Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Harewood: Home of Colonel Samuel Washington

We took a little ride this afternoon on some country roads near Charlestown, WV.  There are so many historical signs around these parts that it would be easy to become blase' about the history that surrounds us.  As we were driving today though, we saw a historical marker, and in the distance we could make out an old stone house partially hidden by the tree-lined property.  Our curiosity got the best of us, so we turned ourselves around pulled up to the sign.
The sign is a little hard to read, so I'll give you the skinny:  Harewood was the home of Samuel Washington who was George Washington's brother; George Washington visited here; General Lafayette and Louis Phillipe of France visited here; James Madison married his wife Dolly right here on this very property. Now that's some good history!

Our curiosity was certainly piqued by the sign--especially the part about there being a cemetery where Samuel Washington is buried. We history buffs are quite intrigued by cemeteries, you know.  First things first though; we had to take a gander at the house itself.
Nobody was home. How do I know that? Because my husband tried honking the horn, and when that failed, he tried yelling, "HELLO!" a few times at the house. We got no response, so we continued our self-guided tour (some may call this trespassing, but c'mon--it's trespassing for the sake of education!).

The spring house was facing the main house.
The driveway meandered back to a more private location, so we got in our van and followed the trail.
Isn't it a lovely trail? We found another much newer house and a farm with a couple of buildings and enjoyed the pastoral setting.
My husband wandered around with purpose, until eureka! He found what he was looking for.
Believe it or not, this is the cemetery that Samuel Washington is buried in. It's in a quite decrepit condition.

Now that I'm looking at this, I see we had actually crossed over into VA, but we were around Charlestown, WV somewhere. This is a plaque that is on the stone wall surrounding the graves.
The tombs are shrouded in these overgrown weeds. It's pretty sad.

This is Samuel Washington's grave. His wife's grave and it looks like children's graves are also severely untended. I probably could have won a citizenship award for clearing away the weeds, but seriously, someone would need to have some heavy duty equipment to deal with the growth.

As we were pulling away, the lady who lives in the newer house pulled. She graciously answered some questions we had and even took our phone number so that we can get a personal tour from Walter Washington (the home owner) someday. Apparently there are other Washington family homes in the area and tours are given annually.  All in all, it was a great day for history!

1 comment:

  1. Hello Mrs. Whitehouse,
    I'd like to copy some of your photos related to Samuel Washington to the Historical Markers Database at hmdb.org. This will help others to see his grave and home. Is that OK with you? peace, Makali Bruton at makalibruton@gmail.com