George Washington Papers

To George Washington from John C. Ogden, 30 October 1789

From John C. Ogden

Portsmouth [N.H.] October 30th/89


Overwhelmed as Your Excellency is, by the Invitations and Solicitations of our grateful and virtuous Countrymen, who wish to pay every tribute of veneration, and give every possible proof of their Affection for your Person, and Reverence for the high office, which you have condescended, to accept for the public good; I would spare you the trouble of this, and in silence rejoice at our being favored with your visit to this quarter, and at a distance recognize the man who possesses the Love and Applause of a World.

But, My Family is composed of Madam Wooster the Lady of the late General Wooster, the father of Mrs Ogden.

I have with me also, my own Parent, the Mother of two amiable young men who lost their lives during the late revolution; who with me were Brothers to Mrs Barber, The Relict of your much valued Officer Colol Barber.1 May I ask your Excellency kindly to condescend, to give us such part of your time while here; as shall be most convenient, and appointed by yourself. Or may I mention, our having your company at tea on Sunday afternoon.

If this is agreable to Your Excellency⟨,⟩ President Sullivan, has promised to attend you to The Parsonage.

Come My Dear Sir, and do me this greatest of favors—and give pleasure to a family bereaved of their most valued friends; and joy to two venerable women, whose fortitude under sufferings, does credit to American Matrons, as well as to human nature. I have the honor and happiness to be, with the greatest respect, Your Excellency’s most obedient and most humble servant

John C. Ogden

Rector of Queens Chapel

ALS, DNA:PCC, item 78.

John Cosens (Cousins) Ogden (1751–1800), a 1770 Princeton graduate, lived in New Haven until 1786 when he was ordained a priest in the Episcopal church by Samuel Seabury. From 1786 until his retirement in 1793 upon “his mind becoming deranged,” he was rector of St. John’s Episcopal Church in Portsmouth (Alexander, Princeton College, description begins Samuel Davies Alexander. Princeton College during the Eighteenth Century. New York, 1872. description ends 136). In 1800 he published A Excursion into Bethlehem & Nazaraeth, in Pennsylvania in the Year 1799; With a . . . History of the Society of the United Brethren (Philadelphia, 1800).

GW had left Newburyport shortly after eight o’clock on the morning of 31 Oct. and, reaching the line dividing Massachusetts and New Hampshire, “was recd. by the President of the State of New Hampshire—the Vice-President; some of the Council—Messrs. Langdon & Win gate of the Senate—Colo. Parker Marshall of the State, & many other respectable characters; besides several Troops of well cloathed Horse in handsome Uniforms, and many Officers of the Militia. . . . With this Cavalcade we proceeded and arrived before 3 Oclock at Portsmouth” (Diaries description begins Donald Jackson and Dorothy Twohig, eds. The Diaries of George Washington. 6 vols. Charlottesville, Va., 1976–79. description ends , 5:486–87). GW apparently declined Ogden’s offer of tea, but on 1 Nov. “Attended by the President of the State (Genl. Sullivan) Mr. Langdon, & the Marshall [John Parker]; I went in the fore Noon to the Episcopal Church under the incumbency of a Mr. Ogden” (ibid., 488).

1Ogden’s mother-in-law was Mary Wooster, the daughter of Thomas Clap, a president of Yale College, and the widow of David Wooster, one of the Continental army’s less competent general officers, who was killed in action in 1777. Ogden’s sister Anne was the widow of Col. Francis Barber (1751–1783), and his mother was Mary Cosens Ogden, the widow of Moses Ogden.

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