And so Philip Vickers Fithian began his January 1, 1774 diary entry. The young and impressionable New Jersey native and recent Princeton graduate was writing from Virginia’s Northern Neck where he was a tutor at “Nomini Hall,” the plantation of Robert Carter III.
Another Year is gone! Last New years Day I had not the most remote expectation of being now here in Virginia! Perhaps by the next I shall have made a longer and more important Remove, from this to the World of Spirits!
It is well worth the while, for the better improving of our time to come to recollect and reflect upon the Time which we have spent; The Season seems to require it; it will give entertainment at least, perhaps much substantial pleasure too, to be able to make with a considerable degree of certainty a review of the general course of our Actions in the course of a year. This shall be my employment, so far as I am able to recollect, when I shall have suitable time for the fixing & laying my thoughts together–
In the mean time I observe that the Day is most pleasant, the wind is West, not fresh; the air is void of clouds, but near the Earth is smoky; the Ground is clear of Frost and setled, what can be finer? Mr. Carter Miss Prissy and myself were to have rode out for an Exercise at twelve, but we were prevented by the coming of a Gentleman, Dr. Fantleroy, to whom Mr. Carter introduced me–
After Dinner was finished which was about four o-Clock, Miss Prissy & Myself, together with a Servant (for Mr. Carter would not trust us alone he said) rode on Horse-Back to Mr. Turbuvilles, about three quarters of a Mile distance; It is the first time I have been there, the House is near, & in Sight, and the families intimate. I rode my Horse for the first time since his misfortune. When we returned about Candlelight, we found Mrs. Carter in the yard seeing to the Roosting of her Poultry; and the Colonel in the Parlour tuning his Guitar.