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A Glimpse Of George Washington's Birthplace

( Originally Published 1916 )



BY GRACE B. JOHNSON

From The Christian Endeavor World

Seldom visited and almost unknown is the Wake-field Farm. in Virginia, the birthplace of our first President. Recent attempts have been made to popularize the place, but there is little to attract the ordinary traveler; and its distance from a city makes excursions impracticable.

Lying on the Potomac River, about seventy miles below the city of Washington, one edge of the estate reaches down a steep, wooded bank to dip into the water, while, stretching back, it rambles on in grassy meadows and old stubble-fields to the corn-lands and orchards of the adjoining plantations. Skirting the land on one side is Pope's Creek, formerly Bridges' Creek, which in Washington's time was used as the main approach to the estate. On this side there is an easy, undulating slope ; but this entrance has been abandoned. Only at high tide can small boats enter the creek, and an-other way had to be adopted. An iron pier nearly two miles away has been built, and is the landing-place for large and small craft.

All is quiet here now. There is only the rustle of the leaves, the drowsy hum of insects, and the interrupted discourse of the preacher-bird in the clump of trees near which stood the first home of Washington, to break the stillness on a summer day. No one lives here. Indeed, no one has lived here since the fire which destroyed the house and negro cabins, in Washington's boyhood. But here the baby life was spent, in the homestead founded by his great-grand father, John Washington, who came from England in 1657.

Only a heap of broken bits grown over with catnip showed the place of the great brick chimney the first time I visited the farm; and the second time these, too, were gone. Now a plain, graceful shaft, bearing the simple inscription, Washington's Birthplace," and below, " Erected by the United States, A.D. 1895," marks the place.

From the monument through the trees, can be seen the gleaming river, rippling its way silently to the bay, and over all rests the same brooding sense of peace and quietness which one feels at Mt. Vernon or at Arlington, the city of our nation's dead.



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