Wednesday, February 22, 2012

George Washington Slept Here!


Happy 280th Birthday President Washington

I'm sitting here on my front porch on February 22 in Coltons Point, Maryland looking out on the vast Potomac River flowing past on it's way to the Chesapeake Bay.  Imagine that right here 378 years ago a couple of ships full of English pilgrims arrived to settle the area.

It is late February and the temperature is 60 degrees.

Within eyesight across the river in Virginia you can see the birthplace of our most beloved President and Father of the Country, George Washington.  He was born there 280 years ago today.

Perhaps our most least understood president, against all odds he led the nation into declaring freedom in 1776 and fighting the powerful English during the Revolution.  Then this advocate of freedom and commander in chief of our military promptly retired.  He fought for the creation of a republic, not a parliament and a king like many wanted.

So he quit the military.  Then the people drafted him to be president and he presided over the birth of the strongest democracy in history.  After serving two terms, he again retired.  There was no term limit and with his popularity George could have been president until his death but that wasn't the republic he sought.

One final act by the mysterious Founding Father was in his will of 1799 when he died.  It freed all the slaves on his plantation.  This was 64 years before our next most beloved President Abraham Lincoln enforced the Emancipation Proclamation and freed all slaves.

Long before George was born two of the daughters of Dr. Thomas Gerrard, the patriarch of St. Clements Manor (located in what is now Coltons Point), the original territory given by King Charles I to Lord Baltimore, were married to George Washington's great grandfather, John Washington, who lived just across the river.

In the old days if a married woman died and she had an unmarried sister, the sister married the widower.  Thus when George's great grandpa's first wife, Anne Pope died, he married Anne Gerrard. The second Anne also died before him so he married her unmarried sister Frances Gerrard.

Because George grew up across the river and the Washington and Gerrard families were on both sides of the river it is only logical to say George Washington Slept Here and mean it.

Happy birthday Mr.President.

No comments: