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William Pearce was a hired farm manager who worked for George Washington from 1793 until 1796. Pearce's arrival in December of 1793 was delayed by the illness of his eldest daughter. Pearce eventually arrived at Mount Vernon ahead of his family's arrival by several months. Pearce lived in the Mansion before his family arrived, given time to determine whether he would like to continue living there or wanted to move elsewhere once his family joined him at Mount Vernon. The farm manager was also directed to, "let there be as much Cooked every day as will serve the Gardeners &ca., after you have done with it, as the case used to be when I was at home."1

Pearce's family was able to get to Mount Vernon by the spring of 1794, however, his daughter continued to suffer from poor health and died in the fall of 1794. This led Washington to write to Pearce, "I am very sorry to hear of the loss of your daughter, but as it was an event long expected you must have been prepared for the stroke."2

In 1795 and 1796, Pearce made a salary of 140 pounds per year. On December 30, 1795, Pearce was also paid an additional thirteen pounds, six shillings, and eight pence for managing Union Farm from the death of the overseer there through the end of the year.3


1. "George Washington to William Pearce, 27 October 1793," The Writings of George Washington, Vol. 33, ed. John C. Fitzpatrick (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office), 142; "George Washington to William Pearce, 12 January 1794," The Writings of George Washington, Vol. 33, 239.

2. "George Washington to William Pearce, 28 December 1793," "6 April 1794,"  "13 July 1794," "20 July 1794," The Writings of George Washington, Vol. 33, 218, 314, 429, 435.

3. "Account for William Pearce," Mount Vernon Farm Ledger, Jan. 1794-Dec. 1796 (Mount Vernon: Mount Vernon Ladies' Association), 18; "Cash Account," Mount Vernon Farm Ledger, Jan. 1794-Dec. 1796, 61.