J. L. BELL is a Massachusetts writer who specializes in (among other things) the start of the American Revolution in and around Boston. He is particularly interested in the experiences of children in 1765-75. He has published scholarly papers and popular articles for both children and adults. He was consultant for an episode of History Detectives, and contributed to a display at Minute Man National Historic Park.

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Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Redoing Washington's First Survey

From Graeme Marsden, I heard about this unusual historical reenactment later this month. Unfortunately, it’s in Virginia. As The American Surveyor describes it:

In 1747, George Washington was a 16-year-old rookie surveyor, struggling to measure his very first parcel, on his father’s farm in Virginia. He completed the 22-acre training exercise successfully. Today the site is part of a national park, George Washington’s Birthplace National Monument, owned and preserved by the National Park Service.

Remarkably, young George’s original field notes and drawings from his first survey have survived to this day, allowing modern surveyors to reconstruct his original dimensions.

On Saturday, September 15, 2007, land surveyors from across America will gather at that very same spot, to recreate and reenact George Washington’s first land survey. The public is invited.

Wearing colonial garb and using period-correct instruments and techniques from the 1700s, modern-day surveyors will re-run the same lines that George Washington first laid out 260 years ago. The event is part of “RENDEZVOUS ’07,” an annual three-day surveying history conference organized by Surveyors Historical Society, and hosted this year by National Park Service.
That Surveyors’ Rendezvous is a three-day affair organized by the Surveyors Historical Society and the Virginia Association of Surveyors.

In other Washington news, the New York Times reports on how Topps has made a few Commander-in-Chief baseball cards that come with strands of what seems to be authentic Commander-in-Chief hair. One collector’s attempt to auction off his find online was temporarily stymied for this reason:
EBay pulled the item last night after a member complained that it was listed in the baseball card section and that “George Washington cannot have a baseball card,’ ” Mr. Simonis said.
Washington indeed never played baseball at a professional level. However, soldiers at Valley Forge did play an early version of that game.

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