Philip Vickers Fithian spent January 1, 1774 on the plantation of Robert Carter on Virginia’s Northern Neck. This is what he recorded in his diary on that day:
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 the 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 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–
Fithian would get his thoughts together the next day in a long diary entry describing his decision to come to Virginia. If you want to know more about why the son of a New Jersey grain grower and 1772 Princeton graduate chose to spend a year working as a tutor on a large tobacco plantation get a copy of The Way of Improvement Leads Home.