Mount Vernon

Monday morning we checked out of our hotel and drove to Mount Vernon.

The Mansion at Mount Vernon from the entrance to the park

The Mansion from the Potomac

The wind vane atop the cupola on the Mansion

Welcome to Mount Vernon / Home of George and Martha Washington / Restored and maintained by the Mount Vernon Ladies' Association / (Founded in 1853) / George Washington made Mount Vernon his home from 1754 until his death in 1799.  He enlarged the house and expanded his estate from 2,100 to 8,000 acres and experimented with dozens of crops, ornamental plants and trees. Today, visitors to Mount Vernon may view the Mansion, outbuildings, museums, the tomb of George and Martha Washington, and more than 60 acres of gardens and grounds. / Grounds open at 8:00 a.m. / (9:00 a.m. September through March, including Christmas). / The entrance closes at 5:00 p.m. (4:00 p.m., November through February). / An approved Historic Trail is available to members of scouting organizations. / For additional information, call 703-780-2000.

These tools are in one of the outbuildings near the Mansion.


"Riding Chair"

"When a young man, Washington acquired this riding chair... Popular in America and England, riding chairs could travel country lanes and back roads more easily than bulkier four wheel chariots and coaches. Several slaves took care of the Mount Vernon vehicles including Joe, a driver and Jack, a wagoneer. This coach house was reconstructed on the original site in 1894."


"The Old Vault"

"George and Martha, along with twenty other family members, were origonally interred in the old vault. In accordance with his will, Washington directed the building of a new tomb"

"The family vault at Mount Vernon requiring repairs and being improperly situated besides, I desire that a new one of Brick, and upon a larger Scale, may be built at the foot of what is commonly called the vineyard enclosure... -- George Washington"

"The Washingtons were moved to the New Tomb in 1831."


The New Tomb


Tomb Of Washington / Erected 1830-1831 / Site & Material Specified In Washington's Will (112K)

Slave Burial Area / 'Near (George Washington's) tomb you see the burying place of his slaves containing 150 graves.' / Visitor to Mount Vernon, 1833 / Many African Americans -- free and slave -- who worked at Mount Vernon from the 1750s into the 1800s are believed to be buried near here, according to early visitor accounts, oral tradition and a circa 1860 map. Among them is William Lee, George Washington's personal servant during the Revolutionary War, who was granted freedom and an annuity in Washington's will.  West Ford (1784-1863), a freed slave who was hired by the Washington family in the 19th century, is also thought to be buried here. The Mount Vernon Ladies' Association sought Ford's advice in the early restoration of the estate. (104K)

Memorial to the slaves buried at Mount Vernon

A circular brick patio, about 40 feet in diameter, with a foot-high brick wall surrounding and a cylindrical pillar in the center, about three feet high with a marble plaque set at a 70 degree angle. The pillar is set in the center of a three-tiered circular stepped area, with brick walls with small shrubs on the first and second tiers. The back of the area is wooded with a split-rail fence at the edge. (103K)

Slavery at Mount Vernon / 'It is my Will and desire that all the Slaves which I hold in my own right, shall receive their freedom.' -- George Washington in his will, 1799 / Of the 316 slaves at Mount Vernon in 1799, most lived and worked on the four outlying farms. About one of every four working slaves was a skilled worker such as a blacksmith, carpenter or shoemaker. The majority of women worked in the fields, but some filled the positions of spinner, weaver, cook, house servant, and seamstress. The 1799 figure reflects the expansion of the plantation since the time of George and Martha's wedding in 1759, when there were about 50 slaves at Mount Vernon. (92K)

The slave graveyard reflects several generations of customs.

In memory of the many faithful colored servants of the Washington Family buried at Mount Vernon from 1760 to 1860 / Their unidentified graves surround this spot / 1929 (85K)

Copyright (C) 2003 by Dick Hodgman.
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Last modified on 2003 June 03

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