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Posey, Hercules, 1748-1812



Hercules Posey was an enslaved man, owned by George Washington, and worked as a chef at Mount Vernon. Washington brought Hercules with him to Philadelphia, when he served as President. Posey would later self-emancipate, one of the few instances of a member of Mount Vernon’s enslaved community successfully escaping during Washington's lifetime.


Found in 2 Collections and/or Records:

Letter, to Elizabeth Dandridge Henley, 1797 August 20

 Item — Box 2, Folder: 1797.08.20
Identifier: MSS-470
Scope and Contents Fanny [Henley] arrived safely at Mt. Vernon--must act as her own housekeeper--cook Hercules left, so at a loss for a cook--sorry ague and fever have attacked her already--sickly at [Mt. Vernon]--Nelly [Custis] has been indisposed--Washington Custis at school at Princeton College and is much grown--granddaughters in city [Martha Peter & Eliza Law] both have little girls--she and General in tolerable health--wishes to see [Elizabeth]--"Fanny is I hope very happy here she and Nelly is to go...
Dates: 1797 August 20

Letter, to Frances Bassett Washington, 1791 August 29

 Item — Box 1, Folder: 1791.08.29
Identifier: A-680.34
Scope and Contents

The significance of this letter to Martha’s niece Fanny is the mention of several specific slaves in the Presidential household. Martha complains about the sewing work of Charlotte and Caroline and gives her condolences regarding Giles, an enslaved coach driver who was apparently injured in an accident. She also mentions Hercules, the enslaved Washington cook who several years later would run away from the household. Misdated as '1790.' Autograph letter signed, 3 pages.

Dates: 1791 August 29