Wednesday, July 02, 2008

G. Washington's Masonic Pipe Found?

The Baltimore Sun is reporting today on a 7 year long archeological dig at the site of George Washington's boyhood home, Ferry Farm, on the Rappahannock River near Fredericksburg. According to the story, evidence suggests that Brother Washington was not born and raised in a humble log cabin as is sometimes presented in fanciful 18th century illustrations, but in a fairly comfortable 2-story house, with 8 rooms. Pretty posh for the period and area, apparently.

The find is important, because the exact site of Washington's childhood home was unconfirmed until this month. The stone foundation has been unearthed, which included evidence of a known fire in the home on Christmas Eve in 1740. Thousands of artifacts have been discovered, helping researchers to get a better physical and economic picture of young George's upbringing.

No hatchets have been found, for you Parson Weems fans out there. A few hoe blades, but no cherry tree felling equipment.

Among the most intriguing items recovered was a pipe bowl, decorated with Masonic symbols on four sides. Washington is known to have joined a Masonic Lodge in Fredericksburg in 1753 while living at Ferry Farm, when he was 21.

"One can't say this is George Washington's pipe, but we can certainly wonder about that," said David Muraca, director of archaeology at the George Washington Foundation, which sponsored the excavations with support from the National Geographic Society.


The Foundation plans eventually to recreate the Washington home on the site. The National Geographic Channel will air a documentary about the project, “The Real George Washington,” in November.

1 comment:

Ben R. said...

This story made it to the national evening news yesterday, including mention of the Masonic pipe. I certainly enjoyed hearing about it.