on his way to Frederick
Friday, August 5, 1785
Dined in a building on this site known as
One mile south of here is
Noland's Ferry frequently used by Washington on his travels.
Erected by William J. Grove, Lime Kiln, MD. 1932
Location: On Maryland Route 28 (Tuscarora Road) west of Maryland Route 85 (Buckeystown Pike) Near Tuscarora, Maryland, in Frederick County. About a mile north of the Potomac River.
Traveling through Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia or West Virginia, the visitor will come across many markers both state markers and smaller markers and plaques telling the visitor that George Washington did something at this location. When I was younger taking vacations with my parents, we would generally include visiting historical sites combined with visiting relatives.
Since my early years with my limited range of understanding of history, I found myself drawn to any marker related to any particular person I had learned about in school, such as, George Washington. I was fascinated by the the fact that I might be now standing at a place where George Washington once stood. I believe these early experiences that developed my interest in American history.
Of course, for many people, George Washington was one of those first people, we learn about in school. I remember people joking that people tried to take advantage of this fondness for Washington by putting up signs to highlight that “George Washington Slept Here.” Of course, people were also interested where George Washington eat, as well and did many other things, like where his army camped, where he crossed a river, what road he traveled, etc.
Mistakenly people thought that history was simply about pointing out were historical figures, eat, slept or lived. The information contained on many early state historical markers was brief and contained little detail, for example, my earlier post on J.E.B. Stuart marker in Fredericksburg, VA. What these markers don't always communicate is the reason why any particular historical figure might have had for traveling to this location, though newer markers generally contain more details.
I have taken many photos of markers related to George Washington and each marker taken as a single, isolated marker, often leaves a person wondering why did Washington pass through this location. As I collected more markers related to Washington and began to research the life of Washington, I begin to understand how each marker related to a specific stage of Washington's life, i.e., his experience as a military commander, his participation in the French and Indian War, the American Revolution, his years as a surveyor, as a land owner or during his years as President.
Today's post about a Maryland marker near the Potomac River is a simple marker about his stopping for dinner and crossing the river. The event described occurred four years before becoming President and four years after the British surrender at Yorktown. Not a great deal is written about Washington's life between his resigning his Army commission and becoming the President of the Constitutional Convention in 1787 in Philadelphia.
During Washington's life he had received a number of land grants related to his survey work and military career and during these years he spent time visiting these properties and as well as developing new farming methods for his estate in Mount Vernon. The two places mentioned on this marker no longer exist but were important to the traveller during Washington's life. Noland's Ferry was an important crossing point for the colonial traveller wanting to go north from Virginia into Maryland or Pennsylvania and many individuals significant in early American history used this route of travel crossing the Potomac at Noland's Ferry. Like many ferries during this period in history, they were eventually replaced by the construction of bridges to cross large rivers.
The Dutchman's was one of many stops located on early colonial roads to provide food and rest to the traveler. As routes of travel improved and were replaced by better roads many of these early stops found themselves isolated and eventually abandoned and removed. Many of these early convenience stops or ordinaries as they were often called, today are only remembered by an historical marker or not remembered at all and no longer exist. The observant traveller might be able to see the abandoned remains of some of these early buildings resting alone off some isolated road. In some cases, these building have been restored by some interested individual or group desiring to preserve our early history by reopening these old buildings into restaurants, bed and breakfasts, private homes or museums.
I have many other markers about George Washington, early colonial roads, buildings and other locations I will share during the coming year. Some previous posts related to George Washington are “Greenway Court” and “White Post.”