Hear Ye! Washington Leaves Mt. Vernon for his Inauguration

April 16, 1789:

Washington Leaves Mt. Vernon for his Inauguration


On this day in 1789, newly elected President George Washington leaves his Mount Vernon, Virginia, home and heads for New York, where he is sworn in as the first American president.

Before leaving, Washington addressed a group of citizens in nearby Alexandria, Virginia, to whom he expressed his inner conflict at assuming the role of president. He admitted that he would have preferred to stay in retirement and wondered aloud, “at my age what possible advantages [could I gain] from public life?” However, disturbed by growing antagonism between the fledgling nation s political factions, Washington felt duty-bound to help resolve what he feared was an impending crisis. He recounted the day in his diary: “I bade adieu to Mount Vernon, to private life, and to domestic felicity; and with a mind oppressed with more anxious and painful sensations than I have words to express.”

Washington was 57 years old when he took leave of his family, friends and staff at the Mount Vernon estate, to which he had retired after leading the Continental Army to victory in the Revolutionary War. On his way to New York, citizens flocked to see Washington as he rode through petal-strewn streets, under decorative triumphal arches and to the accompaniment of church bells. In Trenton, New Jersey, girls in white robes sang an honorary tribute to “The Defender of the Mothers, The Protector of the Daughters.” In his diary, Washington recorded a resplendent display of decorated ships and boats that joined the procession as it sailed across the Hudson River. “The roar of cannon, and the loud acclamations of the people which rent the skies, as I passed along the wharves, filled my mind with sensations as painful as they are pleasing.”

The pomp and splendor of the procession did not distract Washington from his anxiety about ruling the country, nor the disappointment of traveling without his beloved wife and closest confidante, Martha, who planned to meet him in New York after the festivities ended. In addition, his oldest and most trusted personal servant, Billy Lee, had to abandon Washington s entourage in Philadelphia due to painful arthritis in his knees. Eight days after leaving Mt. Vernon, Washington arrived in New York, where he gamely set out to “render service to my country with less hope of answering its expectations.”

Official inaugural ceremonies commenced on April 30.

Information provided by History.com, A&E Networks, and a special thanks to Chapter Chaplain Max Miller for the info.

The Prayer at Valley Forge by Arnold Friberg

The Prayer at Valley Forge by Arnold Friberg

Arnold Friberg painted “The Prayer at Valley Forge” to celebrate our country’s bicentennial in 1976. Since then, Arnold Friberg’s now famous painting has become an important part of American history, reminding us of the days our country hung in the balance. Many of you are familiar with Arnold Friberg’s painting, but do you know the story behind the painting?

It was during the cold and long winter of 1777-78 at Valley Forge that General George Washington sought God’s help on his knees.

washington by friberg




The Eye Witness Testimony of Isaac Potts . . .

This story is well documented in the historical records. Isaac Potts, 26 years old, was a resident of Valley Forge, and as a Quaker was opposed to the war. He supervised the grinding of the grain which George Washington ordered the neighboring farmers to bring to his army. The fullest account of Potts’ testimony is in the “Diary and Remembrances” of Rev. Nathaniel Randolph Snowden, a Presbyterian minister and a Princeton graduate (Original Manuscript at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania; Call no. PHi.Am.1561-1568).

“I was riding with him (Mr. Potts) near Valley Forge, where the army lay during the war of the Revolution. Mr. Potts was a Senator in our state and a Whig. I told him I was agreeably surprised to find him a friend to his country as the Quakers were mostly Tories. He said, “It was so and I was a rank Tory once, for I never believed that America could proceed against Great Britain whose fleets and armies covered the land and ocean. But something very extraordinary converted me to the good faith.”

“What was that?” I inquired. “Do you see that woods, and that plain?” It was about a quarter of a mile from the place we were riding. “There,” said he, “laid the army of Washington. It was a most distressing time of ye war, and all were for giving up the ship but that one good man. In that woods,” pointing to a close in view, “I heard a plaintive sound, as of a man at prayer. I tied my horse to a sapling and went quietly into the woods and to my astonishment I saw the great George Washington on his knees alone, with his sword on one side and his cocked hat on the other. He was at Prayer to the God of the Armies, beseeching to interpose with his Divine aid, as it was ye Crisis and the cause of the country, of humanity, and of the world.

“Such a prayer I never heard from the lips of man. I left him alone praying. I went home and told my wife, ‘I saw a sight and heard today what I never saw or heard before’, and just related to her what I had seen and heard and observed. We never thought a man could be a soldier and a Christian, but if there is one in the world, it is Washington. We thought it was the cause of God, and America could prevail.”

. . . . . . . . . . . .

The respect for Washington was so great that the first proposal for his new title, recommended by John Adams, was, “His Glorious Highness, The President of the United States and Glorious Protector of Our Liberties.” Congressman William McClay from Pennsylvania basically said, “What’s with Adams? Doesn’t he understand what we fought this thing for? It’s to get rid of all of that stuff.” But this story illustrates the high regard congress had for Washington.

. . . . . . . . . . . .

Dr. James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family, said about George Washington, “The reason that I consider him to be such a hero is… almost no one in human experience gives up power willingly.  Power is intoxicating and once you have it you don’t want to let it go and [Washington] could have been king. He could have been monarch for the rest of his life and passed it on to his heirs, but he served two terms as president and would not accept a third term. You talk about greatness. That really speaks to me.”

The world was watching during this moment of when George Washington said he would give up his power after two terms as President of the United States. King George of England said, “If he gives up his power, as he said he would, he will be the greatest man in the world.”  And George Washington did it without a moments hesitation. Washington said in one of his letters, “I’d rather be back on my farm in Virginia than be emperor of the world.”

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Story courtesy of Max Miller, Partick Henry Chaplain and from the original text The Good Book

Texas SAR Annual Meeting 2016


Images are coming in from this years Texas SAR annual meeting.  Chapter members Wayne Courreges, Jeff Gammon, Ron Walcik and James Clements were in attendance representing the Patrick Henry Chapter at the TXSSAR 2016 State Convention in Dallas, TX.

Texas SAR Annual Meeting 2016

Please click on the image for more pictures from this year’s event.