tv George Washington in the South CSPAN January 7, 2017 12:30pm-1:51pm EST
washington's 1791 southern tour." it's about an hour and 20 minutes. mr. shank: i want to welcome you all here this evening to this book talk. we have a great topic for tonight. the washington library is proud to offer three monthly book talks as part of our mission to disseminate knowledge about the colonial and founding eras. we also want to thank ford for their ongoing support.
[applause] shank: tonight's guest is war and being home. freelanceoadcaster, author, and write her. he won a ba in history from the university of north carolina -- go, heels. his career includes nearly 25 years of success in sales and marketing and philanthropic services. he is a special interest in the history of south and north carolina. carolina and george seems to be a theme. he is the creator of carolina color, a series of live radio the nuts -- vignettes, and his column has appeared in the raleigh times and observer.
i hope you brought some hush puppies or barbecue or something with you. being a tech person myself, i appreciate warren because he has a very active twitter account. thank you for promoting this event to your following. tonight's event, he will discuss his latest book, "george washington's 1791 southern tour." this is a book that considers the history and lore of the presidents -- president's visit to the south. i had a opportunity to work on an interactive map here a few years ago. it has more than 1000 places where washington visited during his lifetime. if you are into washington geography, i highly recommend it. you can see the different
journeys and paths he visited. it is remarkable seeing things in an 18th century context, how far washington moved from north to south, and east to west. particularly in north america. if you are looking for that, you can find it on our homepage. also, mountvernon.org/washingtonsworld mountvernon.org/washingtonsworld . one word. while washington never visited europe, i do contend that he was one of the most well-traveled founding fathers when it comes to north america. when you consider his journey across the wilderness to confront the french and the beginning of the french and indian war. this is a man who, throughout his life, was on the move. he was a man who wanted to see the world with his own two eyes. he accomplished so much in that
regard, and his journeys are really true ethics. -- epics. i truly realized you discovered a more human washington when you study washington on the move, and you see a man you can relate to. i think mr. bingham agrees. i will quote from his introduction. "when i visualized a tired washington plug away -- plugging fromon a journey 50 miles my hometown, he became human and flesh and blood pure code without much further ado, please welcome mr. warren bingham. [applause] mr. bingham: thank you, rob, and thank you everyone. who are all of you anyway? [laughter]
mr. bingham: i need to get a list of everyone's name, i can't believe you're all here to hear me talk. it is thrilling for me to be in mount vernon, and they have a great audience to hear it. that is very special for me. i have been sharing this topic for over 20 years. the book as a capstone of my long-time interest in this study. over the years in my travels, people sometimes are confused as to what is george washington's southern tour? it is not a military campaign. it wasn't a fine wine or one of washington's with d's -- whiskeys he distilled here. it was a literal trip, and some folks have a hard time believing that. the southern tour, unlike the other troubles washington took, -- travels washington took --
the others were a little bit more routine. this was one of three major trips he took to visit the major state -- the southern states during his first term as president. it is nearly three and a half months. the capital was in philadelphia, and washington held this trip to the last because he knew it was the most challenging, and one of the reasons is because north carolina, my home state, was reluctant to join the union. in north carolina, we have long been ones not to want to commit to anything. didn't want to commit to the union. did not really want to commit to the confederacy. north carolinians want to be off to themselves. we had the shadow of virginia and south carolina surrounding
us, those states would poke fun at us. slow to move. we were not a very united state. union, slow to join the but we signed the constitution in november 1789. washington was cleared to come down south and see the southern states. at that time, the seven states that refer to would be virginia, the carolinas, and georgia. why did washington visit the 13 states, and make the southern tour? he was salesman in chief. he was selling the new federal government, which was not especially something a lot of people were in love with from the get-go, just like they are today. some things don't change. and he was selling the new
constitution. washington was a strong federalist. not many in the south were rat -- that strongly in favor of that, except in certain pockets. plus, that was the fourth largest city in the united states at the time. washington wanted to get to charleston in particular during his southern tour. washington was a keen observer. he had learned a lot. as rob said, he was learning all his life, and trouble -- travel really informed him. you can tell from his diaries how he got more of a cake -- kick out of observing a river, field, or industry rather than meeting with people. so that was a thing that was going on on the stores, especially the southern tour. as my mother would say, that does not constitute proper visit
to north carolina. washington knew it was important to use his presence to influence people. he was the hero the american -- of the american revolution, and stood exposed to -- 6'2". that when a long way. he was beloved at the time. he was like elvis and the pope combined. with that influence, he wanted to get among people and impress the importance of it stronger federal government, the new government, and the constitution. washington enjoyed being out of
the office. he was a soldier, farmer, surveyor, he liked to be out. it was thought at the time it was good to be out in the fresh air and ride horseback in particular. that is why they created all those quirky machines and exercise the body in the strange ways in the 1950's. george washington was an excellent horseman, and wanted to be out. those were the reasons why washington, a man of action, and in his early days as president he wanted to visit all 13 states. he asked for john adams'thoughts on that, and his cabinet's opinion. i'm not sure what they said, but washington was going to go regardless. he didn't waste much time. in 1789, 90, 91, after three years in office, washington had visited all 13 states. pretty remarkable, considering the challenges of the time.
i have was interested -- i was interested in the subject since hearing about it in my senior year of college. for the first time, it dawned on me that george washington -- and i was 22, but i had figured out that he was not like paul bunyan, but a real man. flesh and blood. washington, for the first time, seemed real, and that meant a lot to me. 15 years after the class, i started doing some public peaking, -- speaking, and this became one of my primary topics. i have been doing it for 20 years and wrote a book as well. it has been a treat to share
this topic, because it is a way -- a device, a way to bring george washington to life and make it more interesting and relatable to any of us, to average people. he seems so much like a man in bronze or marble. he lived his whole life in the 1700s. he died two weeks shy of 1800. he is harder to relate to for the average person, so i think this is a wonderful way to look at washington. to read his diaries, and find out the challenges he had in travel and what he stood for. on a also think -- i also think looking at his trips make for good interdisciplinary study.
the architecture of the time, art of the time, pop culture, travel, so many ways to look at the tours, and that is what i have been doing for so long. george washington's southern tour took himself from philadelphia. -- him south from philadelphia. he was a man of detail. he liked to make his own decisions and advise himself, but he loved to get advice from a vast array of people. and from diverse opinions. who else would bring thomas jefferson and alexander hamilton together? but washington did. he wanted to get the advice of these bright, bright minds. washington made decisions about his travel itinerary. he would bring in his secretaries, all-male in this era, and friends, congressman, -- congressmen, people he knew in the south. most folks were going somewhere to stay, settle, and the people
traveling were gentlemen who had roles that took them from their homes and back. these men would compare notes about where to cross water, what the best or worst roads were, and so on. one of the things the south really stood out with in that era were how bad the roads were. on the southern tour, there were several instances on water that put the president in harms way. but washington selected this route, and as you see, he's going from philadelphia down to charleston. and eventually, savannah. he came along the fall line in the coastal plain, and there
were places he could have chosen to go differently here and there, but wanted to take expeditious route to charleston because this was key to get to charleston, but wanted a representative visit overland to these other places. one thing it liked to point out -- i like to point out is that george washington was the only one who made an effort to tour the state, and especially to go south. thomas jefferson never put a foot in north carolina, and i am personally affronted by that. [laughter] mr. bingham: john adams never came south. he barely got virginia.
james monroe came and visited the south, but mainly along the coast. andrew jackson became president in 1829, so this wasn't a prominent thing. when washington got to charleston, it was down to savannah and up to augustine, georgia, and back to the people -- augusta, georgia, and back up to the piedmont of the time. you can see mount vernon is on the map. mount vernon, it was a particular treat for washington to stop at mount vernon. all his years as president, i believe -- mary thompson has been a wonderful help to me on the staff here at the library at mount vernon told me that 12 times did he get to mount vernon as president. to the times were on the southern tour -- two of the
times were on the southern tour. so that was a treat for him as well. he called it his line of march, the military command. one, he was patrolling and wanted to get everything just right. but more importantly, as he was traveling south in particular, went the line of the mail. the kings -- king's highway was the main line of the mail, so he knew of someone from his cabinet needed him, they would have a shot at reaching him if he went south. but when he was leaving augusta, they would been challenging to get him letters when he was moving through the piedmont. thomas jefferson wrote in late may, that there is nothing of note to report.
evidently different time in our history. do you think president obama would like to disappear for a few months and have nothing to report? so george washington selected this route, and also wanted to see the governors in these eight. -- states. he arranged ahead to do that. he didn't go to certain places that many people assumed he did. he didn't go to the northeastern north carolina, which was one of the most prominent places of the time, probably just trying to get to charleston as efficiently as possible. he also missed atlanta, georgia, which didn't even exist in 1791.
those people were really upset. [laughter] mr. bingham: president washington kept a diary, often his entire life. unfortunately, -- fortunately, the diary for the southern tour exist. and over the years, many people have studied it, transcribed it, and given good footnotes about what it means. moving over here to mount vernon, they have done a great job, but all of washington
papers -- washington's papers, including the diary. he kept a diary entry every day of the trip, except when he was at mount vernon. it is like mrs. clinton, i don't know why these were missing, but he didn't write anything at mount vernon. but other than that, he kept of a diary every day. his entries are not exciting, but somewhat telling. they tell you about how high the water was on a river, or what soil he was being, or commerce. those are fascinating things that you can compare then and now two, and learn a lot from it. unfortunately, washington -- but fortunately, washington's diaries did exist, but they did get chopped up.
james marshall, known as jimmy marshall -- somehow, they wound up with his son, james keith marshall. shortly before the civil war, jimmy marshall gave at least a portion of these diaries to the fledgling virginia historical society in richland -- richmond. the june-july 6 portion wound up at the library of congress. i am not sure how this happened, but they all exist. i was able to visit and get within a few feet of that part of the diary. it was a real treat to see president washington's hand. we are thankful for his
journaling talents. here about the weather, how many miles he traveled, and the gist of the activities. you don't get any deed, and to thoughts from george washington in his diaries. he doesn't talk about what he thinks of certain people. but you get a feel for what he did, what he was living through, how he got across the river or how hot the day was. that means a lot to a traveler. he used terms -- it seems the term in different -- "indifferent" means something different. in some situations it meant so-so, or noncommittal, but in other cases it that bad or poor. he had a lot of indifferent
meals. [laughter] mr. bingham: he also use the term exceedingly good a good deal. in north carolina, he tended to call small communities "trifling places" like greenvile, north carolina. washington owned several carriages, and was using them on the southern tour. this particular carriage is owned by a prominent philadelphian, and on display
here at mount vernon. the southern tour carriage was painted white or cream in color. and must have stood out on the road. he would have preferred to use white horses to pull the carriage, to strike an image. he put a lot of stock into striking a good image, putting on your best, and showing all the best you had. the some thought it looked a little royal like. there was that concern, too. this carriage was built by the
clerk brothers carriage makers in philadelphia. it cost a considerable sum. kindsew people have these of enclosed carriages for transport for really long trips, with shock absorbers offering some comfort. thomas jefferson, quite a traveler himself, said washington may need to lower the hang of the carriage with the rough southern road so it would not tip over. washington knew what he wanted to do, and didn't do it that way. he kept the carriage high, and had our writers -- outriders to keep it stable.
he is brown horses on the southern tour, knowing it was more practical than white horses. washington called this vehicle a chariot. i have researched this a bit, and it's a little confusing, but apparently that was the term for the luxury ride of the time -- a chariot. he had the brown horses pulling the sequel -- this vehicle, brown horses pulling a baggage wagon, and other horses led along, including his white charger, prescott. there were eight men who accompanied him. there were supposed to be nine, but one fell ill in mount vernon and didn't go the rest of the way. he was in his early 30's, he was single, and from south carolina. born in england, but raised in
charleston. he had been a hero in the revolution. william jackson made all of the trips, and he was great along for the tour. two aides were to help with the baggage wagon annexed or horses giles and paris. , giles took ill at mount vernon, not sure what happened there. they picked up two more horses on the way back. this particular george washington reenactor is an north carolina -- in north carolina, and from when they bent -- celebrated his visit there.
this is him making his entrance, as washington did in 1791. an african-american man in new bern somehow knew washington from the revolution, and greeted him. he wrote i find -- i find going to communities, you find things that you can't find written that they say that happened there. i'm sure some of it is true, and i am sure in some versions none of it is true. occasionally, something surfaces that tells us if it is accurate or not.
-- the spring marks the 225th anniversary of the southern tour, which seems like a pretty good time to commemorate. worried about his horses all the time. they were his transportation. bottom line, they were his transportation, and his staff had to constantly work with the horses. when you traveled in 1791, you had to worry about it in and feeding your horses. some areas had bad food for horses, good food for people, and sometimes vice versa. these were presidential horses so they got better care than most. near 80 and, north carolina, they spent a night and the horses had to stay out of doors. they were not in a stable. i don't think washington slipped a wink that night, worrying about his horses being out in the open. in addition to visiting his post in virginia, carolina and
georgia, something important happen on the southern port. he made stops in georgetown, maryland. has anyone ever heard of that place? it is now a section of the federal district. he stopped there, and he was a real estate broker on this trip. you are trying to bring the locals together to agree to a combination of selling their land and donating their land to create this new federal city. here just announced in january
of 1791, congress had given him the authority to select a specific site, and it was always thought that washington would select somewhere around georgetown and indeed he did. the specific corners had not been figured out but it was going to be around there. on the southern tour, washington solidified that this would be our new nations capital. -- our new nation's capital. he had what i call town hall meetings in georgetown, calling in community minded folks to discuss the idea appeared they were already good, typical americans and were asking what is in it for us? they were also concerned about what it would mean. what would this create? it really is an interesting thing when you look at it that way. people were getting a little
greedy and they wanted more money and so forth. washington much threatened that the capital could just as easily stay in philadelphia, and that is the way the law was written, if i am not mistaken. the residence law is what it was called. it said it would revert to philadelphia if the new city was not open for business. washington opened -- held that over their head. by the time he got back in june, folks were up in the air again and they had to long to think about it. there were a lot of issues and questions once again, but he was
able to bring everyone together and the capital city was on its way. for the rest of his presidency, george washington was kind of the ceo of the federal city project to make sure it opened on time. he left office before 1800, but indeed his work got it on course. a lot of that kicked off on the southern port. this particular spot is on m street in rock creek. it is near the old stone house, if any of you nosy old -- any of you know the old stone house. he passed right by their on the stops. -- by there on the stops. it is a pretty spot. washington on the return trip north after everything seemed
settled in the federal district, one of the last things there is he went to select the sites for the executive mansion, what we now have as the white house, and pick the site for the capital, which would be jenkins hill. we call it capitol hill. he was picking the sites for those prominent buildings. well. after he left georgetown and he went to mount vernon for a week, and there is much evidence we have an correspondence where he would be at mount vernon in addition to enjoying time and catching up with important things in mount vernon, he did a lot of official correspondence. we have all of these letters he was cranking out in his stops. the president was busy, he was not on vacation at all. he left mount vernon and started his march south. he was in fredericksburg, but
before he got there he nearly had a big calamity. three of his horses went into what he called swimming water, and it could've been much worse and there was concern they would pull his carriage into the river. so he got to fredericksburg and there was some family time. in dumfries, he had tea with a nice. in fredericksburg, he spent a night with his sister. the house is called kenmore, if you're interested in that. we know the bedroom where washington always stayed. he also called up some old masonic buddies in
fredericksburg. that is where he became a mason, in fredericksburg. throughout this trip, there were many similar things that happened in the different communities. masons would be involved, members of the society of cincinnati, the officers of the revolution would have affairs and dinners. there would be parades, there were be special dinners, there would be teas and dances and balls. this would get a little tedious for washington. he would have -- would go from this to rolling through desolate land. you had this being and yang -- ying and yang. militias would come to escort the group, and it would stir up monstrous dust. he told a law, i have to -- he told a lie, i have to tell you. he was so annoyed by the dust that the evening before he left petersburg, they asked him when
he would be leaving in the morning and he said he was tried to leave i 8:00. indeed he did, i think he left at 5:00. [laughter] mr. bingham: he was getting out of town ahead of the well-meaning escort. he was honored by it. he was trying to unite the country, bring people together and make them feel good, so there was a line he had to walk. he visited richmond. this would be his last ever visit to richmond. there he met with edmund carrington, who was appointed as a u.s. marshall and a new tax collector. we had a new tax in 1791. congress passed a federal tax and washington was in favor of it. it was a tax on domestic
distilled spirits. whiskey made in the states. washington liked it and congress obviously liked it. the whiskey rebellion people a couple of years later did not like it. however, it seemed to go really well. he would quiz people on the southern tour, and most people told him, as best we can tell, that the intelligence was people were receiving it well. so it went. obviously there was some concern in pennsylvania couple of years later but it all worked out in the long run. washington was taking the temperature about these details of the government, the constitution, the new tax and so forth. he would meet with the people in the different cities. another thing that happened in petersburg, by the way, another thing that happened in many towns is what was called a general illumination. you know the phrase light of the town.
-- light up the town. but when he would come to town, cities would actually light up. they would have bonfires and porches and candles. the leaders would say, we like you, mr. president, we have too many wooden buildings here. that was what they said in petersburg. maybe that is why washington left early when washington got the next day, too. -- maybe thaton got is why washington left early the next day when washington got to , 20. north carolina, he stopped in halifax. it had served as our colonial capital occasionally and prominent meetings have been held there. it had several prominent citizens including william r. davie, a prominent friend and federalist, and a friend of washington's. the most prominent citizen was someone else. his name was willie jones.
he was north carolina's leading opponent to the u.s. constitution. he lived in halifax. he sent word that he would receive george washington and dine with him, but only as a great man and not as a president. washington was working hard to bring people together, he understood people have a lot of issues about the new government, the constitution, the way things would work. it is a great reminder how, we had won the revolution, i think it is easy for the average person to think we were united and happy, we had one hour -- won our independence. here is someone in 1791, not really accepting the president of the united states. he was one of north carolina's leading citizens, and the general assembly is on jones street, named for him. he had worked to defeat the
constitution, but it finally passed in north carolina. he was there and it tempered the reception for washington in halifax. most folks in halifax were thrilled washington was coming, they were supporters, but washington was there for two days. they had to live with jones after he left. washington liked pomp and ceremony. tarboro, north carolina, washington wrote "received as good a salute as one can get with a single canon." i don't know if he admired them or was thoroughly disappointed. a little bit of both, i think. washington saw tar being made and sold the longleaf pine forests and could not quite
understand them. he wondered what useful crops could be grown there. but he learned a lot as he went to different places. he learned about pine trees. in north carolina, he learned about rice and indigo. he would write about these things in his diary. well, in new bern, north carolina, that was the largest city in our state of the time -- three 700 folks or so in new bern at a dance, washington , begin a pattern he would do for the rest of the southern tour. dances and teas where women attended, he would associate with coed groups. he would write specifically how many ladies were in attendance. i think william jackson had to help them count.
in new bern, there were 70 ladies. he would go on and on throughout the trip, noting how many women there were and how beautifully they were dressed. i think people made special efforts on these presidential visits but george washington. -- by george washington. they had uniforms, sashes, women did their hair in different ways. it was a big deal when the president would come. washington worked his way to wilmington, north carolina, where the guy who was hosting him said do not drink the water. they still tell you that in wilmington. [laughter] mr. bingham: myrtle beach, that famous beach resort did not exist as such then. it was called long bay at the time.
the kings highway would divert over about 30 some miles of what is now myrtle beach. you had to find locals to guide you across the inlets. this was a more direct way to get to charleston. you would go straight down the beach for 30 miles at low tide. it made the best road of the entire southern tour. this was quite a scene, i am sure, as washington's carriage and his entourage, and his staff dressed in red and white every. it must've been quite a scene going down myrtle beach. they stopped at a plantation. as i mentioned, washington enjoyed learning about the new agriculture. he had never seen flora quite like this other than his trip to
barbados. this was special for him. carolina parakeets, the color for bird that is now extinct, was flying overhead. it was quite a different place for him to be. washington threat these trips did not want to accept private hospitality if he could avoid it. he wanted to pay his way. it was challenging at times to get to a place where you could do this, or is an inn even existed. on the coast, this was particularly challenging because it was not greatly settled except for large plantations. he often stayed at plantations. i am not sure whether his entourage -- i am not sure where his entourage would sleep. i think sometimes they literally slept out of doors and in the baggage wagon. but accommodations were made in -- and they had some better accommodations than others. washington got to charleston.
well, let me back up. hampton plantation, before he got to charleston. this is about 40 miles north of charleston and this is a recent picture. this tree was a little smaller when president washington was there, but it was there. the legend is that it is there on account of him. this is called the washington oak, and hampton plantation, i think it was mostly rice when he stayed there in 1791. the lady of the house said, i apologize for that tree, i have been meaning to remove it. she thought it was improperly located. i don't know much about how
these things grow, this must be 250-300 years old. washington said, that will be a wonderful treat. let it be. and it is still there. it is a very large and impressive tree. the plantation is owned by the state of north carolina and is a wonderful place to visit. in charleston, he got to the royal treatment. he crossed the cooper river. across to the exchange building, where a parade ensued. there were barges of people singing and playing instruments. the parade started, and at the exchange building, which is still there, and he would later visit there to dance, he reviewed the parade. washington on some occasions in this trip would ride into a smaller town and would be leading the parade.
he had all eyes on him all the time. this had to get tough. the trip was tough, it was dusty, it was uncertain about where he was staying, he was worried about his horses, but in charleston, they put him up in a nice home on church street. you can visit it. it was a fine home. this was a city home. he stayed for a week courtesy of the city of charleston. and it was staffed. i think even washington's staff caught a break on this week. washington enjoyed seeing sights of the american revolution that he had never seen before on the southern tour. places he had only read about in reports. it was in charleston where he enjoyed seeing fort moultrie.
he had some free time in charleston, was able to ride horseback and get around the city some i'm a meet the for kinds of people -- city some, meet all kinds of people. the women though -- the women called on him and said we would like to spend some time. i think 30-some women gathered to greet him at the house and he received them. i think he reflected, something like i don't know what they " i don't know what they pleasure. -- i think he reflected something like, "it was a singular pleasure." i don't know what they resolved that day, but that gives you a good feel for some of the different things that happen. in savannah, georgia, there is very little left that washington would have seen.
for whatever reason, charleston has withstood the wars and hurricanes and fires better than savannah. there are not very many buildings from the 1800s in savannah. he called on a widow as he arrived in savannah and as he left. he loves nathanael greene, and i think he wanted to check on, as ene,alled her, the widow gre who lately would have the -- eli whitney was a tutor there at that plantation, but he had not arrived there yet in 1791. washington turned to augusta, georgia from savannah, and had to go up here -- uphill. he worried about his horses going through loose soil. he would write about that on a regular basis. there were not any large
communities on the way and the celebratory step was low-key. he had time to write about the horses and he did. he was relieved to finally get to augusta, which was then the capital of georgia. just for a few years. he met with the governor there. he met with the governors of all these southern states. he also gave the locals some ideas about how they could remove some rocks from the river to make better use of the channel. washington was very practical. he was very interested in commerce and he wanted to come up with ways to move trade on the water. and he left canals. he would take note of these places in river city's -- river ies like augusta.
from augusta, he turned north. he turned north and he had to get on a roll. just like i do now. he started leaving earlier. he already been to charleston, a focal point, he had already had a representative visit to some degree in all states and was headed back to mount vernon and philadelphia. he started leaving frequently at 4:00 a.m. and was doing by and large one night stands in communities. they were not a lot of large cities left on his southern tour. he crossed the bridge over the savannah river and went to columbia, south carolina, which was the new capital of the state, and spent two nights there. he only wanted to spend one but he had a lame horse, so he let the horse rest another day. it was up to camden, south carolina, horse country today, and from there it was too upstate south carolina and back into north carolina.
he entered charlotte. he spent one night in charlotte. he was hosted by general thomas pope. he was the great grandfather of a general. he just spent one night there and called charlotte the trifling place it was. today it is quite cosmopolitan but it was a dusty little town at the time. charlotte, going north, he followed what is pretty much i-85 today. , by the motor speedway, in fact, to salisbury. he went a little west into old salem. it was just called salem then.
the moravian community. night because the governor of north carolina had said he wanted to receive the president that was running a day late. i don't think washington was happy about him running late, but he spent an action night there and he enjoyed it. they put on the feedback for him, they escorted him across the community, they gave him serenade, and he liked the industriousness of the moravians, and admired their community. that is the cover of my book, washington arriving in salem, north carolina. from salem, washington -- and i need to mention this. the washington building in salisbury. here is my anecdote from salisbury. this is one i heard in my college class.
salisbury was right before salem. the washington building is on the site on mean straight in salisbury where washington launch. it was there that he lodged. it was there that he came out and the locals say, please, give us a story. he shaded his eyes and said, i have nothing to offer, i am just a tired old gray man. that shows you how things were at the time. washington, an old man, near 60 years old near the end of this trip. and it happened supposedly at that site. washington continued north back through the south side of
virginia. his last night in north carolina was just shy of present-day danville. the home he stayed at was moved in the 1970's to a site near hillsboro called daniel boone village, a collection of old buildings. it is now a mexican restaurant. [laughter] mr. bingham: his last night in north carolina is in that building that is now a mexican restaurant. you can go have some mexican food on george. [laughter] mr. bingham: this is a commemorative marker in greenville, north carolina. this is the 225th anniversary of the southern tour, but folks in the carolinas and georgia have been commemorating it and celebrating it routinely and regularly for many years, particularly since the civil war. most especially in the 20th century.
the daughters of the american revolution have done much to remember the tour. this is one of their markers they placed in 1920 something. virginia, on the other hand, has not commemorated the southern tour very much that i could find. it was not as big a deal that he was in the commonwealth. it was a huge shield that he was in the carolinas and georgia. there were many reenactments of his visits. many people try to figure out the road he took. they have coaching days with able spend a day following the route through a county where he was in 1791. particularly the spring, salisbury had a daylong commemoration. this is an a question memorial.
-- this is in equestrian memorial. it is a site that has a crypt. a crypt door right there. it was built between 1850, 1858 on the grounds of the capital in richmond in hopes that they , could move the general's remains from here to richmond. i don't know the political details of that but it never happened. [laughter] mr. bingham: but a security guard took me into the crypt. no one is in there. [laughter] mr. bingham: it took eight years to construct and it is fabulous on the capital grounds. it is a reminder on the southern tour, it is something that reflects to me, washington's last visit to richmond. he saw that capital before it even had the stucco put on, it was just regular brick. george still has not gone back to richmond.
he is not there in the crypt. the southern tour was nearly 1900 miles. he was gone 3.5 months. when he got back to philadelphia, bells were ringing and cannons were roaring. he thought it was worth it. he traveled from sea level to nearly 1000 feet in the piedmont in north carolina. he met with five governors, drank hundreds of toast, danced with dozens of ladies. he wrote in his diary that he gained flesh while his horses lost flesh. some existing artifacts are wedgwood china from hampton plantation. some of it is here and the rest is at the charleston museum. a pewter plate and cup in greensboro. a bed in southside virginia, where he slept. the family still has the bed and land and etc., and the family has determined it is uranium rich land.
you may hear about them on the news occasionally. the family is leading george washington was hosted by the family 225 years ago. hempstead, south carolina says they chose their name because washington decided to go with ham instead of oysters. windy hill beach, south carolina, now combined with myrtle beach took the name because his hat cap blowing off. washington left his powder box in charlotte. it was not gunpowder. it was hair powder. ,ashington did not wear a wig and i'm sure it's true he left his hair powder behind. if you see it on ebay, get in touch with me. this open tour and all these
chores were washington's great heroic and visionary effort to pay the price to help unite the country. be present, to use his influence to bring us together. i think it was vital in keeping the republic going during his presidency and after. i will close with a variation of a toast that washington would occasionally use on the tour. to fairfax county and upper in a prosperity, thank you very much. [applause] mr. bingham: we take some questions. yes, sir? in the blue. we will get a microphone to you.
>> did he dress as a military officer or as a civilian when he came into these towns? mr. bingham: he definitely put on his uniform from time to time, and i believe he was the last president, and the first and only president we had to put on the commander-in-chief uniform. during the southern tour, he would occasionally wear the uniform. i don't know how often. i don't think that often, but for some of the formal occasions he probably did. he put it on a lot in charleston because you have to be proud as a peacock when you get to charleston, so i think he wore it a lot there. i can't really say just how much, but it was definitely not uncommon. i would say it's probably true. in the front row. >> mechanical question. i have asked it before and no
one seems to be able to answer it. those carriages went a long distance. today have wheel bearings? mr. bingham: he is asking the carriage had wheel bearings. i don't know the answer and i am so mechanically unminded i have ever wondered that myself. it is a good question. i will work on that. i'm sorry. >> what did he do about air-conditioning in the carriage, and did they leave at 4:00 a.m. because of the humidity? and he left before the last frost and came back before hurricane season. was that part of his intent? mr. bingham: he had a clear intent to get to the furthest part of the trip south and be heading north before what he called the warm and sickly season. there was always a concern of diseases that were prominent in the warm and wet weather.
malaria being one of them. yes, he wanted in fact to leave as soon as possible in mid-march. he got away march 21. they got him out of georgia by mid-may. he achieved that. that was a concern. i don't know much about how they dressed day-to-day, how people in general kept cool then. they were more used to the weather. that made a difference as well. you remind me of something i like to point out. in his diary, there are probably many things that happened on the trip that he does not mention that we would be going bonkers about. some of the challenges he would have had traveling. it was just so difficult, the roads were bad, they were probably trees fallen over the road. he had to be patient crossing
water at times. waiting for the proper vessel to forward a creek or small vessel. these are things that would be a huge deal. we would be talking about it around the dinner table for years and they were routine then. we don't know what he didn't tell us. some of the things i would like to note it is hard to say. weather was a concern. it was the dry season for the most part. there were not many storms, and that was helpful. shall i select someone? next. >> you talked about the purpose of the trip was to unite the country, and particularly the southern states. what was the net effect of his trip in the south? what was the reaction of the citizens in the different states to the long-term impact of his trip? mr. bingham: it is a little difficult to truly measure
it. it is mostly a matter of reading between the lines, reading between the newspaper accounts and diaries and other documents, the letter is primarily between people of the era. it was generally very successful. washington was so popular and so revered, that example being willie jones in north carolina who was an opponent but wanted -- opposed to the government but wanted to reach out to george washington, the great man. people wanted to get the government a chance on account of washington's credibility. there are no uprisings. some people complained about washington being a little too royal in appearance and english in his style. you had some of that act drop going on. generally, it went very well. there's not much evidence that there was a lot of pushback. it seemed his presence went a long ways toward people being satisfied to give it a chance. thus he was pleased.
he wrote he was pleased with the spirit of the people, the way they conducted themselves. i think washington made everybody feel good. he reached out to people. earlier he had assured folks of religious freedom, for example. not so much on the southern tour, but he was a big believer in that. he was pretty inclusive for a guy in 1791. i think this was conveyed on a routine basis as he made these trips and through the south. we are going here to this gentleman. >> how much time did people in these towns have to know he was coming? we had another speaker who mentioned of one place where he sent a writer ahead -- rider ahead to let them know. was it planned? mr. bingham: his itinerary was well-planned. as he went further south, i
believe the word more and more got to the communities where he was going. it also allowed more time or people from philadelphia and other places that knew of where he was going to get the word out. there are a mix of people being totally ready for him, and the small communities and along the road, having no clue he was coming. it was really a mixed thing. but in the larger community, particularly charleston knew he was coming. i think wilmington, north carolina knew because he was in new bern enough to make sure were got there. it was a mixed thing as to the notice of him coming. regardless of whether it was spontaneous or planned, he usually got a very good reception. someone right there. thank you. >> did you find any evidence of
action directed to the rest of the government as a result of his trip? mr. bingham: i don't believe so. i don't know of anything good or bad that occurred related to the government as a result of the trip. it was more personal connections that he made. for example, he sent a mule, or a donkey to the low country in south carolina to be bred because of his connections there. he sent a farm implement, a plow to a gentleman in camden, south carolina. he followed up a lot with those kinds of things, but as far as the government as a result of the trip, i think some people were appealing to make so-and-so a tax collector and things like that.
but as far as broader government, i cannot think of an example. anyone on the side? emily we have someone right , there. here we go. >> newspapers of the era were very different than what they are today, even 75 years later. how much were you able to find as far as contemporaneous accounts written at the time of washington's visit that account for his activities in various communities? mr. bingham: there are a number of newspapers and i reference . a number of papers in the northeast that it cover his
exploits of the southern tour. but it would be weeks and sometimes it months later when the article would appear and they are very flowery and their description of things. i don't recall seeing anything i have seen that was critical. it was more an accounting. something it would be more on the social page, more of an accounting of what the president was doing and who was there. nothing analytical about it. there was no discussion i have seen about issues. it was more the fact the president was there and who else was there and that sort of thing. he was not often attacked on these travels, more of that came later. not too much in the southern tour, or any of these tours early on. >> did anything significant occur in waynesboro, georgia? mr. bingham: waynesboro, georgia.
burke county, georgia. >> it has his route going through there. mr. bingham: he spent one night there getting ready to go to augusta and i'm struggling to recall anything specific that i know of that happened in waynesboro. i'm going down there in the fall to make a presentation and i will probably find out then. [laughter] mr. bingham: unless you tell me tonight. thank you for the question. waynesboro was one of those places that was thrilled to have him because it was not a special stop. i couldn't quite get to augustine today so i will go to waynesboro. anyone else? this gentleman on the front row. and back there. >> listening to the gentleman at the end of the aisle is there , any evidence that government couriers or dispatches were sent
to him or me with him in any place, so that he had make government decisions on the tour? mr. bingham: his cabinet members would write to him from time to time but there was nothing that i recall controversial. it were a few decisions made that were not that big a deal in the grand scheme and washington endorse anything a cap member -- cabinet member was thinking of doing. it was a pretty quiet time by june and thomas jefferson and james madison went to new york, kind of doing a little bit of nature seeking and a political trip at the same time. the vice president, john adams left by may to return to massachusetts. i think henry knox was one of the few members to stay. his cabinet did write him regularly during the trip, but nothing of particular note comes to mind.
we have a lady. you are at the most difficult place to reach. you are going to be worth it. >> thank you. how was the tour financed? also, did george washington get out of his carriage prior to entering a town to make an entrance? mr. bingham: now why do you want to know that? [laughter] mr. bingham: we don't want any washington detractors. how was it financed? washington was paid a salary of $25,000 as the first u.s. president. that was a whopping salary at the time. i am not the next rate on this but i believe he generally paid his own expenses. i think he may have gotten a little help but generally i think he paid his way.
yes, he would alight from his carriage. he liked to ride horseback anyway, so some days he would simply be on the worst, -- horse , period. but yes, he would be on prescott back, riding high on the saddle. your 6'2" and on a tall white horse, you look good. he did that. as he carried the federal government out he wanted to look the part look special. , he was a master of theatrics and ceremony. he struck quite an image. i am glad you asked that. i sometimes like to mention that. questions? one more. last question.
>> when he was making these stops, did he have any contact with any of the members of congress who were from those cities? mr. bingham: you are asking did he see some of them on his stops? yes, sir. he did definitely see some of the members of congress along the way. he saw all of the governors. he saw i think he saw a variety of congressman and senators in all of the states. in north carolina and south carolina, and he saw several in virginia. his stop at the coles plantation, that was a former congressman whose term had just ended. so indeed he did. i can't recall specific examples. i think of her cases who have been anti-federalist in their leanings who did see him very well. i believe a congressman in
wilmington, north carolina was an example of that. another example is how washington was treated a little bit above the partisanism of the time. when you win over the people who are not your best friends and fans, it goes a long way to unite the country. he did indeed see a lot of other leaders as well. i think he helped shape the opinion when these people like that received him so well. that was important. ok, thanks very much. [applause] thank you. and the book includes a list of where president washington slept every night during the trip. i know you want to know about that, i have not revealed that yet. thank you guys. [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org]
[captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2017] you are watching american history tv. 48 hours of programming on american history every weekend on c-span3. follow us on twitter for information on our schedule and keep up with the latest history news. >> tonight on the civil war, we talk about edwin stanton, abraham lincoln's secretary of war. he gives us examples of stanton's broad powers during the civil war and suggests they were often apply to disregard for civil liberties. here is a preview. heard, most of his contemporaries described him as sly, dishonest and treacherous. that is how he survived in public life. and by pursuing policies that
were sometimes detrimental to the ultimate public good on the basis of what the most powerful faction at the moment desired in order to maintain his own position. i can't tell you that stanton was without redeeming qualities. i can tell you evidence of those qualities is difficult to find. [laughter] he was good to his mother. [laughter] i'm pretty sure he never beat his wife. [laughter] but in the realm of public service, his motives seemed more often selfish than benevolent, and his actions more pernicious than beneficial. countedell have opposition to the lincoln administration but not enough to make a difference in the outcome of the war. certainly enough to leave us with a greater legacy of wartime repression than is comfortable
today or was even necessary then. watch the entire program tonight at 6:00 p.m. eastern on the civil war. durck talksan about his forthcoming book, "lincoln in indiana." he discusses abraham lincoln's childhood after his family moved to indiana in 1816, and how the formative years influenced lincoln's decision to practice law and seek the presidency. the lincoln group of the district of columbia posted this event. it is just over one hour. >> thank you, john. john mentioned our speaker tonight is dr. brian dirck, who is a professor at anderson university in anderson, indiana. he has several books about abraham lincoln including his , first book which was a