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April-November 2003InteractiveDig Mount Vernon
Courtesy Historic Mount Vernon

Insurance Document

In 1803, Lawrence Lewis insured the distillery, mill, and miller's cottage with the Mutual Assurance Society of Virginia Company. The distillery, valued at $1,200, was described as constructed of stone with a wooden roof, 75 by 30 feet. The mill, valued at $4,000, was stone with a wooden roof. The miller's cottage, valued at $200, was wood, 24 by 16 feet.

Washington's Letters

George Washington to James Anderson
Philadelphia, January 8, 1797

...I consent to your commencing a distillery, and approve of your purchasing the Still, and entering of it. And I shall not object to your converting part of the Coopers shop at the Mill to this operation....

It is to be wished however, that it [the distillery] could be nearer your own house, or at the Mansion house; for I fear at the Mill, idlers (of which, and bad people there are many around it) under pretence of coming there with grist could not be restrained from visiting the Distillery, nor probably from tempting the Distiller, nay more robbing the Still; as the Mill would always afford a pretext for coming to that place....

George Washington to James Anderson
Philadelphia, January 22, 1797

...and being satisfied from your observations, and indeed (on reflection) from what had occurred to me before, of the necessity of water passing thro the Distillery, I cannot do otherwise than approve of the establishment at the Mill, for temporary purposes. The result of which must decide for or against a more permanent one, on a larger scale at that place...

George Washington to James Anderson
Mount Vernon, June 18, 1797

Distillery. Is a business I am entirely unacquainted with; but from your knowledge of it and from the confidence you have in the profit to be derived from the establishment, I am disposed to enter upon one....

George Washington to Tobias Lear
Mount Vernon, September 10, 1797

Dear Sir
   I have almost determined to build the Walls of the House intended for a Distillery (at my Mill) of Stone, for the sake of expedition; as the Carpenters work can be carrying on at the same time. Having this in contemplation, I would thank you for informing at what price foundation Stone from the Falls could be delivered to a Boat as near to my Mill as the Vessel could get and whether any person would undertake the delivery there accordingly. I shall use freestone from my own Quarry for the building above the Foundation....


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