New Facts Brought to Light in Recent Discoveries in Old Washington Letters
Head of Historical Research Unearths New Material for Anniversary
Final settlements of problems which have always baffled students of the life of George Washington were announced yesterday to a CRIMSON reporter by Dr. Albert Bushnell Hart '80, Eaton Professor of the Science of Government, Emeritus. As historian of the United States Commission for the Celebration of the Two Hundredth Anniversary of the Birth of George Washington, Professor Hart has been extremely active in research work about the first president; on Saturday he sails Ior Europe to clear up certain other points.
Interesting Riddle Solved
Among the less significant although highly interesting questions was one which has been answered by documents included in the two thousand or more recently discovered by Professor Hart and Mr. Henry Woodhouse, a collector in Washington, D. C. It appears that Mrs. Mary Ball Washington, mother of the president, applied to the legislature a short while after the Revolution, and claimed that she was in need of a pension and certainly merited it, as the mother of the patriot. Her son, then president, was greatly embarrassed we have a letter which he wrote to his sister, vehemently protesting that their mother was well able to take care of herself on her substantial income. Among the letters just unearthed is the complete statement of the executors of Mrs. Washington's will, in which her property is assessed, and shown to be of considerable value, fully large enough to support her.
The place where Washington passed most of his boyhood has also been the subject of much controversy; recently this too has been settled, definite proof having been obtained that it was at the old Strother's Farm opposite Fredericksburg. At present little remains of this historic farmhouse, with the possible exception of a shed popularly called "The Surveyor's Office," which might very well have been a chicken-coop.
Wakefield has long been known as the president's birthplace; John D. Rockefeller, Jr., has just purchased 267 acres of the estate, on which the old house will be reproduced at a cost of about half a million dollars. When it is completed, together with the Strothers Farm, which it is hoped to have rebuilt, and with Mount Vernon, there will be three important shrines of the nation's hero.
As part of the general plan of development, Congress readily appropriated $4,250,000 to construct a boulevard from Washington to Mount Vernon, along the bank of the Potomac, by which pilgrims from all over the land may have easy access to Washington's homes.