Saturday, January 14, 2012

George Washington dined at The Dutchman

George Washington dined at The Dutchman, Frederick Co., MDFrederick County, MD

George Washington
on his way to Frederick
Friday, August 5, 1785
Dined in a building on this site known as
The Dutchman's
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.

George Washington dined at The Dutchman, MD Route 28 (Click any photo to Enlarge)  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.

George Washington dined at The Dutchman, MD Route 28 Looking North  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.”


  1. Just wanted to let you know I happened upon your blog while searching for information about a building I saw along the C&O Canal near Noland's Ferry. What an interesting hobby you have and an interesting blog!

  2. Drove by this marker twice yesterday, going to and from Loudon County, VA from Gaithersburg, MD. Did not want to travel by highway and I loved the backroads drive. Wouldn't have thought a trip between these two places could be so quick! I also noticed Noland's Ferry Road on the drive. I was struck by the date on this historic marker, as yesterday, Saturday, was August 4, 2012 and here was George Washington all those many years ago travelling the same road on August 5th, and he probably traveled nearby on August 4th, too. Your blog came up on a google search for the Dutchman inn. It is very interesting and I will be back, so,keep on writing and snapping pics. Thanks!

    1. Thanks Shellie, I am happy you found my blog and enjoyed it. Your comment reminds me why I first started getting interested in history as a kid. I loved the idea that I was standing or walking in the same spot as some person in history, such as, George Washington and others. I have several new markers I plan to post in August and September. Glad you enjoyed it.

    2. Thank you for your post. I live thre in Tuscarora and am very familiar with its history. You may be interested in the fact that Thomas Jefferson also crossed the Potomac at "Knowland's" ferry in the first week of September 1776. He was on his way back to Monticello from Philadelphia after having written the declaration of independence. Greg

  3. why was Washington on his way to Frederick at that time? Might it be that the then new county courthouse was being opened/dedicated?

  4. I love this from GW: "Agriculture is the most healthful, most useful, and most noble employment of man"

    Thanks for sharing, littlebitofhistory! I will go visit the Dutchman's site

  5. Thanks for sharing.

    I have often passed by this sign.

    The area remains a beautiful corner of our nation.