Tuesday, November 3, 2009

George Washington Really Did Sleep Here, Day 14

While George Washington remained in Portsmouth, New Hampshire on Tuesday, November 3, 1789, his first engagement of the day had a tie back to his stay the prior week in Boston. Washington spent the morning sitting for a portrait that was requested by Boston merchant Samuel Breck. The president wrote in his diary that the portrait "was an earnest desire of many of the Inhabitants of that Town that he might be indulged."

After sitting for two hours, the president probably enjoyed a stretch of his lanky frame, and he paid a visit to the president (another term for governor) of New Hampshire, John Sullivan, supposedly at the Pitt Tavern, which today is part of the Strawbery Banke Museum. Then he popped over to the Tobias Lear House to pay his respects to the mother of his private secretary, Tobias Lear. That house also stands and is open to the public. According to the house's web site, Washington visited Madame Lear in the front parlor as a crowd watched on from the street.

Washington returned to his quarters and received several visits before dining with state officials. That evening Washington was the guest of honor at a party. Washington writes in his diary: "At half after Seven I went to the Assembly where there were about 75 well dressed, and many of them very handsome Ladies--among whom (as was also the case at the Salem & Boston Assemblies) were a greater proportion with much blacker hair than are usually seen in the Southern States."

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