Skip to main content

An indentured stonemason and bricklayer, Cornelius McDermott Roe worked at Mount Vernon from 1784 until 1787. Roe was one of twenty-four Irish servants sold from the ships Angelica and Washington at Alexandria in August of 1784. After his two-year indenture was completed, Roe signed a contract to work for George Washington for another year, in return for a salary of thirty-two pounds plus board, lodging, washing, an allowance of spirits, clothing to be made and mended at Washington's expense from materials supplied by Roe, and an agreement by Washington to pay Roe's taxes and parish levies.

Roe was also to be allowed one day off per quarter to tend to personal business. Among Roe's duties were to "instruct to the best of his skill and judgements, any person, or persons who shall be placed with him for that purpose, in the Art & misteries of his Trade." Two of Roe's brothers were also employed by George Washington as ditchers. Roe later worked on the construction of buildings in the Federal City, including the United States Capitol.


Cornelius McDermott and George Washington, "1 August 1786, Memorandum of Agreement." George Washington Papers at the Library of Congress, 1741-1799: Series 4. General Correspondence. 1697-1799.

"7 September 1785," The Diaries of George Washington, Vol. 4, 191n.

Mesick, Cohen & Waite, Historic Structures Report (Mount Vernon Ladies' Association), 2-41.