An undertaker from Alexandria, Virginia, in the fall of 1789 John Saunders "came down [to Mount Vernon]…to advise a proper mode of Shingling putting Copper in the Gutters between the Pediments & Dormants [dormers], and the Roof and to conduct the Water along the Eves to Spouts & promised to be down again…to see the work properly begun."1
Saunders is described in Fairfax County deed books between 1774 and 1790 variously as a carpenter, architect, and joiner. In addition, Saunders was a partner of carpenter John Elton in Alexandria, until the latter’s death in October of 1784. Saunders was appointed "Measurer of boards plank and Scantling in the Town of Alexandria" in March of 1783 and, in April of the following year, along with Edward Ramsey and Neil Mooney, was appointed a superintendent "of the Streets and Highways in the Town of Alexandria."2
1. "September 1785," The Diaries of George Washington. Vol. IV, 1784-June 1786, eds. Donald Jackson and Dorothy Twohig (Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1978), 199.