By Thane Peterson
GRIST FOR THE MILL. Among agricultural historians, he's also known as the "Father of the American Mule" for his strenuous efforts to raise the stubborn animals and promote them as more efficient than horses for farmwork.
One of the more interesting elements of a Mt. Vernon tour is a visit to Washington's gristmill. Like Thomas Jefferson, Washington was an early adapter of technology pioneered by Oliver Evans, a Delaware inventor who devised a mill that required only two operators, down from the previous five or more.
You can stand next to the clattering reconstructed mill, which is water-powered and made almost entirely of wood, as it pounds out different grades of corn meal and flour. In Washington's time, the finest ground flour was exported to England and commanded $5 per barrel, quite