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Title: An Illustrated Handbook of Mount Vernon - The Home of Washington
Author: Association, Mount Vernon Ladies'
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.

*** Start of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "An Illustrated Handbook of Mount Vernon - The Home of Washington" ***

    [Illustration: _Mount Vernon, the Home of George Washington
    Purchased (in 1858), restored and maintained by the
    Mt. Vernon Ladies’ Association of the Union_]

    [Illustration: _Houdon’s Bust of Washington
    Made at Mount Vernon, 1785_]

                        Copyright, 1928, by the
                    Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association

    [Illustration: _Portrait of George Washington
    By Chas. Wilson Peale
    Bequeathed to the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association by the late Miss
    Jane Boudinot, in whose family’s possession the portrait has been
    since 1788, when it was painted (from life) for Elias Boudinot_]

               _An Illustrated Handbook of Mount Vernon_


  The Home of Washington                                                3
  Entrance Gateway                                                      6
  West Front                                                            7
  North Lodge Gate                                                      8
  West Lodge Gate                                                       9
  Mount Vernon Mansion                                                 10
  Portico                                                              11
  Mansion Interior, Central Hall                                       12
  West Parlor                                                          13
  Miss Custis’s Music Room                                             14
  Family Dining Room                                                   15
  Banquet Hall                                                         16
  Kitchen                                                              17
  Mrs. Washington’s Sitting Room                                       18
  Library                                                              19
  Washington’s Room                                                    20
  Mrs. Washington’s Room                                               21
  Second Floor                                                         22
  Third Floor                                                          23
  Flower Garden                                                        24
  Servants’ Quarters                                                   24
  Kitchen Garden                                                       25
  The Carpenter Shop                                                   26
  The Spinning House                                                   26
  The Barn                                                             27
  Summer House                                                         28
  Mount Vernon Wharf                                                   29
  Old Tomb                                                             30
  New Tomb                                                             31
  The Regents and Vice-Regents of the Mount Vernon Ladies’
          Association of the Union                                     32
  Pohick Church                                                        34

                        _The Home of Washington_

In the year 1674, by Grant of Lord Culpeper, a tract of 5,000 acres
situated on the west bank of the Potomac River, fifteen miles south of
the present city of Washington, became the property of John Washington
and Nicholas Spencer. Half of this tract, or 2,500 acres, descended to
Lawrence Washington, who, in 1743, built a residence, and named the
estate Mount Vernon, after the British Admiral under whom he had served.
At Lawrence Washington’s death (1752) the estate passed to the ownership
of his half brother, George Washington, who subsequently extended the
boundaries of his plantation until they included nearly 8,000 acres.

In 1799, when George Washington died, the property passed as a life
interest to his widow, by whose will most of the household effects in
the Mansion were, after her death, divided among her four grandchildren.
Thus was the original furniture of Mount Vernon eventually scattered.

Bushrod Washington, John Augustine Washington, and John A. Washington,
Jr., followed in succession as owners of Mount Vernon.

These gentlemen furnished the Mansion according to their individual
tastes and made such minor changes as papering or painting the interior
to preserve it.

Mr. John A. Washington, Jr., the last-named owner, in accordance with
the wishes of his family, to effect a permanent preservation of the
property, offered to sell it to the National Government. This project
failed, as did likewise an attempt to sell to the Commonwealth of

At this juncture the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association of the Union was
(in 1856) organized by Miss Pamela Cunningham, of South Carolina. Her
appeal to the patriotism of all American women (December, 1853) resulted
in the accomplishment of her noble project in spite of many obstacles.
The purchase money was raised by contributions from thirty-three States
of the Union, materially aided by Hon. Edward Everett, of Massachusetts,
in lecturing for the benefit of the Mount Vernon Fund, his contributions
amounting to $68,294.59. In 1858, this Association was thus enabled to
buy from Mr. John A. Washington, Jr., and his heirs, 202 acres of the
Mount Vernon estate, including the Tomb, the Mansion, attendant
buildings, the wharf, etc., the price paid being $200,000 and interest.

In 1887, an important addition of 33½ acres was achieved through the
generosity of the late Mr. Jay Gould, of New York; in 1893 Mr. Christian
Heurich, of Washington, D. C., gave three acres, and in 1925 Mr. and
Mrs. Hugh McK. Landon, of Indianapolis, kindly donated about 23 acres
more, thus making the total area owned by the Mt. Vernon Ladies’
Association approximately 260 acres.

Among the many who visit Mount Vernon few are aware of what an expensive
undertaking is involved in its restoration and preservation, nor do they
realize on entering its gates that they, too, contribute their mite
toward the maintenance of this historic place. To retain the appearance
of that simplicity which characterized the home life of Washington, to
preserve the reverence of his hallowed shrine and at the same time meet
the protective requirements incident to increasing wear and tear, has
been a problem to be mastered.

    [Illustration: _Mt. Vernon when purchased by the Mt. Vernon Ladies’
    Association of the Union_]

While the employment of modern appliances has become a necessity, they
are masked as much as possible to avoid glaring contrast with the more
primitive methods of olden times. For instance: to guard against
accidents by fire all former and dangerous means of heating the
buildings have given place to a hot water system, the mains of which
pass through subterranean conduits from a distant (underground) boiler
room, and all buildings are lighted by a system of low voltage
electricity installed under the direction of Mr. Edison.

Fire engines—both chemical and steam—are at hand for instant use, and
guards are on constant watch both day and night. Powerful modern pumps
(electrically driven) supply water from an artesian well for household
purposes, and keep the emergency reservoirs filled. Sanitary drainage is
an essential improvement. Bogs and swamps have been reclaimed to make
the place more healthful.

Threatening landslides near the Mansion and old Tomb were averted by the
costly expedient of tunneling the hill to drain the water-bearing sands,
the source of disastrous surface movements which had caused Washington
much alarm.

The Association owes to the interest and patriotism of Prof. Charles
Sprague Sargent, of Arnold Arboretum, the replacement and listing of
many trees planted at Mount Vernon during Washington’s lifetime. A plan
with the position of all historic trees is shown in the guide book.
Successful efforts have been made to replant both the grounds of the
Mansion and the surrounding woods according to Washington’s original
idea as expressed in his diary.

The repair and safeguarding of buildings and their contents, attention
to the old trees Washington loved, his roads, walks, gardens and
grounds, continually tax the energy and resources of the Association.
That the steadfast aim and purpose, thus successfully achieved, is
appreciated by those who are familiar with it, is admirably expressed in
the concluding chapter of Owen Wister’s “Seven Ages of Washington.” The
following is a brief quotation:

  “_Everything, every subject, every corner and step, seems to bring him
  close. It is an exquisite and friendly serenity which bathes one’s
  sense, that seems to be charged all through with some meaning or
  message of beneficence and reassurance, but nothing that could be put
  in words. Turn into his garden and look at the walls and walks he
  planned, the box hedges, the trees, the flower beds, the great order
  and the great sweetness everywhere. You may spend an hour, you may
  spend a day, wandering, sitting, feeling this gentle power of the
  place; you may come back another time, it meets you, you cannot dispel
  it by familiarity. And as you think of this you bless the devotion of
  those whose piety and care treasure the place and keep it sacred and

    [Illustration: Pistol]

_Unless otherwise designated all the tailpieces in this book represent
original furnishings in use at Mount Vernon during the lifetime of
General Washington._”

                           _Entrance Gateway_

    [Illustration: Entrance Gateway]

Through this gateway Washington and his guests were accustomed to pass
from the main road. The original paving of cobble stones has been found
intact and now visitors to Mount Vernon enter as in Washington’s time.
An attractive bowling-green extends from the gateway nearly to the
Mansion. To the left are the flower gardens, and occupying a similar
area to the right is the kitchen garden. These gardens are surrounded by
brick walls, the coping of which was restored, in 1895, by Mrs.
Christine Blair Graham, late Vice-Regent for Missouri.

Many of the old trees still bordering the original driveway have been
identified from Washington’s diary as having been planted by him or his
guests. Notably among them may be seen, near the Flower Garden entrance,
two handsome tulip poplars—the tallest trees of the group.

On the lawn facing the Potomac are three large pecan trees which, as
seedlings, came from Thomas Jefferson and were planted by Washington.

    [Illustration: _Sword worn by General Washington when he resigned
    Command of the Army in 1783, when he was inaugurated first President
    of U.S. 1789 and on all subsequent State occasions_]

                              _West Front_

    [Illustration: West Front]

The west front of the Mansion was the point of approach for visitors, as
indicated by the large central door bearing the original brass knocker.
On this side is a spacious court, flanked by several frame buildings—to
the right, the kitchen, butler’s house, smoke-house, laundry and coach
house, while to the left are the office, the gardener’s house, carpenter
shop and spinning house.

The kitchen and office are joined to the main building by colonnades,
which were rebuilt in 1874 by the combined efforts of the late
Vice-Regents for six States, as follows: Mrs. Hannah Blake Farnsworth,
Michigan; Miss Lily Lytle Macalester, Pennsylvania; Miss Emily L.
Harper, Maryland; Mrs. Lucy H. Pickens, South Carolina; Mrs. Maria
Brooks, New York, and Mrs. Nancy Wade Halstead, New Jersey.

The sun-dial in the center of the court marks where one stood in the
days of Washington. The posts and chains are a restoration of an
original feature, accomplished in 1917 by the Vice-Regent for Oregon.

    [Illustration: _Sword worn by Col. Washington as aide to General

                           _North Lodge Gate_

    [Illustration: North Lodge Gate]

In 1892, when the Electric Railway located its terminal station near the
north boundary of the estate, an entrance at that point had to be
arranged for visitors. It is called the North Lodge Gate to distinguish
it from the private entrance half a mile away. To provide an appropriate
walkway to and from the Mansion, funds were raised, in 1894, by the late
Vice-Regent for Pennsylvania—Mrs. Lippincott—and stone flagging laid the
entire distance of 1,100 feet.

In 1900 the Vice-Regent for Texas, with financial aid from Masons and
other patriotic citizens of her State, erected the present lodges and

The Vice-Regent for Texas and Mrs. Charles Denby, late Vice-Regent for
Indiana, in 1905, jointly arranged for the building of a brick wall
along the boundary next the North Lodge Gate, copying walls built
elsewhere on the estate by General Washington.

The gradual extension of this wall is being accomplished through
contributions of individual members of the Association.

    [Illustration: _Dress sword worn by General Washington_]

                           _West Lodge Gate_

    [Illustration: West Lodge Gate]

This was the main approach, in olden times, from the much-traveled
highway to the homestead, which can be faintly discerned through a vista
cleared by Washington. A carriage road winds through intervening valleys
to the Mansion, nearly a mile distant. Extending from this gateway to
the Potomac River is the part of the estate purchased in 1858 by the
Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association.

In 1890 Mrs. Martha Mitchell, late Vice-Regent for Wisconsin, provided
funds for renovating these ancient lodges which once sheltered
Washington’s gatekeepers.

    [Illustration: _Duplicate of the coach in which General Washington
    made his tour of the South in 1791. The coach shown at Mount Vernon
    is a contemporary replica made by the same maker._]

                         _Mount Vernon Mansion

    [Illustration: Mount Vernon Mansion]

George Washington enlarged the original residence, built in 1743 by
Lawrence Washington, by increasing its length and height, completing
these improvements in 1786. In construction, its foundation walls are of
stone and brick; the framework oak; the sheathing Virginia pine, cut,
painted, and sanded to resemble stone. The roof is of cypress shingles.
A spacious and well-drained cellar underlies the whole house.

When the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association came into possession of this
property, the Mansion and other buildings were found unfurnished and
greatly in need of repairs. The story of the restoration cannot be
adequately told in this short sketch.

The work was divided by allotting to each Vice-Regent a room or some
other feature to be restored. Gradually many articles of original
furniture and personal effects of the Washingtons were recovered, some
by gift, others by purchase, while several articles had only been
loaned. The work has been attended with gratifying success and still
progresses. Every effort is directed toward the complete restoration of
each feature and condition as it existed in the days of Washington.

The “Ha Ha” wall, shown in illustration, was, in 1896, rebuilt upon its
original foundations through funds raised by Miss Amy Townsend, late
Vice-Regent for New York.


    [Illustration: Portico]

The east portico extends the full length of the Mansion, and its roof is
supported by eight square wooden columns reaching a height of two
stories. An ornamental balustrade surmounts the porch roof and adds
height to its pleasing effect. The tiles with which the floor is still
paved were imported from England by Washington and laid in 1786. In
1915, 1512 tiles were obtained from the original quarry to replace those
so badly worn as to be unsafe. The dimensions of the pavement are:
length, 95 feet 5 inches; width, 14 feet 6 inches, and, according to
Washington’s own measurements, this pavement is 124 feet 10½ inches
above the river level. The columns and balustrade are faithful
reproductions of the original, the foundations of the building have been
strengthened, weakened timbers renewed, and steel girders hidden between
floors and ceiling for increased stability.

In 1895 accurate architectural drawings of interior and exterior details
were secured by Mrs. Mary T. Leiter, late Vice-Regent for Illinois, and
placed in safe deposit vaults in Washington.

In 1909 a skeleton model of the Mansion, showing its unique
construction, was lodged for safe keeping with the National Museum.

The outlook from the porch commands extensive and picturesque views of
the broad Potomac.

                    _Mansion Interior, Central Hall_

    [Illustration: Mansion Interior, Central Hall]

The view of the hall is from the East, showing the main stairway. To the
right, doors open into the Music Room and Parlor; to the left are Mrs.
Washington’s Sitting Room and the Family Dining Room. The paneling of
the hall is as Washington improved it in 1775, and the original colors
are restored. The pattern of wall paper above the stairs has been worked
out from recently discovered fragments of what was originally there. The
key of the Bastile, presented to Washington by Lafayette, in 1789, hangs
in a glass case between the doors on the left, while opposite may be
seen the brass hunting horn received from the same friend.

Four of Washington’s swords are shown: one he used during the Braddock
campaign; his dress sword (damaged by rust); a sword made for him at the
Solingen Armory in Prussia; the silver-mounted blade he wore when
resigning command of the army (1783) and at his inauguration in 1789. In
the case with the swords is the sash worn by General Braddock when he
was wounded, and given by him to Col. George Washington, who was then
his aide-de-camp.

By his will, Washington bequeathed to each of his nephews one of his
five swords, with the following injunction: “Not to unsheathe them for
the purpose of shedding blood except it be in self-defence or in the
defence of their country and its rights, and in the latter case to keep
them unsheathed and prefer falling with them in their hands to the
relinquishment thereof.”

    [Illustration: Clock]

The clock on the stairs belonged to Lawrence Washington, the founder of
Mount Vernon, and the hall lantern was given to him (1745) by Admiral
Vernon, for whom the estate was named.

The marble top table belonged to Washington, and the engravings are
reprints of originals. The restoration of the hall is due to the
Vice-Regents for Michigan and Alabama.

                             _West Parlor_

    [Illustration: West Parlor]

The finish of this room—its wall panels, mantel and ceiling
decoration—is a restoration of the original. Washington’s coat of arms
is carved above the mantel, and his crest and initials are cast in the
heavy fireback. An old painting empaneled over the mantel is said to
represent a part of Admiral Vernon’s fleet at Cartagena, and was sent by
the Admiral to Lawrence Washington in 1743 as an acknowledgment of
Washington’s courtesy in naming the estate for him.

The rug in the room is particularly interesting. It was woven by order
of Louis XVI, and sent by him as a present to General Washington.

The curtain cornices are original, also the mirror, now restored to its
former position between the windows, and two rosewood stands for vases
of flowers.

    [Illustration: _Key of the Bastile_]

Among articles of interest gathered by Mrs. Mary T. Leiter, late
Vice-Regent for Illinois, are several of the old chairs and a reprint of
an engraving of Louis XVI.

The old piano and handsome French clock are contemporaneous but did not
belong to the Washingtons.

    [Illustration: Tripod stand]

                       _Miss Custis’s Music Room_

    [Illustration: Miss Custis’s Music Room]

The prominent feature here is the harpsichord which General Washington
presented to Nellie Custis. The stool belonged to Nellie Custis. There
is also some of her embroidery on an old tambour frame. Here may be seen
Washington’s flute, and two of his chairs; also a citra, or guitar, and
a card table, which belonged to relatives of Washington. A quaint old
music book has been found, bearing the autograph of Martha Parke Custis,
the step-daughter of Washington.

This room is in the care of the Vice-Regent for Ohio.

    [Illustration: _Tambour Frame_]

                          _Family Dining Room_

    [Illustration: Family Dining Room]

The Vice-Regent for South Carolina has furnished this room. The
Heppelwhite sideboard is original. All the furniture is of ancient form.
The rug is of the Washington period, as are also the handsome brass
andirons and fender. In the corner cupboard may be seen a reproduction
of the set of china presented to Mrs. Washington by the officers of the
French fleet. The stucco ornamentation of the ceiling is the same as
applied in 1775. An iron fireback bearing the Fairfax coat of arms,
stands in the fireplace. It was at the Fairfax home, “Belvoir,”
adjoining Mount Vernon. The clock and rose jars were Lafayette’s.

    [Illustration: Fireplace]

A pair of handsome pitchers, Washington’s wine chest, two wine decanters
and glass, all of which are authentic, have been lately added, also a
chair Washington owned at Cambridge.

Here also is a portrait of David Rittenhouse, which he presented to

The memorial tablet to Miss Cunningham, of South Carolina, founder of
the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association, has been appropriately given place
here with her portrait.

                             _Banquet Hall_

    [Illustration: Banquet Hall]

This well-proportioned room was planned by Washington for the banquet
hall, and this addition, in 1776, completed the enlargement of his
house—now dignified by the name of Mansion. The decoration throughout is
as he designed it; the present fresh appearance of which is the result
of restorations (1884) by Mrs. Justine Van Renssalaer Townsend, then
Vice-Regent for New York. An attractive feature is the handsome marble
mantel presented to Washington in 1785 by an English admirer, Mr. Samuel
Vaughan. The model of the Bastile is made from a stone from the renowned
French prison and was sent over by Lafayette in 1793. A plateau for
ornamenting his dining table was imported by Washington. Among original
relics recovered for this room are the clock, candlesticks and vases,
two quaint silver bracket lamps, a footstool from Washington’s pew in
Old Trinity Church, N. Y., and paintings of the Great Falls of the
Potomac. There are portraits of Washington by Gilbert Stuart and C. W.
Peale, also a supposed portrait of Washington at the age of twenty-one,
recently sent over from Glasgow as a loan.

    [Illustration: Fireplace]


    [Illustration: Kitchen]

A tour of inspection among the several buildings develops points of
interest at every turn. The family kitchen bears evidence, in the
proportions of its huge fireplace with ponderous crane and bake-oven
near by, of what feasts were prepared therein. The interior of this room
was renovated by Miss Amy Townsend, late Vice-Regent for New York, who
obtained for it furnishings of contemporaneous date. The smoke-house
stood near, and in season was filled with hams and meats for smoking.
The larder was well stocked, tradition states, as indeed it must have
been, to feed so many guests in addition to the regular household and
large retinue of servants.

    [Illustration: _Powder Horn used by one of the “Minute Men” at the
    Battle of Concord
    Charleville Musket brought by General Lafayette in 1777
    Shot Gun sometime used by General Washington_]

                    _Mrs. Washington’s Sitting Room_

    [Illustration: Mrs. Washington’s Sitting Room]

The sitting room is in the care of the Vice-Regent for Georgia. The card
table and mirror are original Washington articles of considerable
interest. The silver candlestick was owned by Col. William Washington, a
nephew of the General. It was presented by Mrs. Georgia Page Wilder,
late Vice-Regent for Georgia. The four prints representing the siege of
Gibraltar are those which hung at Mount Vernon in the days of
Washington. The window curtains and hangings are of the type of that
period. A mahogany chair, presented to Washington by Lafayette, is a
recent acquisition. One of the candles moulded for the illumination of
Yorktown in 1776 is a relic of unique character. A couch which once
belonged to Nellie Custis has recently been added.

    [Illustration: Candlestand]

    [Illustration: Candle chimney]

    [Illustration: Candlestand]


    [Illustration: Library]

This is one of the rooms General Washington added. It was designed for
his study, as shown by the old book shelves built in the wall. Back of
opposite doors were shelf rooms for his maps and manuscripts. The bulk
of Washington’s library he bequeathed to Judge Bushrod Washington, from
whose nephews the books were purchased by a syndicate (1848) and
deposited in the Boston Athenæum, where they still are. Some scattered
volumes recovered by the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association include
several bearing the genuine signature of George Washington. The names of
his mother and members of his family appear upon others. An ancient
Bible presented to Washington by the Bishop of Sodor and Man, together
with twenty volumes of French History of Travel, sent him by Rochambeau,
besides many duplicates of Washington’s books, give interesting
character to the present collection. Mrs. Washington’s Prayer Book, and
a Family Bible with record of George Washington’s birth and baptism,
have lately been acquired.

The “tambour desk” and chair, which Washington used in this room, and
left by his will to Dr. Craik, were purchased and restored to Mount
Vernon in 1905.

An original mahogany bookcase and a globe are valued relics. The
pictures, tambour desk and articles of old-fashioned furniture have been
assembled by the Vice-Regent for Massachusetts.

A map of Mount Vernon, and of one of Washington’s plantations, carefully
platted by himself, are to be seen here, likewise “rubbings” of brasses
on tombs of the Washingtons in England.

                          _Washington’s Room_

    [Illustration: Washington’s Room]

The room in which Washington died (December 14, 1799) deservedly
attracts special notice. The items of original furniture and personal
effects assembled here add much to the impressive character. A piece
associated with Washington’s childhood is his mother’s arm chair.
Washington’s bureau, washstand, mirror, etc., are shown. Most prominent
of all is the bedstead on which the great and good man breathed his

The mahogany shaving stand presented to Washington by the first French
minister to this country was recently recovered.

Washington’s crest and initials are wrought in the old fireback. Above
the mantel hangs an engraving, one of a set of five entitled “Sorrows of
Werther,” which belonged to the General. The arm chair at the foot of
the bed was used in this room when Washington died.

The two small rooms connecting with the bed-chamber were used
respectively as linen closet and dressing room. Between the doors of
these rooms now hangs the frame of Washington’s thermometer.

To the efforts of the late Mrs. Emma Reed Ball, for 44 years the
Vice-Regent for Virginia, is due, in great measure, the restoration of
this room.

    [Illustration: Chest]

                        _Mrs. Washington’s Room_

    [Illustration: Mrs. Washington’s Room]

The only room on the third floor historically interesting is the one in
which Mrs. Washington died. It must be explained that, following a
custom then prevalent, Washington’s room was closed after his death, and
his widow selected this attic room because from its only window she
could see the tomb where her husband’s body lay. Mrs. Washington died
here, May 22, 1802.

Until recently, the only original relics in this room were the washstand
presented by Mrs. Martha Mitchell, late Vice-Regent for Wisconsin, and
dressing glass presented by Mrs. George R. Goldsborough, late
Vice-Regent for Maryland. Now have been added a tea set owned by Mrs.
Washington, a christening bowl which belonged to Mrs. Washington’s
family—the Dandriges—and an old bed quilt believed to have been used at
Mount Vernon.

The care of this room fell to the Vice-Regent for Wisconsin.

    [Illustration: Basket]

                             _Second Floor_

Ascending by the stairway, from the main hall to the second floor, six
bedrooms are found—the Lafayette Room, River Room, Guest Chamber, Nellie
Custis Room, Green Room and Mrs. Washington’s Room. These are in charge
of the Vice-Regents representing, respectively, the following States:
New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, West Virginia and
Virginia. The first five rooms contain but little original furniture,
although all the articles are of historic importance and represent the
correct type of the Colonial period.

In the Nellie Custis Room are a table cover and footstool embroidered by

    [Illustration: LAFAYETTE ROOM]

    [Illustration: RIVER ROOM]

    [Illustration: GUEST ROOM]

    [Illustration: GREEN ROOM]

    [Illustration: NELLIE CUSTIS ROOM]

    [Illustration: Candlestick]

                              _Third Floor
          Spare rooms, third floor, furnished by States named_

The four spare rooms on this floor are furnished appropriately after the
old style, by the Vice-Regents for District of Columbia, Connecticut,
North Carolina and Maine. Formerly the Washingtons found these rooms
useful as spare chambers for the accommodation of guests. The good old
custom of keeping “open house” attracted to Mount Vernon hosts of their
friends traveling North and South, and doubtless the Mansion was often
taxed to its fullest capacity.

In the linen room on this floor may be seen Washington’s military chest,
and camp equipments used by his troops when serving with General

One of the chairs in the room furnished by Mrs. Mary T. Barnes, the late
Vice-Regent for District of Columbia, belonged to Washington.


    [Illustration: SPARE ROOM]

    [Illustration: SPARE ROOM]

    [Illustration: SPARE ROOM]

    [Illustration: SPARE ROOM]

    [Illustration: Urns]

                            _Flower Garden_

    [Illustration: Flower Garden]

Among all of the charms and attractions of the home of Washington, not
one can excel the beautiful flower garden—an ideal spot—with its
memories of General and Lady Washington who planned it, the prim box
hedges indelibly marking the walks and flower beds now as in the past.
Distinguished guests were invited to plant trees, shrubs and flowers,
mementos of their visits, many of which plantings have been perpetuated.
Lafayette and Jefferson have leafy monuments here, while the roses named
by Washington for his mother and Nellie Custis are daily sought by

At the end of the long walk in the garden is a little octagonal
structure known as the school room, in which it is supposed the Custis
children were taught their early lessons.

The greenhouse restorations are due to the efforts of Mrs. Martha
Mitchell, Mrs. Lucy H. Pickens and Miss Mary Lloyd Pendleton, late
Vice-Regents, respectively, for Wisconsin, South Carolina and Ohio.

                          _Servants’ Quarters_

Two long, red-roofed buildings adjoin the conservatory. These were the
quarters for a limited number of servants needed at the Mansion.
Comfortable cabins to house the rest of the negroes were located at
convenient distances about the plantation. Both these quarters were in
ruins, but have been restored—the West Quarters by Mrs. Jennie Meeker
Ward, late Vice-Regent for Kansas in 1890, and the East Quarters by Miss
Amy Townsend, late Vice-Regent for New York in 1897. While in exterior
form these buildings are identical with their original appearance, the
interior of each has been somewhat changed to meet existing

                            _Kitchen Garden_

    [Illustration: Kitchen Garden]

George Washington’s fondness for experimental gardening is shown by the
care with which he arranged these terraced beds for growing small fruits
and vegetables for the use of his household. His diary is evidence
enough of the eagerness with which he selected the best-known seed and
exploited, with more or less success, the latest improvements in

Sheltered by the walls he built, scions of original fig bushes still
flourish, while bordering the cross walk to the gate, the box hedge he
planted has developed to unusual proportions.

    [Illustration: _Compass_]

    [Illustration: _Spy Glass_]

    [Illustration: _Tripod_]

                          _The Carpenter Shop_

    [Illustration: The Carpenter Shop]

In Washington’s day this building was the center of much activity, it
being the all-essential tool-shop for general repairs.

In outward appearance its original character and purpose are still

Its interior arrangement, however, has been altered to meet the urgent
need of a fireproof repository for valuable records of the Association.

                          _The Spinning House_

The spinning house, north of the court, is where much material was
prepared for clothing the servants, and where rag carpets and other
fabrics were woven for the use of the family. Flax, cotton, wool and
silk were there put through the various processes of spinning and
weaving by skilled servants. The old loom, wheels, reels, and flaxbrake
were recovered by Mrs. Rebecca B. Flandrau, late Vice-Regent for
Minnesota, 1892.

    [Illustration: _Hunting Horn_]

    [Illustration: _Presented to General Washington by Agricultural
    Society of South Carolina as a Premium for raising the largest

                               _The Barn_

    [Illustration: The Barn]

The oldest building here is the barn, erected in 1733 by Washington’s
father. The bricks are said to have been brought from England, and they
were laid in strong mortar made of oyster-shell lime. The shingle roof
of this building was renewed in 1874, the cost being shared by all the
members of the Association. Substantial renovations of the interior were
effected in 1896-7 by Mrs. William Ames, the late Vice-Regent for Rhode

Here were stabled the coach horses and saddle horses. Washington’s
famous traveling coach, the “White Chariot,” as he called it, was kept
in the coach house near by. This coach house was restored in 1894 by the
Vice-Regent for Michigan, who was also instrumental in obtaining (1901)
the ancient vehicle now here, a duplicate of the original carriage owned
by Washington. From well-founded tradition it is believed that General
and Mrs. Washington frequently rode in this coach.

    [Illustration: WAGON JACK MADE IN 1764 BY PETER MOHR
    YORK, PA.

An original feature restored as Washington had it, was a “Ha Ha” wall
extending from opposite the barn to the summer house, also a screen wall
flanking the road from the barn to the kitchen.

                             _Summer House_

    [Illustration: Summer House]

On the brow of the steep hillside, south of the Mansion, overlooking the
river, is the summer house. It commands a beautiful view of the broad
Potomac, with the Maryland hills beyond, and doubtless was a favorite
resort in “ye olden time.” It was restored in 1886, the funds being
raised by the Vice-Regent for Louisiana, Mrs. Ida A. Richardson, through
the school children of her State. The deep cellar under the summer house
was intended for an ice house, but it is believed to have been abandoned
as such when another was constructed in a more convenient locality north
of the Mansion.

The wooded slope below the summer house was utilized by Washington for
his deer paddock, which was restored and stocked with Virginia deer, in
1887, by the sons of the late Mrs. Robert Campbell, Vice-Regent for

    [Illustration: _Telescope_]

                          _Mount Vernon Wharf_

    [Illustration: Mount Vernon Wharf]

Washington shipped much of his farm produce and supplies by water—and
today are landed at the wharf many pilgrims to the home and tomb of the
“Father of His Country.” The custom of tolling a bell as a mark of
respect to his memory is hallowed by its observance for more than a

The present covering of the wharf was provided in 1891 by Mrs. Phoebe A.
Hearst, late Vice-Regent for California. The parapet for protection of
the public was given by the Vice-Regent for the State of Washington, and
the Iron Gates by the Vice-Regent for Oregon.

Mrs. Hearst also caused to be built the substantial stone sea-wall as a
necessary protection to the wooded shore against wave-wash during
storms. This important improvement has enabled the Association to
complete the filling of neighboring ravines and swamps, thus
accomplishing a valuable reclamation now utilized as meadow land.

From the wharf a road and walk lead to the Tomb and Mansion.

    [Illustration: _Land Barometer_]

    [Illustration: _Ship Barometer_]

                               _Old Tomb_

    [Illustration: Old Tomb]

On the edge of the hill, midway down the road leading to the wharf, an
iron-railed enclosure marks where Washington’s remains rested from 1799
until 1831. This vault was constructed by George Washington, but later,
believing it to be insecure, he planned another tomb, which his
executors built. In April, 1831, all bodies in the old vault were
transferred to the new tomb.

The cause of apprehension as to safety of the old structure, resulting
in its abandonment, was the frequency of landslides near it.

Extensive repairs to the old tomb were made in 1887 by the Vice-Regent
for Michigan. The iron railing was found necessary for protection.

In 1908 the broad flight of brick steps was completely rebuilt, the
original material, suitable for the purpose, being used again.

    [Illustration: Washington Family]

                               _New Tomb_
“_Within this enclosure rest the remains of General George Washington._”

    [Illustration: New Tomb]

This plain statement empaneled above the doorway of the rigidly simple
brick vault at once marks its importance. Within the doubly ironed
portals may be seen two marble sarcophagi; that on the right contains
the body of General Washington and the one on the left the remains of
his wife. At the rear of this open vault, and connected with it through
a square iron door, is an inner vault containing the remains of many of
the Washington family. To the memory of Bushrod Washington and John
Augustine Washington, successors of the General (whose bodies are within
the vault), marble shafts were erected in front of the tomb, while to
the east are the graves of Nellie Custis and her daughter.

Washington selected this site for the vault only a few months before he
died. His executors carried out his explicit directions as to
construction, which accounts for its extreme simplicity. Because of
Washington’s distaste for display, the character of this tomb should
never be changed. Extensive repairs for the preservation of the original
structure were made by the Association in 1886. To this hallowed spot
come pilgrims from every land.

    [Illustration: Within this Enclosure Rest the remains of _Gen^l
    George Washington_.]

 _The Regents and Vice-Regents of the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association
    of the Union Since its Organization, with Dates of Appointment_

               MISS ANN PAMELA CUNNINGHAM, _Regent_, 1853-1873
                     (Resigned, 1873; Died, May 1, 1875)

 1858—    1  Mrs. Anna Cora Ogden Ritchie  resigned 1866  Virginia
          2  Mrs. Alice H. Dickinson       resigned 1859  North Carolina
          3  Mrs. Philoclea Edgeworth Eve  died     1889  Georgia
          4  Mrs. Octavia Walton Levert    died     1877  Alabama
          5  Mrs. Catharine A. McWillie    died     1872  Mississippi
          6  Mrs. Margaretta S. Morse      resigned 1872  Louisiana
          7  Mrs. Mary Rutledge Fogg       died     1872  Tennessee
          8  Mrs. Elizabeth M. Walton      resigned 1858  Missouri
          9  Miss Mary Morris Hamilton     resigned 1866  New York
         10  Mrs. Louisa Ingersoll         resigned 1865  Massachusetts
         11  Mrs. Abba Isabella Little     resigned 1866  Maine
         12  Mrs. Catherine Willis Murat   died     1867  Florida
         13  Mrs. Mary Booth Goodrich      resigned 1864  Connecticut
         14  Miss Phœbe Ann Ogden          died     1867  New Jersey
         15  Mrs. Alice Key Pendleton      resigned 1863
                                           died     1885  Ohio
         16  Mrs. Abby Wheaton Chace       died     1892  Rhode Island
         17  Mrs. Jane Maria van Antwerp   died     1870  Iowa
         18  Mrs. Margaret Ann Comegys     died     1888  Delaware
         19  Mrs. Hannah Blake Farnsworth  died     1879  Michigan
         20  Mrs. Sarah King Hale          resigned 1861  New Hampshire
         21  Mrs. Martha Mitchell          died     1902  Wisconsin
         22  Mrs. Rosa Vertner Johnson     died     1894  Kentucky
             Mrs. Janet M. C. Riggs,                      District of
             _Acting Vice-Regent_                         Columbia
 1859—   23  Mrs. Elizabeth Willard Barry  died     1883  Illinois
         24  Mrs. Sarah J. Sibley          died     1869  Minnesota
         25  Mrs. Mary Pepperell Jarvis    resigned 1878  Vermont
         26  Miss Lily Lytle Macalester    died     1891  Pennsylvania
         27  Mrs. Magdalen G. Blanding     resigned 1884  California
         28  Mrs. Harriet B. Fitch         died     1880  Indiana
         29  Mrs. Sarah H. Johnson         died     1866  Arkansas
         30  Mrs. Letitia Harper Walker    died     1908  North Carolina
 1860—   31  Mrs. Ann Lucas Hunt           died     1878  Missouri
         32  Mrs. Mary Chesnut             died     1867  South Carolina
 1866—   33  Mrs. Margaret J. M. Sweat     died     1908  Maine
         34  Miss Emily L. Harper          died     1891  Maryland
         35  Mrs. Lucy H. Pickens          died     1899  North Carolina
         36  Mrs. M. E. Hickman            resigned 1874  Nevada
         37  Mrs. M. A. Stearns            resigned 1873  New Hampshire
         38  Mrs. Emily R. M. Hewson       resigned 1872  Ohio
         39  Miss Ella Hutchins            resigned 1872  Texas
 1867—   40  Mrs. Janet M. C. Riggs        resigned 1868
                                           died     1871  District of
         41  Mrs. Maria Brooks             resigned 1876  New York
         42  Mrs. Matilda W. Emory         resigned 1873  District of
 1868—   43  Mrs. Nancy Wade Halsted       died     1891  New Jersey
         44  Mrs. Nannie C. Yulee          died     1884  Florida
 1870—   45  Mrs. Susan E. Johnson Hudson  died     1913  Connecticut
         46  Mrs. Ella Bassett Washington  died     1898  West Virginia
 1872—   47  Mrs. Betsy C. Mason           died     1873  Virginia
         48  Mrs. A. P. Dillon             resigned 1873
                                           died     1898  Iowa
         49  Mrs. C. L. Scott              resigned 1878  Arkansas
 1873—   50  Mrs. William Balfour          resigned 1875  Mississippi
         51  Mrs. Mary T. Barnes           died     1912  District of
         52  Mrs. David Urquehart          resigned 1876  Louisiana
         53  Miss M. E. Maverick           resigned 1873  Texas

            MRS. LILY LYTLE MACALESTER BERGHMAN, _Second Regent_
         (Made Acting Regent, 1873; Regent, June, 1874; Died, 1891)

 1874—   54  Mrs. Emma Read Ball           died     1918  Virginia
         55  Mrs. Aaron V. Brown           died     1889  Tennessee
 1875—   56  Mrs. Elizabeth Lytle          died     1890  Ohio
         57  Mrs. John P. Jones            resigned 1876  Nevada
 1876—   58  Mrs. Jennie Meeker Ward       died     1910  Kansas
         59  Mrs. Justine van Rensselaer   died     1912  New York
 1878—   60  Mrs. J. Gregory Smith         resigned 1884  Vermont
 1879—   61  Miss Alice M. Longfellow                     Massachusetts
         62  Mrs. Robert Campbell          died     1882  Missouri
 1880—   63  Mrs. Ida A. Richardson        died     1910  Louisiana
 1882—   64  Mrs. Ella S. Herbert          died     1884  Alabama


 1885—   65  Mrs. Elizabeth B. Adams       resigned 1919
                                           died     1923  Michigan
         66  Mrs. Mary T. Leiter           died     1913  Illinois
         67  Mrs. Janet de Kay King        died     1896  Vermont
         68  Mrs. Elizabeth Woodward       died     1987  Kentucky
 1888—   69  Miss Harriet Clayton Comegys  Elected  1909  Delaware
         70  Mrs. Fannie Gilchrist Baker   died     1901  Florida
 1889—   71  Mrs. Alice Hill               died     1908  Colorado
         72  Mrs. Rebecca B. Flandrau      died     1912  Minnesota
         73  Mrs. Phœbe A. Hearst          died     1919  California
 1890—   74  Mrs. A. R. Winder             died     1906  New Hampshire
 1891—   75  Mrs. Georgia Page Wilder      died     1914  Georgia

            MRS. JUSTINE Van RENSSELAER TOWNSEND, _Third Regent_
 (Elected Temporary Regent, December, 1891; Regent, June, 1892; Died, 1912)

 1893—   76  Mrs. Geo. R. Goldsborough     resigned 1904
                                           died     1906  Maryland
         77  Mrs. J. Dundas Lippincott     died     1894  Pennsylvania
         78  Miss Mary Lloyd Pendleton     resigned 1897  Ohio
         79  Mrs. Philip Schuyler          resigned 1894  New York
         80  Mrs. Christine Blair Graham   died     1915  Missouri
         81  Mrs. Francis Stevens Conover  died     1914  New Jersey
         82  Mrs. Mary Polk Yeatman Webb   died     1917  Tennessee
 1894—   83  Miss Lelia Herbert            died     1897  Alabama
 1895—   84  Mrs. Robert H. Clarkson       resigned 1900
                                           died     1902  Nebraska
         85  Mrs. William Ames             died     1904  Rhode Island
         86  Miss Amy Townsend             died     1920  New York
 1896—   87  Mrs. Charles Custis Harrison  died     1922  Pennsylvania
         88  Mrs. Thomas S. Maxey                         Texas
 1897—   89  Mrs. James E. Campbell        resigned 1902  Ohio
 1900—   90  Mrs. Robert D. Johnston                      Alabama
         91  Mrs. Charles F. Manderson     died     1916  Nebraska
         92  Mrs. Eugene van Rensselaer    died     1924  West Virginia
 1901—   93  Mrs. John Julius Pringle      died     1921  South Carolina
         94  Mrs. William F. Barret        died     1920  Kentucky
         95  Mrs. Charles Denby            died     1906  Indiana
 1905—   96  Mrs. Henry W. Rogers                         Maryland
 1907—   97  Mrs. Lewis Irwin              died     1916  Ohio
         98  Miss Mary F. Failing                         Oregon
         99  Mrs. Eliza Ferry Leary                       Washington
        100  Mrs. Frances Jones Ricks      resigned 1914  Mississippi
        101  Mrs. J. Carter Brown                         Rhode Island
 1909—  102  Mrs. A. B. Andrews            died     1915  North Carolina

                MISS HARRIET CLAYTON COMEGYS, _Fourth Regent_
        (Elected, May, 1909; Resigned, May, 1927; Died, August, 1927)

 1911—  103  Mrs. Alice H. Richards                       Maine
        104  Miss Mary Evarts              resigned 1923  Vermont
        105  Mrs. Antoine Lentilhon Foster                Delaware
 1912—  106  Miss Annie Ragan King                        Louisiana
        107  Miss Jane A. Riggs                           District of
 1913—  108  Mrs. Horace Mann Towner                      Iowa
        109  Mrs. Thomas Palmer Denham                    Florida
 1914—  110  Miss Harriet L. Huntress      died     1922  New Hampshire
        111  Mrs. Charles Eliot Furness                   Minnesota
        112  Mrs. Benjamin D. Walcott                     Indiana
        113  Mrs. Lucien M. Hanks                         Wisconsin
 1915—  114  Miss Annie Burr Jennings                     Connecticut
        115  Mrs. Willard Hall Bradford                   New Jersey
 1916—  116  Mrs. Charles Nagel                           Missouri
        117  Mrs. George A. Carpenter                     Illinois
        118  Miss Mary Govan Billups                      Mississippi
        119  Mrs. John V. Abrahams         resigned 1921  Kansas
 1919—  120  Mrs. William Ewen Shipp                      North Carolina
        121  Mrs. Horton Pope                             Colorado
        122  Mrs. Charles J. Livingood                    Ohio
        123  Mrs. Jefferson Randolph                      Georgia
        124  Mrs. Celsus Price Perrie      resigned 1922  Arkansas
 1920—  125  Mrs. Horace van Deventer                     Tennessee
        126  Mrs. Charles Stetson Wheeler                 California
 1921—  127  Mrs. William Ruffin Cox       died     1925  Virginia
 1922—  128  Mrs. Henry Gold Danforth                     New York
 1923—  129  Miss Mary Mason Scott                        Kentucky
        130  Mrs. Alexander C. Troup                      Nebraska
        131  Mrs. John Reynolds Shelton                   Kansas
        132  Mrs. Edward H. Parker         died     1924  Michigan
 1924—  133  Miss Mary Evarts                             Vermont
 1924—  134  Miss Virginia Leigh Porcher                  South Carolina
        135  Mrs. William R. Mercer        resigned 1928  Pennsylvania
        136  Miss Constance Lee Peterkin                  West Virginia
 1925—  137  Mrs. Benjamin S. Warren                      Michigan
 1927—  138  Mrs. Fairfax Harrison                        Virginia

                   MRS. ALICE H. RICHARDS, _Fifth Regent_
                            (Elected, May, 1927)

                            _Pohick Church_

    [Illustration: Pohick Church]

The parish church of Mount Vernon, six miles distant from the Mansion,
was built during the years 1768-70 from the plans drawn by General
Washington, who was a member of the building committee. He was a
vestryman of the parish for twenty years, and for the greater part of
that time was a regular attendant at service, never permitting, as
Bishop Meade says, “the weather or company to keep him from church.”
Subsequently Washington became connected with Christ Church, Alexandria,
where today his family pew may be seen as he used it.

Pohick Church, during the Civil War, was occupied at times by Federal
troops and all the interior furnishings were destroyed. The late
Vice-Regent for Michigan, Mrs. E. B. A. Rathbone, worked untiringly in
the interest of the church, and to her are due the large additions to
its endowment fund. Through the efforts of Miss Amy Townsend, former
Vice-Regent for New York, both interior and exterior have been
faithfully restored to their original appearance at the time of

    [Illustration: _To The
    Unknown Dead
    Pohick Church
    Tribute of Respect
    is paid the
    Many Parishioners
    Buried in this Hallowed Churchyard
    The Records are Lost & the Graves
    Cannot now be Identified

    [Illustration: MOUNT VERNON
    Modification of an original map drawn by George Washington]

    Photographed, Engraved and Printed by The Beck Engraving Co.,

                          Transcriber’s Notes

—Retained publication information from the printed edition: this eBook
  is public-domain in the country of publication.

—Corrected a few palpable typos.

—In the text versions only, text in italics is delimited by

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