3. Martha Washington Didn’t Arrive to New York Unit Late May 1789

The Washington Family. Photo via Wikimedia: public domain

The first inaugural ball was held Thursday May 8th, 1789 at the City Assembly rooms about a block north of Wall Street on Broadway. The ball lasted until 2am, and George Washington was noted to have danced in two cotillions and the minuet.

About 300 guests were present. Guests included Vice President John Adams, many members of Congress, the French Minister the Comte de Moustier, the Spanish Charge d’Affaires, Don Diego Gardoqui, Mayor James Duane, Baron von Steuben, General Hamilton, Mrs. Langdon, Mrs. Peter Van Brugh Livingston, Mrs. Livingston of Clermont, Mrs. Chancellor Livingston, Mrs. Gerry, Mrs. Thomson, Mrs. Montgomery, Mrs. Edgar, Mrs. Beekman, Mrs. Dalton, Mrs. McComb, Mrs. Lynch, the Marchioness de Brehan, Lady Stirling and her two daughters Lady Mary Watts and Lady Kitty Duer, Lady Temple, Madame de la Fores, Mrs. Knox, Mrs. Houston, Mrs. Griffin, Mrs. Provoost, the Misses Livingston and the Misses Bayard.

Though Martha Washington missed the ball, she arrived in her own coach to New York on May 27, 1789. With her were her two grandchildren, Nelly Parke Custis and George Washington Parke Custis (who was just eight years old).

She held her first reception on May 29, 1789. Within the drawing rooms and social circle of Martha Washington were Mrs. Jay (Sarah Livingston Jay), Mrs. Adams (Abigail Smith Adams), Mrs. Hamilton (Elizabeth Schulyer Hamilton), Mrs. Robert Morris (Mary White Morris) , Mrs. Ralph Izard (Alice DeLancey Izard), Mrs. Knox (Lucy Flucker Knox), Lady Mary Watts, Lady Kitty Duer, Mrs. Beekman (Jane Keteltas Beekman), Mrs. Provoost (Maria Bousfield Provoost), Mrs. Livingston (Mary Stevens Livingston), Mrs. Elbridge Gerry (Ann Thompson Gerry) and Mrs. Rufus King (Mary Alsop King).