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Delicious and historic, the 1974 Contino, Rioja Reserva

October 19, 2017 Leave a comment

Compañía Vinícola del Norte de España (CVNE) has produced the legendary Viña Real since the 1920s.  CVNE was founded in 1879 by Eusebio and Raimundo Real de Asua and in the 1960s, 4th generation Jose Angel de Madrazo y Real de Asua became General Manager of Viña Real.

Jose Madrazo responsibilities included purchasing additional fruit for the winery.  He largely purchased fruit from Rioja Alavesa where he discovered the Laserna vineyards.  Such is the quality of these vineyards that CVNE winemaker Ezequiel García used the Laserna fruit exclusively for the top-quality Viña Real Reserva Especial.

Recognizing the importance of the vineyards, the CVNE family and others formed the society Viñedos del Contino in 1973.  By purchasing the Laserna vineyards they became the first single-vineyard estate in Rioja of which Jose Madrazo was the first General Manager.

Two years ago I was fortunate to dine with Jesús Madrazo the 5th generation of the founders and son of Jose Madrazo.  Jesús Madrazo began working at CVNE and Contino in 1995, soon becoming technical director or head winemaker in 1999.  For our dinner he brought a bottle of the first vintage produced under his father, the 1974 Vinedos del Contino, Rioja Reserva.

At the time of the 1974 vintage, Viña Real was produced at its own small winery.  It is here that the first vintages of Contino were produced and bottled. Viña Real always appears in Burgundy shaped bottles so too was this Contino when it was bottled in 1979.  Fortunate for me Jesus Madrazo’s father had the foresight to set aside some 4,000 bottles of this vintage for future tastings.

The wine itself is excellent which speaks to the quality of the vineyards and to the knowledge transferred from Viña Real to Contino.  I found it uniquely floral on the nose and in a nod to Viña Real, full-bodied with lively acidity.  This is traditional, old Rioja delivering full flavor with age-defying life.

1974 Vinedos del Contino, Rioja Reserva
Alcohol 12.6%.  This was refreshed at one point with 10-15% of the 1975 vintage.  The nose offers dried flowers, black tea, and with air such fruit as plums.  In the mouth this is a full bodied, ripe flavored, and mouth filling wine.  There is vibrant acidity and still supportive structure which will see this wine through future years.  It is in no sense fragile.  **** Now – 2025.

CVNE advertisements from the 1920s

October 12, 2017 Leave a comment

CVNE advertisement from La Semena Grafica from 1923. Biblioteca Nacional de Espana.

This weekend I will be hosting a tasting of wines from the historic CVNE estate in Rioja.  We will visit paired flights of Imperial Gran Reserva and Viña Real Reserva Especial/Gran Reserva from the 1976, 1973, 1970, 1966, and 1964 vintages.  Both the Imperial and Viña Real brands originated in the early 1920s.  During the fall of 1921 the publication El Progreso Agricula y Pecuario visited the “old and well-established” winery.[1]  They found that the new, modern elements of the winery, unseen to many before, were “successfully” applied to “elaborate” the wines.  I have included two advertisements that ran quite frequently.  As you can see they are very modest.

CVNE advertisement from La Nacion, June 10, 1926. Biblioteca Nacional de Espana.


[1] El Progreso Agricula y Pecuario. No 1219. October 22, 1921. Biblioteca Nacional de Espana.

“[T]he Corner of Church and Tradd Streets”: The wine store of Louis Danjou 1806-1821

Advertisement for the corner of Church and Tradd Streets by Leduc & Danjou. May 26, 1808.

The firm of Leduc & Danjou announced the opening of their “wine store” in Charleston during the month of December 1806.[1]  With 15 years experience importing goods into Baltimore they felt they could offer “ample satisfaction” with their selections of wines, liquors, and groceries.  The initial offer of nine pipes of London Particular Madeira, from the 1800 vintage, must have been calculated to do just that.  The partners were also careful to note they had obtained a license of type No. 1 to sell “Spirituous Liquors and Wines”.

The firm of Leduc & Danjou was not the first to legally sell wine and spirits in Charleston just one of a handful to do so under reorganized laws.  The laws of South Carolina, dating back to the 17th century, were complex from adopted British statutes, years of legislation, and the recent independence of the country resulting in persistent confusion despite a few efforts at organization.

In one effort to finally provide clarification of the law, the Commissioners of High Roads and Bridges were empowered in 1801 to issue licenses to tavern keepers and retailers of spirituous liquors. [2]  The Commissioners were positions first enacted at the beginning of the 18th century and were repeatedly called upon to build and repair roads, bridges, and ferries in their parishes and cities.[3]  The 1801 enactment expanded oversight to include the licensing of liquor and wine outlets as well as to keepers of billiard tables.

The three story Louis Danjou house is at the top of the intersection in the center of the map. Crop from Bird’s eye view of the city of Charleston, South Carolina 1872. LOC. [12]

There were three types of licenses granted, licensed liquor stores of type No. 1, licensed taverns of type No. 2, and licensed retailers of type No. 3.[4] Leduc & Danjoy operated their wine store under liquor license type No. 1.  They first opened their wine store at 117 Queen St. from which they sold wine and spirits for half of a year before taking over the location occupied by Joseph Alexander at the corner of Church and Tradd Streets.[1]  Like Leduc & Danjou, Joseph Alexander operated with a liquor license.  In May 1806, Joseph Alexander received one of four liquor licenses, as compared to 48 licenses granted for retailers at the same time.  His liquor licenses was good for one year.  He did not renew it upon expiration thus left the corner of Church and Tradd Streets.  It is this corner that Leduc & Danjou moved to in June 1807.[5]

The southwest corner of Church and Tradd Streets, Charleston, SC, as it stands today.

The south-west corner of Church and Tradd Streets is known as Brewton’s Corner after Michael or Miles Brewton who owned the lot since before 1715.[6]  Various structures existed here with the lot eventually split into two pieces.  Around 1810 the lot was recombined into one piece and the existing three-story brick structure was built by Louis Danjou.  If the advertised location of the street address, No. 31 at the corner of Church and Tradd St., implies the new brick structure was complete, then the partners had settled into their new digs along with 60 pipes of old London Particular Madeira.[7]  However, I must point out that in July 1820, Louis Danjou relocated from the south-west corner to the north-east corner while unspecified repairs were undertaken through the end of December 1820. [8]  Perhaps this represents the period when the current brick structure was built.

Temporary residence at the northeast corner of Church and Tradd Streets, Charleston, SC, as it stands today.

Over the years London Particular Madeira was always on hand at the store including such vintages as 1800 and 1803.  There were also bottles of Malmsey, old Chateau Lafite, and even a Vin de Grave that was “a cooling drink in the summer”.

Advertisement for wines by the firm Leduc & Danjou. August 11, 1807.

During October 1812, Louis Danjou dissolved his partnership in Leduc & Danjou.[9]  Whether this was due to the difficulties in shipping during the War of 1812, between Great Britain and America, is unclear.  It is clear that he did not advertise the sale of goods until February 1814 when, under new partnership with Antoine Barbot, he formed Louis Danjou &  Co.  His resumed with an advertisement for goods headed “Grocery Store continued.”[10]  His listing, of course, includes old Madeira and Malmsey.

Louis Danjou went on to maintain the business, in one form or another, until his death in 1821.[11] [13] [14]  He continued to import Madeira direct from the island using two established houses the names of which he never disclosed.  This was typical of established merchants but not for the new.  In 1817, one merchant carried the wines of Leacock.  In 1819 and 1820, multiple merchants began carrying the wines of Leacock Co., Murdock, Yuille, Wardrop, & Co., Newton, Gordon, & Scott,  and Scott, Pringle & Co.  It is also during this period Sercial and Tinta Negra are also offered for the first time. The Madeira trade in Charleston had begun to change.


[1] Advertisement.  Date: Thursday, December 18, 1806 Paper: City Gazette (Charleston, South Carolina) Volume: XXV Issue: 7813 Page: 2

[2] Johnston, A.S. The Statutes at Large of South Carolina: Acts relating to roads, bridges and ferries, with an appendix, containing the militia acts prior to 1794. 1841. URL: https://books.google.com/books?id=t7Q4AAAAIAAJ&pg=PR1#v=onepage&q&f=false

[3] Johnston, A. S. The Statutes at Large of South Carolina: Acts, 1787-1814. 1839. URL: https://books.google.com/books?id=S7E4AAAAIAAJ&pg=PP11#v=onepage&q&f=false

[4] Advertisement. Date: Wednesday, May 7, 1806 Paper: Charleston Courier (Charleston, South Carolina) Volume: IV Issue: 1027 Page: 4

[5]Advertisement. Date: Saturday, June 27, 1807 Paper: Charleston Courier (Charleston, South Carolina) Volume: V Issue: 1378 Page: 2

[6] Do You Know Your Charleston? Brewton Corner. Date: Monday, July 28, 1941 Paper: Charleston News and Courier (Charleston, South Carolina) Page: 10

[7] Advertisement. Date: Monday, May 27, 1811 Paper: Charleston Courier (Charleston, South Carolina) Volume: IX Issue: 2591 Page: 3

[8] Advertisement. Date: Thursday, July 13, 1820 Paper: City Gazette (Charleston, South Carolina) Volume: XL Issue: 12961 Page: 3 and Advertisement. Date: Wednesday, December 20, 1820 Paper: Southern Patriot (Charleston, South Carolina) Page: 3

[9] Advertisement. Date: Friday, October 30, 1812 Paper: City Gazette (Charleston, South Carolina) Volume: XXXI Issue: 10517 Page: 3

[10] Advertisement.  Date: Saturday, February 19, 1814 Paper: Charleston Courier (Charleston, South Carolina) Volume: XII Issue: 4418 Page: 1

 

[12] Drie, C. N. Bird’s eye view of the city of Charleston, South Carolina 1872. [N.P, 1872] Map. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, https://www.loc.gov/item/75696567/. (Accessed June 29, 2017.)

[13] Advertisement. Date: Saturday, February 26, 1814 Paper: Charleston Courier (Charleston, South Carolina) Volume: XII Issue: 4424 Page: 1

[14] Advertisement. Date: Wednesday, April 11, 1821 Paper: Southern Patriot (Charleston, South Carolina) Page: 1

 

“Second Door from the Corner”: Old Madeira advertisements by John Mitchell of Charleston

Advertisement for wines by John Mitchell at 43 Bay Street. May 18, 1786. [5]

John Mitchell (1741–1816) was a merchant in the British West Indies before joining his brother Randall Mitchell at business in Philadelphia in 1769.  During the Revolutionary War, John Mitchell became deputy quartermaster general and even entertained George and Martha Washington.[1]  After the war, John Mitchell moved to Charleston where he led an active life.  He was a merchant, warden, magistrate, and notary public. [2]

John Mitchell is of interest not only because of his sales of “Genuine old Madeira” of the London Market and London Particular quality but his inclusion of 1756 and 1766 Hock along with both Hermitage and “[Cote] Rotie”.  These were the early years for the importation of Hermitage and Cote Rotie in America for the earliest reference I am aware of appears in the correspondence  of the Carroll family of Maryland during 1772.

103 and 105 East Bay St at Elliott St, Charleston, SC, as it appears today.

It is one building south of the corner of Bay Street and Elliott Street, now 105 East Bay St,  that John Mitchell first sold an extensive selection of wines imported from Philadelphia beginning in 1785. [3] [4]  One year later, in 1786, he  sold wine out of 43 Bay Street for at least the next two years. [5]  After 1788, his advertisements fall silent.  It is possible that Mitchell’s rising prominence as  a Mason and member of the Society of the Cincinnati that led him to leave the wine merchant business.

43 East Bay St in 1937. LOC. [7]

During the period when John Mitchell sold wine he maintained his residence at 30 Bay Street. [6]  Charleston houses typically combined both residential and commercial spaces so it is interesting that he did not always reside above his store. The only period during which he did so was September 1786 and October 1786.[8][9]  Perhaps he was temporarily holding stock during his transition from 105 to 43 East Bay St.  I do not yet have information on the history of his residence but it is known that both 43 East Bay St, built c. 1755, and 105 East Bay St, built c. 1787, both operated as commercial properties on the ground floor. [10]  One possibility for his moving business was to increase space for his business.  It should be possible to obtain plats or floor plans to see if this is true.  If I am able to obtain them then I will update this post.


[1] “To George Washington from John Mitchell, 20 May 1789,” Founders Online, National Archives, last modified March 30, 2017, http://founders.archives.gov/documents/Washington/05-02-02-0248. [Original source: The Papers of George Washington, Presidential Series, vol. 2, 1 April 1789 – 15 June 1789, ed. Dorothy Twohig. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1987, pp. 347–348.]

[2] Poll Lists Charleston Municipal Elections 1787. Source: The South Carolina Historical Magazine, Vol. 56, No. 1 (Jan., 1955), pp. 45-49. Published by: South Carolina Historical Society. Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/27565984

[3] Advertisement. Date: Wednesday, October 26, 1785 Paper: Columbian Herald (Charleston, South Carolina) Issue: 115 Page: 1

[4] Advertisement. Date: Saturday, May 7, 1785 Paper: South-Carolina Gazette and General Advertiser (Charleston, South Carolina) Issue: 369 Page: 4

[5] Advertisement. Date: Thursday, May 18, 1786 Paper: Columbian Herald (Charleston, South Carolina) Issue: 177 Page: 1 and Advertisement. Date: Friday, August 8, 1788 Paper: City Gazette (Charleston, South Carolina) Volume: VI Issue: 1019 Page: 3

[6] Charleston Directory 1790. Lowcountry Digital Library.  Charleston Library Society.  http://lcdl.library.cofc.edu/lcdl/catalog/lcdl:108660.  See also Poll Lists from 1787.

[7] Johnston, Frances Benjamin, photographer. James Hartley House, 43 East Bay Street, Charleston, Charleston County, South Carolina. Charleston Charleston County South Carolina, 1937. Photograph. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, https://www.loc.gov/item/csas200803480/. (Accessed June 26, 2017.)

[8] Advertisement. Date: Thursday, September 21, 1786 Paper: Charleston Morning Post (Charleston, South Carolina) Volume: IV Issue: 478 Page: 3

[9] Advertisement. Date: Thursday, October 5, 1786 Paper: Charleston Morning Post (Charleston, South Carolina) Volume: IV Issue: 490 Page: 4

[10] Poston, Jonathan H. “The Buildings of Charleston”. University of South Carolina. 1997.

“London and Carolina Madeira Wine”: A Madeira advertisement by George Abbott Hall & Co. of Charleston

Advertisement for 1771 and 1772 London Particular Madeira by George Abbott Hall & Co on January 28, 1774. [1]

George Abbott Hall (1737-1791) born in England eventually moved to Charleston, South Carolina around 1760, where he was a merchant, member of the provincial government of South Carolina, commissioner of the South Carolina navy, and appointed by George Washington as First Collector of the Port of Charleston in 1789.[2]

61 Tradd St, Charleston, SC, as it appears today.

Upon arrival in Charleston, George Abbott Hall appears to have first joined the firm of Inglis, Lloyd, and Hall, importers of slaves into Charleston from 1759-1764. [3]  Of interest in today’s post is his advertisement from January 28, 1774, for London Particular Madeira from the vintages of 1771 and 1772.  It is not rare to see the description of London Particular Madeira, the top quality of Madeira shipped to America, in the advertisement but the appearance of the vintages is.

61 Tradd St, Charleston, SC, as it appears today.

We know from Henry Hill, the Philadelphia based agent for the Madeira firm Lamar, Hill, Bisset, & Co., that the 1771 vintage was regarded as “real[l]y exceeding inferior”.  News of the “remarkably fine” quality 1772 vintage reached the ears of George Washington who placed an order for four pipes of London Particular Madeira from Lamar, Hill, Bisset & Co. [5] Henry Hill had noted that the vintage promised “to be the largest ever known in the memory of Man”.  The quality of the wine was higher because “the vilas are more carefull when they have plenty of Grapes.”

Advertisements for Madeira by George Abbott Hall appear to be rare.  This could be due to the banning of Madeira imports into America beginning in the fall of 1774 followed by the disruption of trade during the Revolutionary War.  As such I cannot determine where he sold the Madeira from.  It is possible he sold the Madeira from the house he moved into around 1770 at 61 Tradd Street.  Unfortunately, for this post, there was a large plumbing van in front of the house when I visited it.


[1] “To George Washington from George Abbott Hall, 31 March 1789,” Founders Online, National Archives, last modified March 30, 2017, http://founders.archives.gov/documents/Washington/05-01-02-0365. [Original source: The Papers of George Washington, Presidential Series, vol. 1, 24 September 1788 – 31 March 1789, ed. Dorothy Twohig. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1987, pp. 469–470.]

[2] Advertisement. Date: Friday, January 28, 1774 Paper: South-Carolina and American General Gazette (Charleston, South Carolina) Page: 4

[3] Laurens, Henry.  The Papers of Henry Laurens.  1972.  University of South Carolina Press. URL: https://books.google.com/books?id=mRlEcWBdl5oC&lpg=PP1&pg=PP1#v=onepage&q&f=false

[4] Tradd Street (1-75). Charleston County Public Library. URL: http://ccpl.org/content.asp?id=15712&catID=6028&action=detail&parentID=5747

[5] “From George Washington to Lamar, Hill, Bisset, & Company, 15 July 1773,” Founders Online, National Archives, last modified March 30, 2017, http://founders.archives.gov/documents/Washington/02-09-02-0208. [Original source: The Papers of George Washington, Colonial Series, vol. 9, 8 January 1772 – 18 March 1774, ed. W. W. Abbot and Dorothy Twohig. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1994, pp. 280–282.]

“At No 120, Tradd Street”: An historic Madeira advertisement in Charleston

Advertisement for London Particular Madeira wine by Hunter & Ross. Saturday, February 6, 1808. [1]

On January 20, 1808, James Hunter and John Ross advertised London Particular Madeira and Old Madeira for sale at their newly incorporated firm Hunter & Ross at 120 Tradd Street, Charleston, South Carolina.  Formed that same year, Hunter & Ross appears to have operated for three years until 1811.  Their initial advertisements included Madeira wine whereas later ones offered corn and black eyed peas.[2]

Hunter & Ross listed their business at 120 Tradd Street, a location where a house was first built in 1770 as a wood house on a brick basement.  At the time, 120 Tradd Street was located at the western end of developed Charleston.  The house burnt down during the Great Fire of Charleston in 1861 so the building which exists today is not the same structure as when one could purchase pipes, quarter-casks, and bottles of Madeira.

120 Tradd Street, Charleston, SC. Present Day.

[1] Advertisement. Date: Saturday, February 6, 1808 Paper: Charleston Courier (Charleston, South Carolina) Page: 1

[2] Advertisement. Date: Saturday, January 5, 1811 Paper: Charleston Courier (Charleston, South Carolina) Volume: IX Issue: 2471 Page: 2

[3] The great fire in Charleston additional particulars. The Daily Dispatch: December 18, 1861. Perseus Digital Library. Tufts University. URL: http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus%3Atext%3A2006.05.0351%3Aarticle%3D7

“Received the contents”:  Exploring General George Washington’s Madeira supply during the beginning of the New York campaign of 1776

Detail from William Faden’s “A Plan of New York Island”. 1776. LOC.

With the end of the Siege of Boston during the Revolutionary War between the American colonies and Great Britain, military attention quickly shifted south to New York.  New York was an important port and a strategic link between the northern and the southern colonies.  After the British forces withdrew from Boston, George Washington moved his headquarters from Cambridge, Massachusetts to New York during April 1776.

General Washington had felt the need to create a personal guard based on his experience during the Siege of Boston.[1]  In March 1776, before he left Boston, he appointed Captain Caleb Gibbs, Captain Commandant of the Guard.  Captain Gibbs was not only head of George Washington’s security but also chief steward of his household.  Captain Gibbs served in this position for nearly five years during which time he took over the purchasing of Madeira for General Washington.  It is fortunate for us that General Washington’s receipts were kept.

During these war years General Washington stopped personally ordering his Madeira direct from the Island.  Direct import was impossible because the Continental Congress had banned the import of Madeira wine since October 1774.  Instead, Captain Gibbs purchased Madeira from merchants and individuals located near headquarters.  Such purchases did not require a series of correspondence so we must rely on the Revolutionary War receipts to piece together George Washington’s Madeira supply.

General Washington moved from Cambridge to New York during April 1776 which is the very same month that the Continental Congress opened all American ports to international trade.  Though Madeira could now be imported, trade was complicated by the presence of American and British military forces.

General Washington arrived in New York on April 13, 1776.  The first purchase upon his arrival is for one dozen bottles at “New York”.[2]   Colonel William Palfrey was General Washington’s aide-de-camp during the move so he kept the list of moving expenses.  Unfortunately, we do not know from whom Colonel Palfrey purchased the Madeira.

Once in New York Captain Gibbs took over.  The initial purchase of one dozen bottles is soon followed by another small parcel of three dozen bottles from the Loyalist Lloyd Danbury on April 25, 1776.[3] These bottles cost £2 16s per dozen, the lowest price per bottle for all purchases that summer.  Given the price these must be a lower grade of Madeira and perhaps represent an effort by Captain Gibbs to simply supply Madeira for the table.

For the rest of the campaign General Washington’s Madeira was sourced from a merchant who regularly sold Madeira and two men with significant Madeira collections.  Abraham Duryee, the New York merchant and member of the Committee of 100, sold Madeira and other goods since at least 1758. On March 28, 1776, he placed his last advertisement for goods detailing cash only.[4]  The last listed item for sale is “Old Madeira Wine”.  In the June 1776, the Portuguese monarchy aligned with the British and forbade any American colonial ships from calling on Portuguese ports.  Duryee still held stocks for he sold Captain Gibbs 10¼ gallons of “old” Madeira on June 25, 1776.[5] This purchase of low quality Madeira appears to have been for Major General Charles Lee which could explain why the very next day a dozen bottles were purchased of Samuel Fraunces.  He was the owner of Fraunces Tavern and later steward of George Washington’s presidential household.[6]

Receipt for Old Madeira Wine from Thomas Marston. July 17, 1776. LOC. [7]

Captain Gibbs next bought 11 dozen bottles of Madeira from Thomas Marston of New York on July 9, 1776, of which the funds were paid on July 17, 1776.[7]  In Cambridge, General Washington typically purchased his Madeira by the casks then had it bottled.   This is what appears to have been done by Thomas Marston given the slightly cryptic description of the expense as “the wine is in quarter casks rack of the Bottles.”   On August 31, 1776, another 11 dozen bottles of “Old Madeira” were purchased from Thomas Marston.[8]  He held his price at £3 12s per dozen.  Upon the death of Thomas Marston, his “good old Madeira” was auctioned off in the spring of 1814.[9]  Some 48 demijohns and 1700 bottles were sold off with some lots reaching $25 per gallon.

Throughout June, July, and August of 1776, British troops continued to arrive in the New York region.  Unsure of where the British would launch their attack, General Washington stationed troops both in New York and Long Island.  It is unclear why but the next two parcels of Madeira came from David Clarkson and his son David Clarkson Jr of Flatbush, Long Island.  On July 23, 1776, came 12 dozen bottles of wine from David Clarkson.[10]  These cost £4 per dozen for a total of £48. Within two weeks, on August 4, 1776, came 12 dozen “Madeira wine” at the standard price of £3 12s per dozen from David Clarkson’s son David Clarkson Jr.[11]  The switch in suppliers was not because Thomas Marston was out of Madeira for Captain Gibbs purchased more from him at the end of August.

One possibility for the switch is that the Clarkson’s feared for the safety of the Madeira stored in their house in Flatbush.  General Washington was still located in New York and did not land on Long Island until the end of August.  The Madeira would have been ferried back to New York.  The first parcel is the most expensive purchased during the New York campaign so it was probably of higher quality and worth the effort to transport back to headquarters.

There is plausibility to this reasoning.  It was on July 12, 1776, that British ships arrived at the Hudson River with additional ships continuing to arrive over the next several weeks.  On August 22, 1776, the main body of British troops invaded Long Island.  There was a line of American troops at Flatbush but they moved back allowing the British to take Flatbush.   David Clarkson had left behind “a quantity of wine” in his house. [12]  These bottles of Madeira wine were stored behind a hidden partition in an upper part of the house.  A British sympathizer revealed the secret location of the “very choice” wine which was consumed by the British in a “complete drunken frolic.”

The house in Flatbush where David Clarkson lived. George Bradford Brainerd (American, 1845-1887). Bergen House, Flatbush, Brooklyn, 1877. Collodion silver glass wet plate negative Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn Museum/Brooklyn Public Library, Brooklyn Collection, 1996.164.2-174.

That George Washington bought Madeira from these specific men appears to be the result of their relationships.  Both Abraham Duryee and Augustus Van Horne were members of the Committee of 100.[13]  Abraham Duryee, David Clarkson, Augustus Van Horne, and Thomas Marston all served on the General Committee for the City and County of New York.[14]  Members of the Clarkson and Van Horne families were both married and business partners.[15]

I have gathered the Madeira purchased by Colonel Palfrey and Captain Gibbs during the beginning of the New York campaign.  General Washington was outside of New York from May 22, 1776 through June 5, 1776.[16] This in part explains the gap in receipts and entries between April 25, 1776, and July 26, 1776.  Given the size of subsequent Madeira purchases General Washington must have been supplied during this period by some means.

  • April 13, 1776, Unknown, wine, 1 dozen bottles, £3 12s per dozen, £3 12s total
  • April 25, 1776, Lloyd Danbury, Madeira wine, 3 dozen bottles, £2 16s per dozen, £8 8s total
  • June 26, 1776, Abraham Duryee, old Madeira wine, 10¼ gallons, 14s per gallon, £7 3s 6d total
  • June 27, 1776, Samuel Fraunces, Madeira wine, 1 dozen bottles, £3 12s per dozen, £3 12s total
  • July 9, 1776, Thomas Marston, old Madeira wine, 11 dozen bottles, £3 12s per dozen, £39 12s total
  • July 23, 1776, David Clarkson, wine, 12 dozen, £4 per dozen, £48 total
  • August 4, 1776, David Clarkson Jr., Madeira wine, 12 dozen, £3 12s per dozen, £43 2s total
  • August 31, 1776, Thomas Marston, old Madeira wine, 11 dozen bottles, £3 12s per dozen, £39 12s total

After the British drank all of Madeira in Flatbush they advanced towards Brooklyn.  General Washington was trapped between superior numbers of British troops and British ships.  Under the cover of night on August 29, 1776, he was able to ferry all of his men to New York without alerting the British. The day after his arrival in New York he was met by a fresh supply of Madeira.


[1] Caleb Gibbs.  George Washington’s Mount Vernon. URL: http://www.mountvernon.org/digital-encyclopedia/article/caleb-gibbs/

[2] William Palfrey, April, 1776, Revolutionary War Accounts, Vouchers, and Receipted Accounts 2. George Washington Papers at the Library of Congress, 1741-1799: Series 5 Financial Papers.

[3] Lloyd Danbury to George Washington, April, 1776, Revolutionary War Accounts, Vouchers, and Receipted Accounts 1. George Washington Papers at the Library of Congress, 1741-1799: Series 5 Financial Papers

[4] Advertisement. Date: Thursday, March 28, 1776   Paper: New-York Journal (New York, New York)   Issue: 1734   Page: 4

[5] Abraham Duryee to George Washington, June 26, 1776, Revolutionary War Accounts, Vouchers, and Receipted Accounts 2. George Washington Papers at the Library of Congress, 1741-1799: Series 5 Financial Papers

[6]Since at least John C. Fitzpatrick published George Washington’s Accounts of Expenses While Commander-in-chief of the Continental Army, 1775-1783 (1917) it has been held that there is a “voucher” from Samuel Fraunces dated June 27, 1776, for these bottles of Madeira which was not entered into the debit lists in the Series 5 Financial Papers.   I can find no citation for this “voucher” nor can I find it amongst the Series 5 documents.  Instead it is entered in the Journal of Household Expenses.   Washington, G. (1776) George Washington Papers, Series 5, Financial Papers: Revolutionary War Journal of Household Expenses, July, 1776 – November, 1780. 07-/11-1780. [Manuscript/Mixed Material] Retrieved from the Library of Congress, https://www.loc.gov/item/mgw500028/

[7] Caleb Gibbs, 1776-80, Revolutionary War Receipt Book. George Washington Papers at the Library of Congress, 1741-1799: Series 5 Financial Papers and Thomas Marston to Caleb Gibbs, July 17, 1776, Revolutionary War Accounts, Vouchers, and Receipted Accounts 1. George Washington Papers at the Library of Congress, 1741-1799: Series 5 Financial Papers

[8] Thomas Marston to Caleb Gibbs, August 31, 1776, Revolutionary War Accounts, Vouchers, and Receipted Accounts 1. George Washington Papers at the Library of Congress, 1741-1799: Series 5 Financial Papers

[9] Thomas Marston, Esq; Madeira. Date: Saturday, April 2, 1814   Paper: Portsmouth Oracle (Portsmouth, New Hampshire)   Volume: XXV   Issue: 28   Page: 3

[10] David Clarkson to George Washington, July 23, 1776, Revolutionary War Accounts, Vouchers, and Receipted Accounts 1. George Washington Papers at the Library of Congress, 1741-1799: Series 5 Financial Papers

[11] David Clarkson Jr. to Caleb Gibbs, April 4, 1778. George Washington Papers, Series 5, Financial Papers: Revolutionary War Vouchers and Receipted Accounts, 1776 -1780

[12]Strong, Thomas M. The history of the town of Flatbush in Kings County, Long Island. URL: https://archive.org/stream/historyoftownoff00stro

[13] Williams, C. S. Jan Cornelis Van Horne and his descendants. 1912. URL: https://archive.org/details/jancornelisvanho00will

[14] Jones, Thomas.  History of New York During the Revolutionary War: And of the Leading Events in the Other Colonies at that Period, Volume 1. 1879. URL: https://books.google.com/books?id=3X8FAAAAQAAJ&pg=PR17#v=onepage&q&f=false  and Wilson, James Grant. The Memorial History of the City of New-York: From Its First Settlement to the Year 1892, Volume 2. 1892. URL: https://books.google.com/books?id=h1QOAAAAIAAJ&pg=PP1#v=onepage&q&f=false

[15] David Clarkson Jr was married to Elizabeth French whose sister Anne was married to David Van Horne, the son of Augustus Van Horne.  David Van Horne was business partners with David Clarkson’s brother Levinus Clarkson.   Levinus Clarkson was married to Mary Van Horne.  The Clarksons of New York: A Sketch, Volume 1. 1875. URL: https://books.google.com/books?id=coQ7AAAAMAAJ&vq=levinus&pg=PP1#v=onepage&q=levinus&f=false

[16] Washington’s Revolutionary War Itinerary. University of Virginia. URL: http://gwpapers.virginia.edu/history/topics/washingtons-revolutionary-war-itinerary/