March 20, 2005 |
During the American Revolution, George Washington's wife, Martha, spent the warm months of the year, while her husband was with the army, overseeing activities at their estate, Mount Vernon. But when the army went into winter quarters, Martha joined her husband. Thus it was that Martha Washington arrived at Valley Forge in February 1778 to join George. At the time, the soldiers had suffered from shortages of food, medicine and poor shelter. "The army was on the point of dissolution," according to historian Benson Bobrick, writing in Angel in the Whirlwind: The Triumph of the American Revolution.
August 8, 2014 |
In one gray box is a 1778 letter written by George Washington at Valley Forge. The flowing cursive wasn't particularly eloquent, but showed the minutia he tackled during the Revolution. Washington asked the New York governor for help tracking down an American officer who had confiscated a money box from the British at Princeton, then apparently converted it "to his own use. " In another box is a 1865 letter written by Abraham Lincoln to a woman who asked the president to send her a portion of his second inaugural address - in his own hand.
July 1, 2008 |
To George and Martha Washington, her owners, she was "the girl. " To the framers of the Constitution, who she was didn't matter - she was three-fifths of a person, a chattel slave. Oney Judge was only about 16 when she came to Philadelphia, the nation's temporary capital, in 1790. A few years later, she learned she was about to be given away by the Washingtons as a wedding gift. She gathered herself up and refused, defying the president, the Constitution, and all the powerful forces arrayed against her. She escaped.
February 9, 2012 |
PASSED DOWN by descendants of the nation's first first lady, a 5-by-9-inch swatch of silk brocade from one of Martha Washington's dresses ended up with family friend Alden Freeman. In 1932, he gave it as a gift to Nan Britton, a woman involved in the first publicized presidential sex scandal. And now you can claim the fabric as your own. Yesterday, it was offered for sale for $40,000 by the Philly-based Raab Collection, which has it in a vault. It may be the only Martha Washington dress snippet ever put on the market.
February 26, 2008 |
Oney Judge died 160 years ago yesterday, 52 years after she cast off her bonds, 52 years after fleeing Philadelphia to escape the man and woman who owned her and who wanted to give her away as a wedding bauble - George and Martha Washington. Oney Judge was about 75 when she died in New Hampshire on Feb. 25, 1848. Her husband was dead. Her three children were dead. But she died a free woman - if still legally a fugitive - one who had defied the first president of the United States.
September 5, 2007 |
The Germantown house where George Washington rode out Philadelphia's 1793 yellow fever epidemic and summered the following year will be closed for at least a year for upgrades, renovations and installation of new exhibitions, the National Park Service has announced. The Deshler-Morris House will close sometime after the first week in October, said Jane Cowley, spokeswoman for Independence National Historical Park, which owns and operates the house. Deshler-Morris and an adjoining building are slated to receive new heating and cooling systems and other systems improvements, Cowley said.
December 16, 2010 |
PHILADELPHIA MADE history once again yesterday with the opening of the President's House on Independence Mall, believed to be the country's first federal commemoration of slavery. The $11.2 million project, known officially as "President's House: Freedom and Slavery in Making a New Nation," stands on the footprint of the original structure where presidents George Washington and John Adams resided from 1790 to 1800. The open-air site, at 6th and Market streets, also pays homage to the nine slaves of African descent who were owned by Washington and worked in the house: Austin, 32, Christopher Sheels, 16, Giles, 32, Hercules, 36, Joe Richardson, 26, Moll, 51, Oney Judge, 17, Paris, 16 and Richmond, 14. Hercules was Washington's chef and Oney Judge was maid to Martha Washington and her grandchildren.
January 25, 2010 |
Twelve years ago, when Nancy Loane visited Washington's headquarters at Valley Forge National Historical Park, she asked the ranger a facetious question: "Did Martha Washington sleep here?" Loane assumed she knew the answer. So she was surprised when the ranger informed her that Martha not only had slept in the stone house that her husband occupied during the winter of 1777-78 but also had spent four months there. The ranger's reply launched Loane on an odyssey of research and discovery and spawned a passion bordering on obsession.
July 4, 2008
Across Independence Mall on this Fourth of July, storytellers will entertain Philadelphia visitors with tales of the American colonists' struggle for independence. Literally beneath their feet, though, an equally stirring story of another people's quest for freedom waits to be told to a much wider audience. It's a disquieting narrative about how the first president quartered nine slaves in the nation's first White House, a mansion at Sixth and Market Streets in the city where the Declaration of Independence was signed.