Skip to main content

Ben was a widower with three small children at the time of the 1799 census of enslaved people at Mount Vernon.1 The three children that Ben had with his wife Joan were: Simon, Bett, and Agnes. Later in life, Ben married Peg, an enslaved woman owned by the estate of Martha Washington's first husband, Daniel Parke Custis. Ben worked as a plower in 1792, and in the fall of 1799 was given $1.00 "as an Encouragement for [his] Perseverance in Harvest" implying that he also did agricultural work.2



1. "Washington’s Slave List, June 1799," Founders Online, National Archives

2. "25 October 1799," Mount Vernon Distillery & Fishery Ledger, 1799-1801 (manuscript, Mount Vernon Ladies' Association; photostat, RM-297/PS-2915).