Historic Valley Forge

Was Washington visited by an angel?

Q.Was Washington visited by an angel? Seems I remember a newspaper piece where it told of a dream that Washington had where he was told the outcome of the war, of the next three great wars.
Joan, MA, age 60+

A.There are tons of stories out there regarding Washington. During the last part of the 19th century and the early part of this century stories abounded with various themes and subjects surrounding Washington, his thoughts, visions, character. I have heard and read that he was supposedly visited by angels, spirits and various entities at some time or other. One of them purportedly occurred here at Valley Forge. This visit was by a spirit/ghost. The ghost came to Valley Forge to find Washington. In this visit Washington was shown the expansion of the United States: "from sea to shining sea!" There are some great news clippings in the archival collection here that a "fan" of Washington's compiled during the 1910's and 1920's. Here are some of my favorites:

Philadelphia: December 30, 1916


Four Months is Penalty for Sneers at Father of Country. Olympia, Wash., Dec. 29. As a libeler of George Washington's memory, Paul Haffer, of Tacoma, must serve four months in the county jail, the Washington Supreme Court upholding the conviction of Haffer on a criminal libel charge. Haffer published an article accusing the first President of the United States of drunkenness and other irregularities.

Philadelphia Bulletin: October 1907


Virginia Court Records Show He Was "Presented" for False Swearing Washington, October 3. Is the saying that "George Washington never told a lie" doomed to be handed down to future Americans as a falsehood? It may be that this fate is in store for the reputation of the "Father of His Country" because documentary evidence has just been discovered in Fairfax County, Va., to prove that George Washington was not always regarded by his neighbors as a model of veracity. He was publicly "presented," by the Grand Jury at the May term of the Fairfax county court in 1760 for searing to a flase list of his taxable property. In other words, twelve citizens of his home county officially branded him as a liar and a tax-dodger. The discovery of this record was made by Captain S. R. Donahue, editor of the Fairfax "Herald". While seeking data for a history of the county, which he is engaged in writing, Captain Donahue had occasion to examine the ancient records of the county court, and there he unearthed, a day or two ago, starting proof of the fact that in the 1760's criminal proceedings were instituted against Washington for not entering his property for taxation agreeably to the law, an offense for which involved the making of a false oath. Tradition has it that Washington was haled before court for this offense, but there is no record of the disposition of the case.

Poem to George Washington, no date, anonymous


He, the first chieftain of our strife born state,
Knew well the thrusts of jealousy and hate;
But this the lesson that his calm soul taught;
Rage fits the small man, patience marks the great.

AND HE WAS Little George cut down a tree
And split it into rails
The combination, you'll agree,
Is one that never fails.

The kindly neighbors were not slow
To notice George's bent.

They promptly murmured "Now we know
He will be President."

Evening Ledger: February 20, 1917


To the Editor of the Evening Ledger: Sir, The general use of profanity and blasphemy in the country, especially among men, is appalling. Why they are indulged is one of the conundrums of life, for their use is neither gentle nor profitable. A thought can be expressed in good, plain English with far more force than with profanity. The use of profanity minimizes one's vocabulary and weakens the power of expression. Under the law of Hebrew theocracy, where the form of enactment was, "Thus saith the Lord," the penalty for blasphemy was death; but under the laws of Pennsylvania, where the form of enactment is, "Be it enacted by the Senate and the House of Representatives of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, in General Assembly met," the penalty for blasphemy is a fine in a nominal sum, and rarely, if ever, imposed. George Washington one evening while he was in command of the colonial armies, entertained a number of his subordinate officers at dinner, and he observed that they were all using profane language at his table. He rebuked them for their profanity by saying to them, "I thought I had invited none but gentlemen to dine with me." Would that there were more Washingtons. Reading, PA. February 16. R.B.B.


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