in 1791, was the son of a Swiss immigrant. He had been apprenticed to a Williamsburg doctor at an early age and had opened his shop by 1759. GW also paid Pasteur 6s. 4d. on his own account.
17. Dined at the Palace and went up in the Afternoon to Colo. Bassetts.
The burgesses did not meet today, Sunday. GW paid Mrs. Campbell’s account against him, Jacky, and Patsy, a total of £42 12s. 6d.
18. Came to Town again abt. 12 Oclock. Dind at Mrs. Campbells, & spent the Evening in my own Room a writing.
19. Dined at Mrs. Campbells an hour after Candlelight & spent the Eveng. in my own Room.
20. Dined at Mrs. Campbells and spt. the Evening in my own Room.
GW today paid 8s. 3d. for “Barber & Washing.”
21. Dined at Mrs. Campbells & came up to Eltham after the House adjournd.
Governor Botetourt was reluctant to let the burgesses go home at this time, despite the fact that they had sat six days a week for over six weeks. Apparently many matters remained to be considered. “The Inclination of this Assembly,” he told them today, “could alone have engaged me to have interrupted the Business of this Session; but as I understand that it is generally desired to adjourn over the Christmas Holidays, and not to meet again till the Month of May, I do direct both Houses to adjourn themselves to the 21st Day of May next.” Before GW left town, he paid Mrs. Campbell £1 10s. 6d. for his expenses at her place since 17 Dec.
22. Sett of for home. Dined at Todds Bridge and lodgd at Hubbards.
23. Breakfasted at Caroline Ct. House and reachd Fredericksburg abt. 4 Oclock in the Aftern. ding. at Colo. Lewis.
Caroline Court House was about halfway between Todd’s Bridge and Fredericksburg, but lay a few miles east of the main road. GW’s expenses there on this day were 8s. 9d. The chief tavern at the Court House had been established about 1733 by Samuel Coleman (1704–1748) and was now owned by his son Francis Coleman (d. 1771), a lawyer who served a term as a Caroline burgess 1769–70.
24. Went to Prayers, & dined afterwds. at Colo. Lewis. Spent the Evening with Mr. Jones at Julians.
Edward Jones was Mary Ball Washington’s overseer at the Ferry Farm. Mrs. Julian kept a tavern on the main street of Fredericksburg until about 1777.
25. Dined & spent the Evening at Colo. Lewis’s.
GW today recorded winning £2 5s. at cards.
26. Dined at Colo. Lewis & went over the River and lodgd at my Mothers.
GW today paid 2s. 6d. to a barber and 3s. 9d. for having his chariot repaired.
27. Dined and lodgd at Dumfries with Mr. Boucher & J. P. Custis who overtook us on the Road.
Before GW left his mother he gave her £6 in cash.
28. Reached home to Dinner with Mr. Boucher & ca.
29. At Home all day.
30. Mr. Boucher went away. I Rid to My Mill with Ball and agreed with [him] to Build here.
GW had decided in the spring to replace his small plantation mill with a merchant mill which could manufacture large quantities of high-grade flour suitable for sale in the colony or for export to lucrative markets abroad. By grinding his own wheat he might increase his profit from each year’s crop, and if he bought wheat from other farmers and sold flour ground from it, he could make even more money. The new mill was to be built downstream from the old one, near the point where narrow, shallow Dogue Run widened into navigable Dogue Creek, a convenient location for water transportation. But the exact site would not be determined until the terrain in the area had been thoroughly studied. The millwright was John Ball of Frederick County, who about this time was sending goods by wagon from the Shenandoah Valley to Falmouth. He was also probably the John Ball (1742–1806) who settled on Licking Run, Fauquier County, in 1771. A son of William Ball (1718–1785) of Lancaster County, this John Ball married Sarah Ellen Payne in 1767 and later became a captain in the Fauquier militia. His eldest son, William, may have been the William Ball who was engaged to rebuild GW’s mill in 1791.
31. At Home all day.
George Washington George Washington (1731-32-1799) as a Young Man, Painted by Rembrandt Peale (American artist, 1778–1860)
“December 1769,” Founders Online, National Archives. Source: The Diaries of George Washington, vol. 2,14 January 1769 - 31 December 1770, ed. Donald Jackson. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1976, pp. 199–204.