A master farmer and estate manager who worked at Mount Vernon from 1790 until 1793, Anthony Whiting signed a contract with George Augustine Washington (George Washington's nephew and the acting manager of Mount Vernon in George Washington's absence) on May 20, 1790.
Whiting's original Articles of Agreement explained that he would "serve the said President for the space of one year to commence the first day of June next as an Overlooker of his two Farms, which are united and distinguished as the Ferry & Frenches. . ."
Whiting's contract further explained that he would be paid "the sum of forty Guineas per annum," and was provided "three hundred weight of Pork and one hundred weight of Beef at killing time," as well as four hundred pounds "of Flour distinguished as midlings," a cow, chickens to raise, and a slave to serve as a cook.1
Following Whiting's death, when George Washington was searching for a replacement, he wrote glowingly about his former farm manager. Washington explained that, "The death of my late Manager, Mr. Anthy. Whiting, making it necessary for me to look out for some person to supply his place. . .In fine, if I could [find] a man as well qualified for my purposes as the late Mr. Whitting (whom I presume you know, as he managed an Estate of Gen. Cadwallader's in your neighborhood for some years) I should esteem myself very fortunate."2
Several months later, while instructing Whiting's replacement about the duties of the job, it was obvious that Washington's feelings had shifted significantly with new information. Washington wrote that, "Nothing will contribute more to effect these desirable purposes than a good example, unhapply this was not set (from what I have learnt lately) by Mr. Whiting, who, it is said, drank freely, kept bad company at my house and in Alexandria, and was a very debauched person, wherever this is the case it is not easy for a man to throw the first stone for fear of having it returned to him. . ."
Moreover, Washington expressed his opinion that Whiting's lack of attention to details were problematic, explaining that "Mr. Whiting did not look more scrupulously into the conduct of the Overseers, and more minutely into the smaller matters belonging to the Farms; which, though individually may be trifling, are not found so in the agregate; for there is no addage more true than an old Scotch one, that 'many mickles make a muckle.'"3
1. "Articles of Agreement between George Augustine Washington and Anthony Whiting, 20 May 1790," The Papers of George Washington, Presidential Series, Vol. 5, 332n-333n.
2. "George Washington to William Tilghman, 21 July 1793," The Writings of George Washington, Vol. 33, ed. John C. Fitzpatrick (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office), 24-6.
3. "George Washington to William Pearce, 18 December 1793," The Writings of George Washington, Vol. 33:191-2.