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Kitty was an enslaved dairy maid at Mount Vernon. She came to the plantation as an enslaved person after Martha Washington married George Washington. As a dairy maid, Kitty milked the cows. She used the milk to produce cream and butter for the Washingtons.

She needed to know how to take care of dairy cows. She also needed to know how to process the cow’s milk into cream. She churned the cream into butter. She brought these foods to the kitchen so the cook, Lucy, could use them in making meals for the Washington family and their guests.

Kitty was married to Isaac. His slaveholder was George Washington. Isaac was an enslaved skilled carpenter. Kitty and Isaac had their first daughter in 1772, and by 1799 they had nine daughters. Three of their daughters learned Kitty’s skills and helped her in the dairy. Kitty also was a spinner, turning sheep’s wool into thread, which was used to make clothing for other enslaved people.

Complete the Analysis Routine

1. What role did Kitty have at Mount Vernon?

2. What ingredient did Kitty contribute to the ice cream recipe?

3. What was Kitty’s life like? What questions would you like to ask Kitty if you could talk to her?

4. How did the historian who wrote this secondary source get the information included in this biography?

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