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Where Washington slept in the Tri-State area

February 14, 1997


Staff Writer

George Washington slept here.

You've seen those words on signs, brochures and billboards and heard them on commercials.

The phrase has been repeated so many times that you probably wonder if our Founding Father ever was awake.

Washington wore many hats - surveyor, Virginia planter, commander in chief of the Continental Army during the American Revolution, first president of the United States, and husband of Martha, to name a few.

He was born Feb. 22, 1732, in Westmoreland County, Va. This year we celebrate his birthday and that of Abraham Lincoln Monday, Feb. 17.


Washington was a traveling man who sometimes was on the road for weeks at a time. He recorded many of his adventures in his diaries.

It's been 200 years since he left office as president. In the spirit of that anniversary, we thought it would be fun to pinpoint some of the places in the Tri-State area where the famous leader slept.

Some buildings no longer are standing. Others are rumored to have hosted the honored guest, but there's no documentation on those early snoozes.

We don't claim to have listed them all. But we do want to let readers know that when they pass some of these historic sites, they may be following in our great leader's footsteps.

Washington County

Washington visited the county that bears his name a number of times.

He stayed with Joseph Flint, an Indian trader whom he apparently met on one of his trips through Western Maryland, at Flint's home, Flint's Chance. That Hancock residence also is known today as Cohill Manor.

According to Washington's diaries, he visited Flint on his trips through the county in 1769.

Around 1876 Edmund Pendleton Cohill bought the house, and it remained in the family except for the period from 1976 to 1990.

Cohill Manor now is owned by John Cohill, great-grandson of Edmund Pendleton Cohill, and his wife, Debbie.

The historic home at 5102 Western Pike opened as a bed and breakfast inn in the spring of 1996, Debbie Cohill says.

In 1790, Washington inspected Williamsport as a possible site for the U.S. capital.

During his visit, Washington stayed at Springfield Farm, says Jerry Knode, a committee member of the Town Museum in Williamsport.

Washington also stayed in the area in 1748 when he was a surveyor, Knode says.

Berkeley County, W.Va.

Washington was a guest at Snodgrass Tavern, on W.Va. 9, 1.4 miles west of Hedgesville, W.Va.

His first visit was before 1750, says Don C. Wood, president of Berkeley County Historical Society.

A later visit is recorded in Washington's diary on Sept. 5, 1784.

The building operated as a tavern for more than 100 years.

Morgan County, W.Va.

Washington was very interested in this part of the country, as he was a land developer, says author and historian Jeanne Mozier of Berkeley Springs, W.Va.

"His driving passion was to open up an easy route west," Mozier says.

His first visit was in 1748 as a member of a surveying party for Lord Fairfax.

Washington visited the famed springs numerous times from 1750 to 1772, Mozier says.

"Washington came to take the waters and baths dozens of nights," she says.

The buildings where he might have stayed are no longer in existence, she says.

He only made one visit while he was president, when he and Alexander Hamilton were passing through on their way to the Whiskey Rebellion in Pennsylvania.

Jefferson County, W.Va.

Washington first came to the area in 1748 as a surveyor, notes Roger Perry, a retired attorney who lives in Charles Town, W.Va., on land once owned by George Washington's brother, Charles Washington.

Charles Washington had a home in Charles Town called Happy Retreat, on Blakely Place.

In "The Washington Homes of Jefferson County, West Virginia," Charlotte Judd Fairbairn writes: "On June 3, 1788, a notable visit of General George Washington is recorded, when he dined with Charles at Happy Retreat after a tiring journey inspecting construction work relative to the building of a canal along the Potomac River, in which he was much interested."

George Washington also recorded other visits to his brother's home in his diary.

Perry notes that George Washington also visited Harewood, the home of his brother Samuel Washington, on W.Va. 51 or Middleway Road.

There are several other houses in the area that were owned by the Washington family.

Washington died Dec. 14, 1799. Almost two hundred years later, why are we still so fascinated by his life?

Honor and duty were very important to him, and he set a terrific example, Perry says.

"He was one of the finest people that ever lived," Perry says.

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