Conjectural timeline based on 18th-century documentation

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Priscilla, age 36, is an enslaved woman assigned to fieldwork. She wakes up in the small cabin she shares with her 6 children at Dogue Run Farm

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6:00 AM

Priscilla tells her middle children, Penny (age 11) and Israel (10), what chores need to be done that day, including fetching water and gathering firewood. They will also watch their younger brothers, Isrias (3) and Christopher (1).

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6:15 AM

Priscilla walks to the fields with her two eldest children, Sophia (14) and Savary (13), who now work alongside her. 

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6:30 AM

Robert Garrett, the hired overseer, checks that the 15 enslaved laborers are in their places and tells them their work assignments. Priscilla and her daughters begin hoeing in the cornfield.

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9:00 AM

Priscilla and the other field workers pause for 30 minutes to eat breakfast, perhaps a cornmeal pancake.

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10:00 AM

Priscilla sees George Washington arrive at Dogue Run on his daily ride. He confers with the overseer and directs him to maintain the pace of work. 

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11:00 AM

Jack, a carter, hauls a load of corn in a small wagon from the farm to the nearby gristmill. He brings back heavy sacks containing 11 bushels of cornmeal, the weekly rations for those at Dogue Run. 

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2:00 PM

Field workers have a break for dinner, the largest meal of the day. Molly, the farm’s enslaved cook, has prepared a stew. 

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3:30 PM

The overseer orders a small group of men and women to begin digging up trees, roots, and stumps in the adjacent swamp. 

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5:00 PM

Young women Linney and Sarah feed the Dogue Run livestock: 4 horses, 10 mules, 52 cattle, 5 calves, 65 sheep, and 8 lambs. 

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8:00 PM

At sunset, the fieldhands return to their quarters. Priscilla makes a small supper of cornmeal and fish for her children, then washes the mud from her skirt. She will have to wear it again tomorrow. 

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Learn more about the clothing women like Priscilla wore

9:30 PM

Priscilla’s husband, Joe, who is enslaved and works at Mansion House Farm arrives. Work assignments force the family to live apart. Joe can visit on Sundays but sometimes comes during the week, disobeying Washington’s orders.

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10:00 PM

The residents of Dogue Run Farm go to bed. Some sleep on tattered pallets, others on dirt floors. 

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4:30 AM

Joe walks the 3 miles back to Mansion House Farm in time to begin the next day’s work.

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Resistance and Punishment

People enslaved at Mount Vernon found many ways to resist their bondage and challenge George Washington’s authority.

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The content on this page was adapted from Lives Bound Together: Slavery at George Washington’s Mount Vernon, an exhibition on view in the Donald W. Reynolds Museum & Education Center from 2016–2020.

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