George Washington Papers
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[Diary entry: 13 May 1787]

Sunday. 13th. About 8 Oclock Mr. Corbin and myself set out, and dined at Chester (Mrs. Withy’s) where I was met by the Genls. Mifflin (now Speaker of the Pennsylvania Assembly) Knox and Varnum—The Colonels Humphreys and Minges and Majors Jackson and Nicholas—With whom I proceeded to Philada. At Grays Ferry the City light horse commanded by Colo. Miles met me, and escorted me in by the Artillery Officers who stood arranged & saluted me as I passed. Alighted through a crowd at Mrs. Houses—but being again warmly and kindly pressed by Mr. & Mrs. Rob. Morris to lodge with them I did so and had my baggage removed thither.

Waited on the President, Doctr. Franklin as soon as I got to Town. On my arrival, the Bells were chimed.

The inn of Mary Withy (Withey), located on the northeast corner of Market and Fifth streets in Chester, was well known for the quality of its food (CHASTELLUX description begins Marquis de Chastellux. Travels in North America in the Years 1780, 1781 and 1782. Translated and edited by Howard C. Rice, Jr. 2 vols. Chapel Hill, N.C., 1963. description ends , 1:315).

Thomas Mifflin (1744–1800), who began service in the Revolution as GW’s first aide-de-camp and later resigned as quartermaster general under a cloud, was now a Pennsylvania delegate to the convention. From 1790 to 1799 he was governor of Pennsylvania.

James Mitchell Varnum (1748–1789), of Rhode Island, served as a brigadier general in the Continental Army and was with GW at Valley Forge. After the Revolution he became a founder of the Society of the Cincinnati, now holding a general meeting in Philadelphia, and was, in 1787, a member of the Continental Congress for Rhode Island.

minges: Col. Francis Mentges (d. 1805), born in France, was a dancing teacher in Philadelphia before the Revolution. He joined the Pennsylvania line in 1776 and was with GW at Valley Forge. In 1781, following the victory at Yorktown, he supervised military hospital services in Virginia and resigned from the army in 1783. He was an active member of the Cincinnati and at this time was inspector general of the Pennsylvania militia (Pa. Mag., 45 [1921], 385).

Maj. William Jackson (1759–1828), born in England and raised in South Carolina, served in the Revolution in the southern theater. After returning from a mission to Europe in 1781 he was appointed assistant secretary at war and subsequently settled in Philadelphia, where he studied law and became an active member of the Society of the Cincinnati (Pa. Mag., 2 [1878], 353–69). nicholas: Maj. Francis Nichols (d. 1812), of Pottsgrove, Pa., participated in the seige of Quebec (1775) and retired from the Continental Army as a major in the 9th Pennsylvania Regiment. He was later appointed United States marshal for the eastern district of Pennsylvania (Pa. Mag., 20 [1896], 504; Nichols to GW, 21 Aug. 1789, DLC:GW).

grays ferry: The Lower Ferry over the Schuylkill took its name from George Gray, who ran it in the 1740s. A floating bridge, built at the Middle Ferry by the British during their occupation of Philadelphia (1777–78) was, upon their evacuation in 1778, moved by the Americans downstream to Gray’s ferry, where it remained until swept away by a flood in 1789. The bridge was crossed by GW in his march to Yorktown in 1781 and in his trip to be sworn in as president of the United States in April 1789 (SCHARF [1] description begins J. Thomas Scharf and Thompson Westcott. History of Philadelphia. 1609–1884. 3 vols. Philadelphia, 1884. description ends , 1:454, 3:2141, 2143; SNYDER description begins Martin P. Snyder. City of Independence: Views of Philadelphia before 1800. New York, 1975. description ends , 152).

Col. Samuel Miles (1739–1805), of Montgomery County, Pa., who had served in the Braddock expedition, was commissioned colonel of the state’s rifle regiment in 1776 and later served as auditor, quartermaster, and brigadier general of state forces. In 1790 he was elected mayor of Philadelphia. From 1786 to 1788 he was captain of the First City Troop of Light Horse, founded in 1774 as a gentlemen’s arm of the local militia which participated in public ceremonies (Pa. Mag., 46 [1922], 72–73).

Mrs. Mary House’s boardinghouse, on the southwest corner of Fifth and Market streets, was just a few doors down Market Street from the Morris house. Within the week George Read, a delegate from Delaware, found that “Mrs. House’s, where I am, is very crowded” (FARRAND description begins Max Farrand, ed. The Records of the Federal Convention of 1787. Rev. ed. 4 vols. New Haven, 1966. description ends , 3:25). Benjamin Franklin was at this time president of the Supreme Council of Pennsylvania. bells were chimed: The Pennsylvania Packet, 14 May 1787, reported the next day that “His Excellency General Washington, a member of the grand convention, arrived here. He was met at some distance and escorted into the city by the troop of horse, and saluted at his entrance by the artillery. The joy of the people on the coming of this great and good man was shewn by their acclamations and the ringing of bells.”

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