For 47 of his 67 years, George Washington celebrated two birthdays...sort of. The first was the date on which he was born in 1732, February 11th.
But wait, some may ask—wasn’t his birthday always on February 22nd?
In 1752, you see, when George Washington was twenty, Great Britain adopted the new, improved calendar instituted by Pope Gregory the 13th late in the 16th century and proceeded to impose it on us as we were then colonies of Great Britain. This newly imposed Gregorian calendar, as it became known, fixed the length of the solar year at 365 days, to which was added one day every four years if said year was divisible by four (i.e. Leap Year).
The switch to the Gregorian calendar from the old Julian calendar (named for Julius Caesar) was because the old calendar had become out of whack relative to the sun’s and earth’s cycles by ten whole days. By 1752, it was off by eleven whole days. So those eleven days were simply dropped that year. The day following February 1, for instance, was not February 2nd. It was February 11th. So George Washington’s old birthday on February 11th jumped all the way to February 22nd.
Although at first many colonial communities refused to go along with this, George Washington apparently took the change in stride and, from 1752 on, accepted February 22nd as his birthday. On the other hand, he didn’t completely ignore his old February 11th birthday. For instance, in 1799 he attended a gala birthday party in his honor in Alexandria, Virginia, on February 11th, writing in his diary that night that he “went up to Alexandria for the celebration of my birthday.”
Eleven days later, on February 22nd, 1799, he celebrated his second birthday of that year which turned out to be the last of his life. He died ten months later, on the evening of December 14, 1799.
(The above came from THIS site)
|A toast to our Commander in Chief|
from Citizens of the American Colonies!
So to celebrate the Father of our Country's 290th birthday, a few of us got together on the Sunday before his Gregorian birthdate (February 20) in our own commemoration. Yes, we are all people who admire what a great man Washington was - greater, in my opinion, than any president that followed - and therefore we felt this would be a fond and fine way to honor him. That doesn't mean that I / we agree with everything he did, for he certainly had his faults (show me a human being that doesn't), but even with his human faults and decisions, he truly was a great, great man.
So once again we gathered at the old schoolhouse in Eastpointe to celebrate our nation's 1st President (and the man that lead the Continental Army to victory and Independence against Britain's King George and his Regulars. And what a fine opportunity to get back into our period clothing!
|Tom Bertrand and I both collect flags and enjoy speaking about them.|
I also learned he had portrayed Johnny Appleseed at one time!
|"How do you do, Miss Schubert and Miss Paladino? |
I am right heartily glad to see you both. It has been a long time."
If you will notice the flag there in the background, it is George Washington's Headquarters Flag that Tom Bertrand brought along. The flag, also known as the Commander-in-Chief (or George Washington's) standard, which marked General Washington’s presence on the battlefield during the Revolutionary War, featured 13 white, six-pointed stars representing the 13 colonies on a blue field.
“Revolutionary Americans adopted various symbols to represent the new republic that they created after the Declaration of Independence,” said Dr. R. Scott Stephenson, then-Vice President of Collections Exhibitions and Programs for the Museum. “Washington's Standard includes a blue field with thirteen white stars representing a new constellation, which Congress adopted in 1777 as a component of the now familiar ‘Star-Spangled Banner.’”
What is interesting about this particular flag Tom brought is that it actually flew over Mount Vernon for a short while!
How cool is that?
|Yes, we enjoyed some fine treats|
Today's gathering was for friends to come together to converse and to dine.
Folks brought a nice variety of period-correct food.
Straight from Boston Harbor:
|Even though much was thrown into|
Boston Harbor in December of '73,
some still enjoy their tea.
|"My dear friend! It is very good to see you on this day.|
How does all at home?"
|Our French friend, David.|
|I was very glad to see my friends Jennifer and Amy join us.|
If you recall, we spent time together at Greenfield Village
during the Holiday Nights Christmas event.
Both ladies seem to be enjoying reenacting this time period more and more.
|Ken Roberts is with Mark and Debbie Triplett.|
|Charlotte and Carolyn - so good to see you both!|
For my friend Carolyn, who is in a few of the above photos, I would like to include this picture you see below, of which is a combination of two separate photos to make a more cohesive single. It was taken at an event called "We Humble Ourselves - Turning a Nation Back to God," (2015) which was a patriotic concert/ceremony featuring a symphony orchestra, a choral group, a drum and fife corps, and living historians representing historical figures showing our nation's Christian heritage. Attendees were encouraged to dress in Colonial or Civil War era clothing for the Event, which many did.
I, unfortunately, could not attend, for I had prior commitments. But, Carolyn did, as well as another friend, Jeri (who has sadly since passed away):
I chose the Exeter, New Hampshire house of John Giddings (now reconstructed and restored inside Greenfield Village in Dearborn, Michigan) for the background of this photo because Giddings, being a man of prominence, was an elected statesman for several years, and a representative just before and during the early years of the American Revolution. He one of the most active and trusted supporters of the patriotic cause in the Legislature, and he commanded a company of those who marched from Exeter to Portsmouth to support, if necessary, in the raid upon Fort William and Mary in Portsmouth Harbor in December 1774. In 1775, he was nominated for the important appointment of delegate to the Continental Congress, but modestly withdrew his name.
As for my own research, in the book "Rolls and Documents Relating to Soldiers of the Revolutionary War," I found a Captain John Giddings under the "Exeter Account."
There is also a possibility that George Washington may have had some contact with a member of the Giddings family and perhaps may have even seen this house. Though there is nothing documented of a Washington-Giddings meeting, Washington was in Exeter in 1789 and that he most likely had dinner with a group of prominent citizens, including the New Hampshire Secretary of State Joseph Pearson (Giddings' soon to be son-in-law). However, in Washington's diary entry dated November 4, 1789, he indicates that he had taken note of, and had an interest in, the ship building activity in Exeter. Newspaper accounts of the time do place Washington at Folsom Tavern just a few blocks from the Giddings' wharf.
One never knows...
And one day, while I was visiting the Henry Ford Museum:
As commander of the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War, General George Washington usually did sleep and eat in the nearby homes of well-to-do people during the eight
years he led the American military campaign. But among George Washington’s camp equipage were tents, this folding bed, cooking and eating utensils, and other equipment that he used when encamped on the field with his troops.
|While in Colonial Williamsburg I got to meet |
the 1775 George Washington.
And, at Historic Fort Wayne in Detroit I was able to be with...
|...the 1780s George Washington.|
History all around.
So now we are celebrating the 290th birthday of the Father of our Country - whether Julian or Gregorian. I think it’s ironic that today we don’t really celebrate either one of George Washington’s two February birthdays. The closest we come is our celebration of Presidents’ Day on the 3rd Monday in February.
But we do find it unique that his birthday date here in 2022 falls as 02-22-22. And on a Tuesday (Two-sday? lol).
|Happy Birthday Sir.|
Until next time, see you in time.
To learn about Washington's Death, please click HERE
A quick museum overview of America's fight for Liberty - click HERE
Flying Solo in Period Clothing - Colonial Ken Visits The Henry Ford Museum - click HERE