Slide 4 — Farmer George
Even though he had led the American troops in the Revolutionary War and had been the first President of the United States, George Washington loved nothing better than to work at home on his plantation in Virginia.
Named "Mount Vernon," his plantation was really five different farms. Each week, Washington expected a report from his manager on what had happened at each of the farms. The report was supposed to describe the temperatures each day, the type of work that the slaves did, the crops that were harvested and the number of animals on each farm. We have been able to learn a great deal about farming and slavery at Mount Vernon by studying these Farm Reports.
Although tobacco was a popular crop in Virginia, Washington's main crop was wheat. He also raised livestock, rented his lands and sold some of the fish that his slaves caught in the nearby Potomac River.
There were 317 slaves who worked on the farms at Mount Vernon. Of these, 124 belonged to Washington and 153 belonged to George's wife, Martha. He paid a neighbor to use the others. In his will, George Washington wrote that his slaves should be freed when his wife died.