George Washingtons childhood house discovered in Virginia

July 3rd, 2008 - 12:56 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, July 3 (ANI): The foundations of George Washingtons childhood house at Ferry Farm in Virginia, US, which is also the setting of the legendary cherry tree story told by the first American President.

According to a report in national Geographic News, prehistoric specimens, wig curlers, and a half million other artifacts discovered at the site will help scholars fill in large gaps in the story of the first US presidents early life.

When you look at the normal biographies of Washington, they start when hes 23, said David Muraca, who oversaw the excavation as director of archaeology at the George Washington Foundation, which owns Ferry Farm.

This piece of the story is very difficult for historians to get their hands around. This dig will let us start our stories much earlier, he added.

Washington sold the property in 1774, after he had already moved to Mount Vernon, Virginia, some 40 miles (65 kilometers) away.

Many of the stones used in the Ferry Farm house were later reused to construct other buildings and houses on the property, which starts at the banks of the Rappahannock River in Stafford County.

Still, after a seven-year search, the team was able to identify the floor plan of the house the Washington family inhabited, beginning in 1738, when George was six years old.

The archaeological datacornerstones, hearths, and several cellarsmatched information from a tax inspection after Washingtons father died in 1743, according to Philip Levy, a University of South Florida historian and archaeologist who also oversaw the excavation.

Levy described Washingtons house as a fairly common English building with some regional variations. It was one and a half stories tall, the half being a furnished attic with dormer windows, according to him.

According to historians, the Washingtons kept about ten slaves in the main farmhouse and outbuildings, while another twenty lived at a still-undiscovered nearby site.

The cellars beneath the house held a trove of artifacts, including wig curlers, a Masonic pipe, pottery sherds, fish bones, more than a thousand straight pins, and a mysterious carnelian gem originally from India.

The site also included prehistoric matter that far predated George Washington’s house, as well as items from the years since, said Muraca.

There is also a pipe, decorated with a carved compass in a square on the inner side of the bowl and columns and other Masonic symbols on the outside.

The discoveries will help paint a better picture of the first US presidents life, especially since Ferry Farm has achieved almost legendary status. (ANI)

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