RELEASE DATE: OCTOBER 5, 2008
P. O. Box 6825
LUBBOCK, TX 79493-6825
Thanks to Ray Parker Fouts of Cocoa, FL, for this interesting article that she found in the North Carolina newspaper, The Old North State, edited by Stephen D. POOL:
[Vol. XI. Elizabeth City, N. C. Saturday, May 3, 1851. No.
"The Birth-place of WASHINGTON. From the Alexandria Gazette. Arlington House. April 14, ’51. To the Editors of the Alexandria Gazette: Observing in your valuable journal, of a late date, the notice of a stone placed on the ruins of a house in which the beloved WASHINGTON first saw the light, permit me to offer to you a brief account of that interesting event, as it occurred six and thirty years ago.
In June, 1815, I sailed in my own vessel, the “Lady of the Lake,” a fine topsail schooner of ninety tons, accompanied by two gentlemen, Messrs. LEWIS and GRYMES bound to POPE’s Creek, in the county of Westmoreland, carrying with us a slab of freestone, having the following inscription: The 11th of February, 1732, (Old Style) WASHINGTON Was Born. Our pilot approached the Westmoreland shore cautiously, as our vessel drew nearly eight feet water, and the pilot was but indifferently acquainted with so unfrequented a navigation. We anchored at some distance from the land, and, taking to our boats, we soon reached the mouth of POPE’s or BRYDGE’s Creek, and proceeding upwards we fell in with McKenzie BEVERLY, Esq., and several gentlemen on a fishing party, and also with the overseer of the property that formed the object of our visit. We were kindly received by the individuals, and escorted to the spot where a few scattered bricks alone marked the birth-place of the Chief.
Desirous of making the ceremonial of depositing the stone as imposing as circumstances would permit, we enveloped it in the “Star-spangled Banner: of our country, and it was borne to its resting place in the arms of the descendants of four revolutionary patriots and soldiers—Samuel LEWIS, a son of George LEWIS, a Captain in BAYLOR’s regiment of horse, and nephew of WASHINGTON; William GRYMES, the son of Benjamin GRYMES, a gallant and distinguished officer of the Life Guard; the Captain of the vessel, the son of a brave soldier wounded in the battle of Guilford; and Geo. W. P. CUSTIS, the son of John Parke CUSTIS, Aid-de-Camp to the Commander-in-Chief before Cambridge and Yorktown.
We gathered together the bricks of the ancient chimney that once formed the hearth around which WASHINGTON in his infancy had played, and constructed a rude kind of pedestal, on which we reverently placed the first stone, commending it to the respect and protection of the American people in general, and the citizens of Westmoreland in particular.
Bidding adieu to those who had received us so kindly, we re-embarked and hoisted our colors, and being provided with a piece of cannon and suitable ammunition, we fired a salute, awakening the echoes that had slept for ages around the hallowed spot; and while the smoke of our martial tribute to the birth-place of the Pater Patriae still lingered on the bosom of the Potomac, we spread our sails to a favoring breeze and speeded joyously to our homes. Such was an act of filial love and gratitude, performed more than a third of a century ago; such is the history of the First Stone to the memory of WASHINGTON. Health and respect, my dear sir, George W. P. CUSTIS." [p. 2]