Despite the meddling of Congress to create a three-day holiday weekend and honor all presidents past and future in a conglomerate holiday, today really is Washington’s birthday.  My grandfather took great pride in being born on February 22, and when he heard Congress had moved the holiday celebration of Washington’s birth from the 22nd to a new floating holiday  he declared, “I’ll be damned if I’m going to let Congress change my birthday.” He was a man of many weird and various political points of view.

Rembrandt_Peale_-_George_Washington_(Porthole_type)_-_Google_Art_ProjectBut this post is just about George.  And just about facts, please.

George did not cut down a cherry tree. That was a fiction.

George did not toss a silver dollar across the Potomac. Really, that river is a mile wide! However, his step grandson did see him fling  a piece of slate across the Rappahannock River in Fredericksburg. A much narrower body of water, too.

And he did cross the Delaware River on a stormy Christmas Eve.CrossingDel_1

But didn’t anyone ever tell him you don’t ever stand up in a rowboat?  But that’s a matter of artistic license. The boats Washington used to cross the river had much higher sides. And they did have to stand because the bottom of the boat was filled with water. Also they did not bring horses and artillery across in rowboats either. They used ferries for that. The other inaccuracies of the painting were the flag and the ice floes. The stars and stripe flag did not exist when he crossed the river. And ice on Delaware does not form in jagged floes. But it does on the Rhine in Germany. And that’s where the artist who created the painting was born.

George did not wear wooden teeth. His false teeth were actually real horse, mule, human and cow teeth set into two lead plates held in place with a spring action.

George did not wear a wig.  He wore his hair long and tied in the back in a pony tail. As was custom of the time, he did powder his hair.

At the time of his death George owned and operated the largest whiskey distillery in the country at Mount Vernon.

Finally, George was not the country’s first President. There was a period of eleven year’s between the Declaration Of Independence and the signing of the Constitution in 1787. As President of the Continental Congress in 1776, John Hancock was the first president of our country. He was followed by Samuel Huntington and finally John Hanson. George Washington was the first elected President of new government under the constitution.

Final fact: Washington’s Headquarters Tent that in worked and slept in during the Revolutionary War still exists. The only reason it is still around, is the fact that it has been in storage for almost 200 years. It eventually will be put on display at the proposed Revolutionary War Museum.

Washington's Tent

Final Note: My grandfather was always proud that he and George shared the same birthday. In researching my family tree I discovered the original registration documents of his birth.  The date on the document … February 23, 1890.  Clerical error? Could be … the 22 was a Saturday and the 23 a Sunday in 1890 the official record was filled until Monday.   Anyway, today would have been his 124th birthday. skip

 And George’s 282nd!Rembrandt_Peale_-_George_Washington_(Porthole_type)_-_Google_Art_Project

Happy Birthday, guys!


About Robert Edler

... a somewhat unknown and/or imaginary actor, writer, director, producer, photographer, friend, brother, uncle and all round good fellow that you really should get to know because he lives with that most glamorous fourpaw Mademoiselle Renee. (Mlle. Renee for short)

Posted on February 22, 2014, in Rob's Random Ramblings And Observations and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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