"It is my Will and desire that all the Slaves which I hold in my own right shall receive their freedom."
George Washington in his will, 1799
Of the 316 slaves at Mount Vernon in 1799, most lived and worked on the four outlying farms. About one of every four working slaves was a skilled worker such as a blacksmith, carpenter or shoemaker. The majority of women, worked in the fields, but some filled the position of spinner, weaver, cook, house servant, and seamstress. The 1799 figure reflects the expansion of the plantation since the time of George and Martha Washington's wedding in 1759, when there were about 50 slaves at Mount Vernon.