as a Surveyor
George Washington (1732-1799)
Holograph manuscript survey,
March 22, 1750
Acquired by purchase in 1998
with funds from the
Madison Council (109B.4)
Occupational portrait of an unidentified surveyor
Prints & Photographs Division Purchase/exchange, 1981 (109B.5)
[Digital ID# cph 3g03941]
Trained as a surveyor at Mount Vernon, George Washington began
work as a surveyor's assistant in 1748 when he was just sixteen-years-old.
Because the neighboring plantation of Belvoir was owned by a member
of the Fairfax family, in 1749 Washington was named one of the surveyors
of Lord Fairfax's Northern Neck Proprietary of five million acres
between the Potomac and Rappahanock Rivers in Virginia. During his
three years in service as one of the proprietor's surveyors, Washington
prepared this survey of two hundred acres in Frederick County, Virginia,
for John Madden.
Also shown is a mid nineteenth-century daguerreotype of an unidentified
surveyor photographed with a transit and calipers—indispensable
tools of the trade.