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Letter, to Burwell Bassett, 1759 August 9

 Item — Box: 1, Folder: 1759.08.09
Identifier: 2018-SC-004
Letter: George Washington, Mount Vernon, to Burwell Bassett, 1759 August 9
Letter: George Washington, Mount Vernon, to Burwell Bassett, 1759 August 9

Scope and Contents

Autograph letter signed. Washington writes to his brother-in-law Burwell Bassett. The letter was carried to Fredericksburg from Mount Vernon by Miles Richardson, who had been one of Washington’s batmen in the Virginia Regiment during Forbes’ Campaign of 1758. Richardson was hired by Washington, most likely as a valet, from January 1, 1759 – May 10, 1759.

Written within the first year of Washingotn’s marriage to Martha Dandridge Custis, the letter mentions visiting John Mercer to sort through papers related to the estate of Martha’s late husband Daniel Parke Custis. Washington writes that he will bring Martha with him on the visit in case she is needed to answer any lingering questions about the Custis estate.

Washington also asks Bassett to procure a horse brand for George William Fairfax from James Danworth and to purchase canary seed for Martha’s birds. This is the earliest known reference to pets at Mount Vernon.


  • 1759 August 9


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2 pages

Language of Materials


Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections at The George Washington Presidential Library at Mount Vernon Repository

PO Box 3600
Mount Vernon VA 22121