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jul 03

George Washington's boyhood home uncovered

The surviving architectural footprint of the Washington family house (Courtesy George Washington Foundation)

Archeologists in Virginia made a timely announcement yesterday that they have located the remains of George Washington's boyhood home on a plot of land called Ferry Farm.

The evidence reveals an eight-room, one-and-a-half story clapboard house, upscale for its day, that stood along the Rappahannock River near Fredericksburg. Two outbuildings were also recovered: the kitchen and the slave quarters. No telltale stumps or other evidence were found of the (almost certainly made-up) cherry tree that Washington chopped down and could not tell a lie about.

However, many mid-18th-century artifacts—including pieces of a Wedgwood tea set, wig curlers, and a pipe bowl with the Masonic crest—were found among the foundation, chimney, and cellars. Most of the house's wood was gone, apparently either used as fuel or reused for other buildings.

Washington's parents and their six children moved to the farm in 1738, when George was 6. Augustine, George's father, died five years later, but Mary, his mother, continued to live on the farm until 1772, when she moved into town.

Nearly a century later, the farm's land was used as a staging ground for the Union's troops during the Civil War—a trench of several hundred feet remains from those days, and the Union may have used the farmhouse as a temporary headquarters.

The house's remains are part of George Washington's Boyhood Home at Ferry Farm, 113-acre National Historic Site. A recreation of the house as it stood in the 1740s is in the works.

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Note:This story was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.

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