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Jan
13

Washingtons in Barbados

By
When:
September 23, 2016 all-day
2016-09-23T00:00:00-04:00
2016-09-24T00:00:00-04:00
Where:
George Washington House

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compiled by Jim Moyer 1/13/16, updated 10/2/2016, 1/7/2017, 1/8/2017,  3/21/2019, 11/1/2019, 11/3/19

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George Washington is on a ship

sighting the east coast

of Barbados at

4am November 2, 1751.

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George Washington is on the ship, Success, with  Lawrence, his older half brother, rocking on waves to Barbados.

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This is quite a trip in 1751.    See GW’s diary on this trip.

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Feel free to skip around.  Read bits and pieces.

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barbados-ship-at-seaGW leaves Bridgetown, Barbados on the Industry around December 19. 1751.

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He catches a stormy Gulf Stream back to Williamsburg to have his first audience with Lt Gov Dinwiddie.

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From then on Winchester became his launch headquarters.

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First for the Ohio Company for land in the Ohio Country.

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Then for taking away the French at Fort Duquesne.

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This was one local theatre in a world wide war.

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One that allowed the sun to never set on the British Empire until after WWII.

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The Two Brothers’ Portraits and Family Tree

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lawrence_washington

Portrait of Lawrence Washington possibly painted by Gustavus Hesselius about 1738. Currently in George Washington’s study at Mount Vernon. (Mount Vernon/Wikipedia)

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George Washington is 19.

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His  older Brother

by a different mother

is Lawrence, 33,

has tuberculosis.

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Lawrence is looking

for the Barbados climate

to restore him.

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Fascinating detail study of this portrait of Lawrence Washington is found here.

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Artist Gustavus  Hesselius who is alleged to have painted the portrait of Lawrence Washington had a son, John Hesselius who is also alleged to have painted that portrait of Lawrence.

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The son,

 John Hesselius

had a studio

in which

Charles Willson Peale

interned.

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See the story on Charles Willson Peale,

the artist

who later

painted the first

known portrait

of George Washington.

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Touch or Click to Enlarge

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Starting during the Hurricane Season

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The Washington brothers sailed on the Success or on the Fredericksburg about September 23 – 28, 1751.  Read more on the ship info.    The ship sights Barbados 4am November 2, 1751.

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hurricane-1024px-atlantic_hurricane_tracks

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So they leave for Barbados during the Hurricane Season .

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Lawrence can then recuperate in Barbados — maybe the richest city in the world at the time.

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See List of Atlantic Hurricanes in 18th Century.

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Why this trip has Meaning:


 

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George Washington gets Small Pox making him immune to the epidemic during the Rev War 2 decades later.

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GW gets a sense of a World Economy in the richest city.

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GW looks at some Spanish Fort constructions.

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1.  Smallpox

GW gets smallpox.

  1. Probably caused him to have no children,

  2. Protected him to survive the future epidemics

  3. Taught him how to protect his family and troops when smallpox hit.

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‘…The disease barely touched Virginia between 1732 and 1751.”

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“Note from Gedney Clarke,

an uncle of Lawrence Washington’s wife,

inviting them to his house.

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They went,

though George Washington confessed

“some reluctance” on his part,

because Mrs. Clarke

[Gedney Clarke’s wife]

was confined with smallpox,

a dreaded disease

he had so far avoided.

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It proved to be a fateful decision. Within two weeks he was stricken with the disease.”

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Source:

http://www.mountvernon.org/george-washington/washingtons-youth/journey-to-barbados

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More on George Washington’s health through his lifetime

 

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2.  World Economy.

Visiting perhaps the

wealthiest city in the world

opened GW’s eyes

to power

and the mechanics of commerce.

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  Per Mount Vernon website:  “Washington paused in Williamsburg– which he now sarcastically dubbed “the great metropolis, “ upon arriving there from Barbados.

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Did Barbados show GW more than just the agrarian economy Jefferson envisioned?

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3.  Military.

Nearby was a fort GW investigated.

This fort was probably Needham’s Point, where St Ann’s Fort (1705) and Fort Charles was built.

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Mount Vernon website states:

“He [George Washington]  notes that Charles Fort was “pretty strongly fortifyed and mounts about 36 Gunes within the fortification” in addition to “2 facine Batterys” beyond the walls. Wherever he went along the west coast he found that the islanders “have large Intrenchments cast up wherever its possible for an enemy to Land.””

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More on Charles Fort:

PETRIE, CAPT. ———. Commander of Charles Fort, frequently called Needham’s Fort, on the southern point of the entrance to Carlisle Bay and Bridgetown. The many forts on the west coast of Barbados were garrisoned largely by the militia. Therefore, this Barbados captain may have been a militia officer, perhaps George John Petrie, who gave a power of attorney to Jonas and John Maynard 9 June 1753 and died in Middlesex, Eng., the same year.16  – source Founders Online Footnote

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bridgetown-barbados

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James Fort in actual manuscript of GW’s journal:

In 1751 George Washington and his half brother Lawrence rented Bush Hill house from the Commander of James Fort, Commander Croftan, for seven weeks on Washington’s only trip outside of the United States.”    – source Wayside Marking website

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More on James Fort:

CROFTAN (Crofton), CAPT. ———. The officer commanding James Fort who rented a house to the Washingtons. GW wrote his name “Crawford” twice, then corrected it. He was probably a militia officer.

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Although the Thirty-eighth Foot was the regiment assigned to the Leewards at this time, there are no extant records associating this unit with service on Barbados; no Captain Croftan or Crofton appears on the manuscript or printed army lists of the period in the Public Record Office, London.  – source Founders Online Footnote,  and more on the 38th here, and here.

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Months after GW was in Barbados, the 38th wasn’t called the 38th until, 1 July 1751 a royal warrant was issued which provided that in future regiments would no longer be known by their colonel’s name . . . “

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5 Reasons to Follow George Washington to Barbados

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Chronology


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The Washington brothers sailed on the Success or on the Fredericksburg about September 23 – 28, 1751.  Read more on the ship info.

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See link on Why the ship might have been Success after all.

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Sighted the east coast of Barbados at 4am November 2. 1751.

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RUM

No diary entry about this, but “The Mount Gay Distillery dates back to 1703 and is today the oldest continuously functioning rum distillery in the world. Now owned by the French spirits company Remy Cointreau, it is also at the center of a rum revival.”

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Guy Fawkes Day

November 5, 1751

GW celebrates Guy Fawkes Day  in Barbados.

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“Serpents, or fireworks discharged in commemoration of Guy Fawkes Day, 5 Nov.”

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“This remark enables us to correct the dating of the diary entries made during this period.”

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Source is from Founders Online notes on GW’s Diary.

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A THEATRE PLAY

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There is No date determined except that GW saw this play in Barbados.

See this link to read the play.

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James Carter, a well-connected and well-respected man on the island, gave young George a ticket to see the play The London Merchant: or, the History of George Barnwell. Lawrence, 14 years George’s senior, did not receive a ticket.  See Source.

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James Carter owned a plantation later named Walke’s Spring in the St Thomas Parish of Barbados.  Ctrl F to find James Carter in this listing of estates.

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George Washington sees this play:

The London Merchant 

(Or The History Of George Barnwell)

is playwright George Lillo‘s

most famous work.

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Popular for the Century? They are not kidding. This is a picture in a book published in 1841, long after the play first appeared in 1731 on Drury Lane.

A tragedy that follows the downfall of a young apprentice due to his association with a prostitute, it is remarkable for its use of middle and working class characters.

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First performed

at the Drury Lane Theatre

on 21 June 1731,

The London Merchant

became one of the

most popular plays

of the century. —- FROM WIKIPEDIA

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Here is the whole play.

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SMALLPOX

November 16 or 17, 1751, George Washington was stricken with smallpox.  STRONGLY ATTACKED WITH THE SMALL POX: On 16 Nov., GW suspended his diary entries for the duration of his illness. The wording indicates that he made the 16 Nov. entry after recovering on 12 Dec. 

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George Washington booked passage on the Industry, 19 December 1751 to sail for Virginia“He spent Christmas at sea, dining on beef and “Irish Goose,” and settled down to an uneventful though frequently stormy homeward voyage, content to maintain a terse diary rather than a ship’s log.”

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George Washington confessed 

“some reluctance” on his part,

because Mrs. Clarke

was confined with smallpox,

a dreaded disease

he had so far avoided.

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It proved to be a fateful decision. Within two weeks he was stricken with the disease.”

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Source:

http://www.mountvernon.org/george-washington/washingtons-youth/journey-to-barbados

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BOABAB TREE

A witness tree?  GW may have seen this tree. This tree was there when GW was in Barbados.

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BACK HOME

Industry docked in Yorktown on January 27, 1752.

As an aside the Industry  foundered in the Irish Sea before 27 February 1753

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DINWIDDIE

Dinner with Dinwiddie in Williamsburg  January 30, 1752 ?

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A Cock Fight after the visit?  Ctrl F in GW’s diary for cockfight.

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6 months later?  June 10, 1752, GW writes to Dinwiddie for the job of  “Adjutancy of the Northern Neck”

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Dinwiddie responds December 13, 1752 for Adjutant for Southern District.

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LAND

In 1752 Washington made his first land purchase, 1,459 acres along Bullskin Creek in Frederick County, Virginia.  The Mt Vernon website repeats this claim.

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But this link claims George Washington first purchased land  in Frederick County earlier in 1750.

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May 1753 GW buys an in lot and out lot in Winchester VA

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CALENDAR

September 1752 loses 11 days.

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THE HOUSE – THE MYTH


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barbados-house-georg-washington-1

“We pitched on the house of Captn Croftan,” Washington wrote.

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Although they thought it extravagant at £15 a month, they chose a house owned by Captain Croftan, or Crofton, overlooking Carlisle Bay.

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The little house which Barbadian taxi drivers now show to tourists as the Washington home is merely the object of a legend.

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Located on Bay Street at Chelsea Road not far from St. Ann’s Garrison, it bears no resemblance to the architecture of the mid–1700s.

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Even if it had been standing in GW’s time, it could not have survived the devastating hurricanes of 1780 and 1831, which nearly destroyed Bridgetown and brought havoc to the entire island.

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Some credence was given the legend when an official historic sites committee in 1910 referred to the building as Crofton’s House and associated it with GW.

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Tourist literature still designates the place “the Washington House,” but the question of its authenticity has been disposed of by local historians.1  

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Source is Founders Online:

http://founders.archives.gov/documents/Washington/01-01-02-0002-0004

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 [Neville Connell], “Historic Sites Re-Visited: Crofton’s House,” Jl. of Barbados Museum and Hist. Soc., 12 (1945), 208–11.

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THE PEOPLE GW MET


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See short biographies of the people GW met.

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barbados-house-georg-washington-2Another day he was the dinner guest of the “Beefsteak and Tripe Club,” a group of the island’s leading gentlemen.

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Some of these gentlemen visited the brothers at Crofton’s house and invited them to their homes.

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He indulged his emerging taste for the theater by attending a performance of George Lillo’s The London Merchant, or the History of George Barnwell, which was also playing in Drury Lane that season.

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Lillo’s play may have been the first stage production which GW had ever seen, other than amateur performances.  See more.

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See Washington’s Diary of this trip:

http://founders.archives.gov/documents/Washington/01-01-02-0002-0005

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https://journals.openedition.org/1718/867?lang=en#bodyftn47

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More on this social scene, the plays seen by George Washington, and the Beef and Tripe Club

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LINKS


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Voyage to Barbados, 1751–52

list of 6 links

of Founders Online site:

http://founders.archives.gov/ancestor/GEWN-01-01-02-0002

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Founders Online link:

http://founders.archives.gov/documents/Washington/01-01-02-0002-0004

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Mount Vernon links:

http://www.mountvernon.org/research-collections/digital-encyclopedia/article/barbados/

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http://www.mountvernon.org/george-washington/washingtons-youth/journey-to-barbados

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More Links:

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http://www.georgewashingtonbarbados.org/index.asp?pgid=1

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http://www.boston.com/travel/getaways/caribbean/articles/2008/02/17/new_take_on_george_slept_here/

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Barbados archaeology

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http://scholarworks.wm.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1227&context=honorstheses

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https://www.waymarking.com/wm/search.aspx?f=1&lat=13.096017&lon=-59.617633&t=6

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file:///C:/Users/jim-m/Downloads/1376-ICOMOS-1786-en.pdf

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Interesting links

found in the course

of this research


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Many people in the 13 colonies came first through Barbados

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Given how small the island was, many of the whites who couldn’t establish a large plantation moved on to other British colonies. Many went to places that would become part of the United States. They replicated the Barbadian plantation model, growing mainly rice and tobacco, and had an outsized impact on early America. In colonies like South Carolina, six of the governors were Barbadians between 1670 and 1730.

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https://www.thedailybeast.com/the-original-slave-colony-barbados-and-andrea-stuarts-sugar-in-the-blood

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Dubbed the “Goose Creek Men,” the group known as the founding fathers of the Deep South, consisted of English planters who settled in South Carolina from Barbados, Heitzler said. Two-and-a-half centuries later their history is preserved through literature, including books Heitzler penned.

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http://palmercemeteryfishtown.com/statemarker.html

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Lewis Morris (1726-1798) was an ardent supporter of American independence and served in the Continental Congress from 1775-1777, and in the NY state legislature between 1777 and 1790. He signed the Declaration of Independence in 1776. His great grandfather (Richard, died 1672) had immigrated to New York through Barbados after being part of Oliver Cromwell‘s army in the English Civil War of 1648. He purchased the first tract of land in The Bronx that became the basis for the Morrisania manor.

Gouverneur Morris (1752-1816) half-brother of Lewis Morris, was a political leader, diplomat, U.S. Senator, and American ambassador to France. He was an outspoken opponent to what he termed ‘unchecked popular democracy’. His son, G. Morris II, sold the estate to Jordan Mott, who built the famed Mott Iron Works on the Harlem River.

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STATE HISTORICAL MARKERS in New York City: Part 1

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“Hospitality and a Genteel behaviour is shown to every gentleman stranger”: George Washington’s Impressions of Barbados and Barbadians in 1751

Karl Watson

Barbados was the only place Washington ever visited outside of continental North America. In 1751 he accompanied his ailing brother, Lawrence, to the West Indian island. His experiences and impressions are recorded in the journal he kept during his six-week stay. This journal is the major source used for this talk, which is set in the context of the socio-economic history of the small island of Barbados where the astounding success of sugar cultivation and processing using the labor largely of enslaved West Africans had created what contemporaries described as the “jewel in the Crown” and the “richest spote of ground in the worlde.”

Karl Watson is Barbadian-born and earned his Ph.D. from the University of Florida. He was a member of the group that restored the George Washington House on Barbados and is deputy Chairman of the Board of Directors of that historic property. He is the author of several books, including Barbados the Civilised Island; Barbados: A Social History, 1750 to 1816Barbados First: The Years of Change, 1920 to 1970; and The White Minority in the Caribbean (with Howard Johnson).

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https://www.mountvernon.org/library/library-events-programs/the-2017-george-washington-symposium/

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life masks

https://www.gutenberg.org/files/51890/51890-h/51890-h.htm

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