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Mrs. Barnes

An occasional housekeeper who worked for the Washingtons during the American Revolution. Martha Washington initially rejected her husband's suggestion that Mrs. Barnes serve as housekeeper during her absences in the Revolution, prompting temporary farm manager Lund Washington to write: "So that what to me is very disagreeable, I must encounter that of housekeeping, but I will cheerfully do that and everything that lays in my power for you.…"1 Mrs. Barnes apparently stayed at Mount Vernon for a time during the war while Lund Washington was forced to be away on business, but her ultimate status is somewhat unclear. Several months later, Lund Washington reported that: "I am by no means fit for a housekeeper. I am afraid I shall consume more than ever, for I am not a judge how much should be given out every day. I am vexed when I am called upon to give out provisions for the day.  God send you were both at home, and an end to these troublesome times.…"2

Notes
1.
"Lund Washington to George Washington, 14 November 1775," The Papers of George Washington Digital Edition, ed. Theodore J. Crackel. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, Rotunda, 2008.

2. "Lund Washington to George Washington, 24 November 1775," "10 December 1775," "23 December 1775," and "17 January 1776," The Papers of George Washington Digital Edition.