George Washington Papers

[Diary entry: 30 June 1791]

Thursday 30th. The business which brot. me to George town being finished & the Comrs. instructed with respect to the mode of carrying the plan into effect—I set off this morning a little after 4 oclock in the prosecution of my journey towards Philadelphia; and being desirous of seeing the nature of the Country North of Georgetown, and along the upper road, I resolved to pass through Frederick town 1 in Maryland & York & Lancaster in Pennsylvania & accordingly.

Breakfasted at a small village called Williamsburgh in which stands the Ct. House of Montgomerie County 14 M. from George Town. Dined at one Peters’s tavern 20 2 miles further and arrived at Frederick town about Sun down—the whole 3 distance 43 miles.

The road by wch. I passed 4 is rather hilly, but the lands are good, and well timbered. From Monocasy to F. T. 4 Miles they are very rich & fine. 5 The Country is thicker 6 settled and the farm Houses of a better kind 7 than I expected to find. This is 8 well calculated for small grain of wch. a good deal is now 9 on the grd. but thin—owing as the farmers think 10 to the extreme drought of the Spring 11 though more, it appeared to me, to the frosts & want of Snow to cover their fds. during the Winter.

Williamsburg (now Rockville), Md., was established in 1784 but had been the site of the Montgomery County courthouse since 1777. Peter’s tavern was on Bennett Run near present-day Urbana, Md. Its proprietor may have been Enoch or Richard Peter of Frederick County, Md. (HOWARD & SHRIVER description begins J. Spence Howard and J. Alexis Shriver. “Routes Traveled by George Washington in Maryland.” [Baltimore], c.1932. Map. description ends , map; HEADS OF FAMILIES, MD. description begins Heads of Families at the First Census of the United States Taken in the Year 1790: Maryland. 1907. Reprint. Baltimore, 1965. description ends , 68, 72).

GW arrived in Frederick at 7:25 P.M. “So sudden and unexpected was the visit of this amiable and illustrious character,” declared a newspaper account, “as to leave it entirely out of the power of the citizens to make the necessary preparations for his reception. On notice being given of his arrival, the bells of the Lutheran and Calvinist churches were rung—fifteen rounds from Cannon-Hill were discharged—and a band of music serenaded him in the evening. He was politely invited to spend the succeeding day in town; but answered (as an apology for not accepting the invitation), that public business obliged him to hasten to Philadelphia” (The Mail, or Claypoole’s Daily Adv. [Philadelphia], 9 July 1791, BAKER [2] description begins William Spohn Baker. Washington after the Revolution: MDCCLXXXIV - MDCCXCIX. Philadelphia, 1898. description ends , 224–25). GW is said to have lodged at Brother’s tavern (Fitzpatrick, Diaries description begins John C. Fitzpatrick, ed. The Diaries of George Washington, 1748–1799. 4 vols. Boston and New York, 1925. description ends , 4:201, n.3); Henry Brother was a tavernkeeper in Frederick in the 1790s (SCHARF [3] description begins J. Thomas Scharf. History of Western Maryland. Being a History of Frederick, Montgomery, Carroll, Washington, Allegany, and Garrett Counties from the Earliest Period to the Present Day; Including Biographical Sketches of Their Representative Men. 2 vols. 1882. Reprint. Baltimore, 1968. description ends , 1:486–87).

1“town” added above line.

2“20” substituted for “9.”

3“the whole” inserted above line.

4“by wch. I passed” added above line.

5This sentence inserted above line.

6“is thicker” substituted for “better.”

7“and the farm Houses of a better kind” added above line.

8“This is” substituted for “it, being.”

9“is now” substituted for “was.”

10“think” substituted for “thought.”

11“of the Spring” inserted for “but.”

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