presidential signatures

There are a lot of presidential signatures in our current exhibit. Here's George Washington's.He and I share the same birthday February 22. This made me wonder, besides books, what else, if anything, do we have about/by George Washington in the Clarke? We have 54 catalog entries about George Washington. Most are books, some are oratories or addresses lauding him after he died. His inauguration and other aspects of his life and character were/are still celebrated long after he died. These were created mostly for adults but also for children. We have certificates of appointment for Daniel B. Ainger, 1887/1889 that celebrate the centennial of Washington's inauguration. We also have an 1845 invitation to a military and civil Ball to Abel F. Fitch and his wife to commemorate Washington's birthday. There are many more secondary sources about George and Martha in the Park Library. We also have a children's fictional book about Martha in the Clarke.

We also have two  manuscript letters of Civil War soldiers who noted that they visited Mount Vernon: Letter to Maria, by Andrew Bowers (101st New York Infantry, Company C), May 25, 1862; Letters of Hiel P. Clark (3rd Michigan Infantry, Company D), 18961-1869.

I recently read that Mount Vernon Ladies Association and the National Park Services, which run Mount Vernon, are finally acknowledging a truth they have strongly suspected or known for awhile, but chose not to publicly admit, that Martha's grandson (not George's) Parke Custis, had a white family and also had children with two slave women, Arianna "Airy" Carter and Caroline Branham. Parke fathered at least two girls with Airy, Maria Carter, who later married another slave at the house, which was a rare honor. Parke freed her and her two sons in 1826, leaving then 17 acres. Her son, John, was educated and serve in elective offices, and the other, William, was a chief messenger of the Dept. of the Interior and pushed for public high schools for African Americans in D.C. He also had two sons with Caroline Branham.  Read more about this here


  1. I bought land in rural Eaton County last spring and discovered ruins of a building on it so I started researching historical records and I've been learning more and more as I dig deeper. I found this blog entry while searching for information about Daniel Ainger because my land is on Ainger Rd. According to my research he enlisted twice during the civil war. He served his first enlistment with Company K, Second Ohio Cavalry. After being wounded during his first enlistment, he recovered and served again under Colonel Rutherford B. Hayes with Company A, 23rd Infantry. After the war he became a journalist and eventually purchased the Charlotte Republican, one of two newspapers published in Charlotte, Michigan.


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