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A hired overseer working at Union Farm from 1796 to 1797, John Violet appears a handful of times in the historic record. James Anderson, a Mount Vernon farm manager, informed George Washington on February 14, 1797, that Violet was an effective overseer. Several months later, Violet demanded higher wages, though Washington refused. Violet's former farm manager, William Pearce agreed with Washington's decision, writing "I should have thought Viliott and Cash ought to have Been Satisfied with the wages they Receve, if you would keep them at the same, without wanting them Raised. for they are as high as they ought to expect."1

In December of 1796, John Violet was paid forty-five pounds as "his wage in full." Farm manager William Pearce wrote of Violet that he "had no cause to complain of his conduct."2 Violet was also reimbursed the sum of nine shillings and three pence for "window Glass Bought by him." Violet's salary in 1797 included: sixty pounds in cash, two hundred pounds of middling flour, five barrels of corn, 500 pounds of pork and beef, 1000 herrings, 100 shad, and the opportunity to keep two cows through the year.  Charges against his account included: additional herrings, two bushels of salt, over fifty gallons of whiskey, stud fees for breeding his mare to Traveller, a cash advance, and a charge for keeping his horse.3



1. "George Washington to William Pearce, 17 July 1797,” Founders Online, National Archives, and "William Pearce to George Washington, 24 July 1797," Founders Online, National Archives,

2. See "Cash Account," Mount Vernon Farm Ledger, Jan. 1794-Dec. 1796 (Mount Vernon, VA: Mount Vernon Ladies' Association), 81; see also "Account with John Violet" and "Cash Account," Mount Vernon Farm Ledger, Jan. 1794-Dec. 1796 (bound photostat, Mount Vernon Ladies' Association), 109, 113.

3. See account for "John Violet," Mount Vernon Farm Ledger, 1797-1798, 25, 26.