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Washington’s 2 Journals 1753-1754

compiled by Jim Moyer, last update 9/30/2015

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Washington’s 2 Journals of 2 expeditions

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First trip,

October 31, 1753 Washington, age 21, left Williamsburg VA and completes a round trip of more than 1,000 miles by horse, foot, canoe, and raft in about ten weeks. He gets shot at by an Indian. He and his fellow traveller, Christopher Gist fall in the ice water and scramble on to an island to sleep overnight, risking loss of toes and fingers from frostbite.
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And then the 2nd trip,

back at it again.  Roughly 500 mile roundtrip.
Washington readies for the trip March 31, 1754. This one is the one that historians claim Washington starts the war. And in this trip Washington and his men surrender to the French signing a surrender document accusing Washington of being the assassin in that first trip.
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Don’t listen to this ear worm.  Don’t.

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The leadup to 1st Journey

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10 June 1752:  Lt Gov Dinwiddie receives request for job by George Washington.

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25 October 1752: GW quits the profession of surveying after the last survey

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13 December 1752:   Lt Gov Dinwiddie and Council create adjutant for the Southern District 

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30 October 1753: Commission from Lt Gov Dinwiddie.  Washington becomes Adjutant for the Southern District and has rank of Major.

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30 October 1753:  Dinwiddie writes instructions to  Washington to go to Logstown  and …

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George Washington, just 21 years old,  wanted and got  the job  from Virginia’s  Lt Gov Dinwiddie  to tell the French to leave the area

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Letter from Dinwiddie addressed to French Commander is given to GW to transmit.

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First Journey to “Ohio Country”

31 October 1753 to 16 January 1754

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See link on 1st Journey

See link on 1753 Christmas

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Washington delivers message to French to leave. The story in this excellent link  is printed in London and was printed in Maryland Gazette 21 & 28 March 1754 and the Boston Gazette 16 April–21 May 1754.

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This is a lively story. A wonderful one to dazzle children and adults.

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A video game, Assassin’s Creed popularizes this trip Washington and Gist makes coming back in the icy waters.  Christopher Gist writes of this trip too. His story starts in Will’s Creek (Fort Cumberland) meeting up with Washington and ends back at Wills Creek.

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Different views of Washington’s 1st Journal of the “Ohio country”:

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1. Founders Online, excellent footnotes to this first trip.

2. Archive.org link, literally a page turner  Printed in London.

3. Digital Link file. Ctrl F to find anything to research.

4. Christopher Gist’s journal  14 Nov 1753  to 6 Jan 1754.

5. Life Magazine article on Washington’s journey

6. Emerson’s magazine and Putnam’s monthly. v.5. page 561

7. Emerson’s Magazine and Putnam’s Monthly, 2nd part page 668

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By the way, Christopher Gist  begot Nathaniel Gist who begot Sequoyah, the creator of the Cherokee Alphabet.

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TIMELINE OF 1ST JOURNEY

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October 27, 1753

The Governor acquainted the Board that George Washington Esq. Adjutant General for the Southern District, had offered him self to go properly commissioned to the Commandant of the French Forces, to learn by what Authority he presumes to make Incroach ments on his Majesty’s Lands on the Ohio, who being approved of by the Council, his Honour proposed that a Committee might be appointed to form a Letter to the said Commandant, with a Com mission Instructions and Passport for the said George Washington.   — From the upper chamber, The Council to the Governor, page 444.

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October 29, 1753

William Fairfax Esqº reported that the Gentlemen appointed had according to Order prepared a Letter to the Commandant of the French Forces, with a Commission, Instructions and a Passport to George Washington Esq” which being read and approved were ordered to be fairly transcribed.   — From the upper chamber, The Council to the Governor, page 444.

 

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washington-and-dinwiddie-1753-october-31

30 October 1753:

Commission from Lt Gov Dinwiddie.  Washington is official given the title Adjutant for the Southern District and has rank of Major.

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[Washington Irving’s story on Young George Washington.  Picture from Emerson’s Magazine and Putnam’s Monthly, 1857. vol.5. page 562]

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washington-horseback-oct-31-1753

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October 31, 1753  

This Day the Letter to the Commandant of the French Forces, also the Commission, Instructions, and Passport for George Wash ington Esq” were again read, and delivered to him in Council by the Governor.   

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Ordered That the Receiver General advance One Hundred and Fifty Pounds to the said George Washington to defray his Ex pences in the abovementioned Expedition.   — From the upper chamber, The Council to the Governor, page 445

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Washington left Williamsburg, Virginia on , and completed the round trip of more than 1,000 miles by horse, foot, canoe, and raft in about ten weeks.

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[Picture from Emerson’s Magazine and Putnam’s Monthly, 1857. vol.5. page 561]

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November 24 to 30, Washington held council with Tanacharison and Scarouady at Logstown

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washington-at-logstow-with-chief-half-king

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[Picture credit: Emerson Magazine and Putnam Monthly 1857, pages 565]

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Conotocarious

that’s the nickname

bestowed

on Washington

at Logstown

at end of November 1753.

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Nov. 30-Dec. 4, 1753    ????   Washington’s party spent that night at a Delaware Indian village near the site of today’s Harmony

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washington-with-joncaire

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December 4, 1753  Arrived At Venango. The meeting with Captain Joncaire.

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[Picture credit: Emerson Magazine and Putnam Monthly 1857, vol 5, pages 568]

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About the Joncaire meeting.

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Venango, now Franklin City PA, at the confluence of French Creek and Allegheny River,  was the site of Fraser’s abandoned trading post.

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The French flag was posted there during GW’s visit but by next year the cabin was incorporated into the French building of Fort Machault. Later, Our British Captain Robert Stewart who was Major by 1760 built Fort Venango there.

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The French saw the Ohio River  and Allegheny as one River and called it La Belle Riviere.

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December 7, 1753 at 11am leaving Venango.

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11 December 1753   Washington and Gist arrived at Fort Le Boeuf 

See more on this last leg of the journey going north at Fort Le Boeuf

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George Washington presented Dinwiddie’s letter of 30 Oct 1753 to the French commander Le Gardeur de Saint-Pierre who replied  on 15 Dec 1754.

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The French commandant  stated he was in the Ohio country on the orders of his superiors. and that the matter would have been better resolved if GW had continued his journey to Canada to negotiate with the French administration there.

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TIMELINE GOING HOME

French manipulating Indians to stay and not leave with Washington.

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wt-painting

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27 Dec 1753 

an Indian fired

a shot at

Washington

east of today’s

Evans City, but missed.

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This place takes notice

of that attack

by the Indian

in Fombell Days.

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Touch or Click to Enlarge. Painting by Carl Rakeman.

Washington falls

in an icy river.

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He and Gist stay

overnight on an island.

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In the morning

the ice forms a bridge

from the island to the shore.

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Gist loses some toes to frostbite.

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From George Washington’s Journal:

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 Mr. Gist got all his Fingers, & some of his Toes Froze, & the Water was shut up so hard, that We found no Difficulty in getting off the Island on the Ice in the Morning, & went to Mr. Frazers.

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We met here with 20 Warriors that had been going to the Southward to War, but coming to a Place upon the Head of the Great Cunnaway, where they found People kill’d & Scalpt, all but one Woman with very Light Hair, they turn’d about; & ran back, for fear of the Inhabitants rising & takeing them as the Authors of the Murder:

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They report that the People were lying about the House, & some of them much torn & eat by Hogs; by the Marks that were left, they say they were French Indians of the Ottaway Nation, &ca. that did it.

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December 31, 1753 

Meeting

Queen Alliquippa.

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See Washington’s journal:

“I went up about 3 Miles

to the Mouth of Yaughyaughgane

to visit Queen Aliquippa, (See footnote 64 ) 

who had express’d great Concern

that we pass’d her in going to the Fort.

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I made her a Present of a Match Coat; & a Bottle of rum, which was thought much the best Present of the two.”

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GuyasutaGuyasuta (c.1725–c.1794) was an important leader of the Seneca was on this trip with Washington.

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This statue was dedicated in 2006 at Emerald View Park (formerly called Grand View Scenic Byway Park) which overlooks the 3 rivers, Ohio, Monongahela, Allegheny. Navigate with mouse or touch screen around this statue.

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INTERIM BETWEEN THE 2 JOURNEYS

17 January 1754 to 30 March 1754

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January 16, 1754

 Washington arrives  in Williamsburg.  Lt Gov Dinwiddie immediately asks him to prepare a written report for the House of Burgesses.  Washington reports to Dinwiddie that the French intended to stay.

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Source – Douglas Southall Freeman, George Washington: A Biography, Young Washington, vol. 1, New York, Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1948, page 338.

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January 17, 1754 

Preface to the Journal Major George Washington wrote:  “There intervened but one Day between my Arrival in Williamsburg, and the Time for the Council’s Meeting, for me to prepare and transcribe, from the rough Minutes I had taken in my Travels, this Journal;”

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January 21, 1754

The French Commander’s letter given to Major Washington, Adjutant of the Southern Dept, is printed in the Council to the Governor’s minutes.  A translation is also printed here.  — Source is the upper chamber, The Council to the Governor, pages 458-460.

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14 Feb 1754 

Dinwiddie cuts short the recess.  He calls a new session of  the House of Burgesses.  He gives a spirited address to the House of Burgesses about the French Threat and about George Washington’s findings.

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15 Feb. 1754  

Washington’s journal was delivered to the House of Burgesses,

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21 Feb 1754

The burgesses voted the sum of £50 to George Washington.  But  before voting on money for Washington, a knife stabbing needed to be taken care of.  See Journals of the House of Burgesses of Virginia, 1752-1755, page 182, Thursday 21 February 1754 (babel.hathitrust.org)

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The journal was printed in various colonial newspapers.

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21 & 28 Mar. 1754  

Maryland. Gazette  and here

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16 April–21 May 1754

Boston Gazette

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And New York Mercury,

Pennsylvania Gazette and

South-Carolina Gazette

 discussed here.

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A British edition was issued in London later that same year, for which Washington sent materials for the preparation of a map.

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June 1754

The first British edition was printed by Thomas Jefferys, an engraver from England’s Board of Trade,  appearing with a map not included in the Williamsburg printing.  See Mount Vernon link for source.

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Founders Online review of interim leading up to this 2nd journey

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February-March 1754 

letter from Washington to Corbin, Royal Council member: “…you gave me some room to hope for a commission above that of a Major, and to be ranked among the chief officers of this expedition…”

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20 March 1754  

Lieutenant Colonel’s commission from Dinwiddie

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SECOND ADVENTUROUS EXPEDITION

31 March 1754 to 27 June 1754 

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Views of Washington’s journal:

1. Founders Online Washington’s journal  of the 2nd expedition.

2. Library of Congress Washington Diaries link of same.

3. Archive.org page turner of same, published 1893

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We are including letters for this time period for 2 reasons:

1. Adding to what the journal covers

2. Confirming with a 2nd source what the journal covers

3. Confirm or contradict any edits by the French after capturing the journal

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Edward Ward, an Ensign in a militia company under Captain William Trent in the pay of Virginia tells of Captain William Trent’s exploits during Washington’s 2nd expedition

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17 April 1754 Edward Ward surrenders to the French the fort Trent’s forces built at the Ohio forks. See entry of 23 April 1754 War Council at Fort Cumberland at bottom of page on this.

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4 May 1754 Lt Gov Dinwiddie writes to Lt Col Washington to have Capt Trent and Lt Fraser courtmartialed and states this to Col Joshua Fry too.

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20 May 1754 Lt Gov Dinwiddie in Winchester VA awaiting the Twightwees (Miami Indians) , 25 May 1754 letter1 June 1754 letter, same day 2nd letter,  2 June 1754 stating rum is coming jumonville and chief half king 2 watermarkedand a speech for Half King and meeting with prisoner La Force and other prisoners from the Jumonville Incident

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28 May 1754 Killing of Joseph Coulon de Villiers, Sieur de Jumonville

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29 May 1754 Washington describes Jumonville Incident to Col Joshua Fry

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JumonvilleGlenPanorama_5_2_2007

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31 May 1754 Joshua Fry, Commander in Chief, falls off horse, dies

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4 June 1754 Lt Gov Dinwiddie still in Winchester VA, sends Washington his promotion to Commander of the VA Regiment with Innes as overall commander of the united forces from North Carolina, VA, MD.

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3 July 1754 Journal ends before defeat of Washington at Fort Necessity.  See roster of men there.

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12 July 1754 Colonel Innes stating he arrive at Winchester VA  30 June 1754, writes to Gov  of PA, James Hamilton about the defeat and capture of Washington and his men at Fort Necessity, pages 50-52 from the book, MINUTES, PROVINCIAL COUNCIL PENNSYLVANIA, from the organization to the termination  of the proprietary government. published by the state. vol. vi. containing the proceedings of council from. April 2d, 1754, to January 29th, 1756, both days included. Harrisburg:  printed by Theo. Fenn & Co 1851.

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See the word assassin in article 7 of the articles of capitulation written in French?  This is the articles of capitulation Washington signed.  See pages 52-53 of the book MINUTES, PROVINCIAL COUNTRY referenced above. Points in Washington’s defense made by many historians are that the interpretor knew French better than English but was reading a rain soaked illegible note to Washington.  Will get citations for that.

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 surrender fort necessity discussion

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AFTERMATH

October 1754: Washington presents the expense account and resigns.

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What everyone was saying in Williamsburg VA after this.

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LINKS

This is an excellent list of all the HOUSE OF BURGESSES journals by years.

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Contents show Journal, London Map, Frye-Jefferson Map

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Washington’s Trail – http://www.washingtonstrail.org/

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Washington’s Diaries, Journals – excellent list

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Descriptive summaries of Washington’s Diaries

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A yellowed page turner copy of Washington’s first journal 31 October 1753 to 16 January 1754

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Life Magazine issue 20 February 1956  of Washington’s Journey

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George Croghan’s letters and journals 16 November 1750 to November 1765

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Christopher Gist’s Journal  also records this trip, from  Wednesday 14 November 1753  through Sunday 6 January 1754 starting at Will’s Creek and back to Will’s Creek, pages 80-87

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More Links

February 1, 1756 to April 7, 1756 for Washington’s Boston Trip:

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http://founders.archives.gov/?q=Volume%3AWashington-02-02&s=1511211112&r=301

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http://founders.archives.gov/content/volumes

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http://founders.archives.gov/series/Washington/01

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http://founders.archives.gov/volumes/Washington/01-01

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Mapping the Journey

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http://old.post-gazette.com/neigh_north/20030216ncover0216p1.asp

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