State Highway Marker

State Highway Marker

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Love in War-1779

LEONIDAS, a beautiful blood bay, full 15 hands and a half high, with a remarkable stout and elegant form, will stand the ensuing season at my estate in New Kent, and cover mares at 18£ 6s the season, and 6£ the single leap; the money to be paid when the mares is first covered. Pasturage will be furnished gratis, but I will not be answerable for escapes. Leonidas is in very perfect order for covering, 5 years old next grass, and has never received the smallest injury; it is therefore probable he will be very successful in his endeavours to propagate his species. He was got by Col. Loyd's Traveller(of Maryland) who was got by Morton's Traveller, his dam Col. Tayloe's mare Jenny Cameron, Leonidas's dam was got by Morton's Traveller, his grandam Col. Tasker's Selima, by the Godolphin Arabian.

                                                                                 JOHN P. CUSTIS

-Virginia Gazette,  March 5, 1779

John P. Custis(1754-1781) was the stepson of George Washington, Martha Washington's son by her first husband Daniel Parke Custis(1711– 1757). He was the owner of White House in New Kent, the largest plantation in the county at the time.

An interesting sidebar is the date. While John Parke Custis was negotiating stud fees, George Washington and the Continental Army were struggling by in winter quarters in Middlebrook, New Jersey.

As to the prices being demanded, the advertisement list a charge of "18£. 6s the season, and 6£ the single leap," or 18 pounds, 6 shillings or 366 shillings. Now what does that mean? The salary of a British soldier of the time(Continental Army salary being a difficult comparison due to an uncertain exchange rate and rampant inflation) was 8 pence a day. At 240 pence a pound that comes to roughly a pound a month. 
So, 6 months salary or a "single leap."

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