In March of 1767, George Washington went to Williamsburg for a legislative session. He wrote back to Mount Vernon that he was going to be there longer than he’d expected, or perhaps that he’d visit the Dismal Swamp before returning.
On 30 March, Martha Washington wrote back, in a postscript to a letter by plantation manager Lund Washington:
My DearestFascinating stuff, huh? You might well wonder why Boston 1775 is devoting a whole entry to this letter. That’s because this is the only signed letter from Martha Washington to George that’s known to have survived. (There’s also an unsigned note, now owned by the Virginia Historical Society.)
It was with very great pleasure I see in your letter that you got safely down. We are all very well at this time but it still is rainney and wett. I am sorry you will not be at home soon as I expected you. I had reather my sister woud not come up so soon as May woud be much plasenter time than April. We wrote you last post as I have nothing new to tell you I must conclude myself
Your most Affectionate
In 1994, when Joseph E. Fields published a volume of Martha Washington’s papers, he knew the text of this letter but didn’t know where it was. In 2003 the document resurfaced at a Christie’s auction, and Mount Vernon bought it. The image above comes from a report in Antiques and the Arts.