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Friday, February 25, 2011

Milford Connecticut’s First Presidential Visit

This blog originates in Milford, Connecticut and today we bring a tale from Milford's history:

Many of you are aware of the small monument just outside of the Parsons Center that memorializes George Washington’s visit to Clark’s in Milford Connecticut in November of 1789.

If you believe the tourist motivated legends, George Washington slept in so many places it is inconceivable he had the time to win our independence. Now with his own diaries accessible online facts can now be sifted from the myths; with one other point of solace to those misguided local historians—-the guy still had to eat.

What actually occurred at Milford’s Ye Olde Clark Tavern that November morning in 1789 may not be as celebrated as the crossing of the Delaware but it is just as well documented. The General was a meticulous diarist noting daily a full weather report each morning upon waking, along with his destinations and adventures in between. A forerunner to Zagat, his restaurant reviews mostly left a bad taste.

We know from a variety of sources that 18th century taverns more so than the confines of the local house of worship were the meetinghouses of the day, where the pressing issues of political and local intrigue were debated with spirit and spirits.

Clean drinking water was scarce and a printed menu even scarcer. Not so much to dispense with a paper trail but planning just wasn’t in the cards. Meals were based upon the availability of that morning’s find at the local market. This being wartime, the pickings were slim. Despite the knowledge of scarcity and an aroma of surprise sitting in each serving; in general, the General was appalled with the
poor quality of the grub he received; but again, a guy still has to eat.

Sources indicate he may have been to Clark’s on more than one occasion. Diary aside, his favorite meal, breakfast, was porridge. But on this memorialized morning he was hungry from a 5 am ride and needed sustenance and a break. Given first a plate of boiled meat and potatoes, the future President expressed great disappointment; Subsequently requesting a bowl of plain bread and milk he found his luck had not changed because he was also given a broken pewter spoon.

To say this meal at Clark’s was consistent is not an understatement, as history reports that this was the only spoon in residence. Upon being informed of this George Washington tossed two shillings to his server, commanding that he go to a local minister’s house and return with a silver spoon on loan.

It is normal for us all to conjure romanticized visions of our founders, larger than life, charging on steeds into battle against injustice and repression; however the reality portrays a time of great turmoil, in a land drained of its resources by a despot. Of people larger than life and persons forgotten living with sacrifice and even despair, having to make do with less. I see this marker almost every day and, no matter its original intention, to me it stands more as a testament to those times than a simple celebration of celebrity.

A Long Layoff

I took this layoff for a number of reasons mostly because I was getting tired of the grind to respond to the idiocy in the news and rival blogs. I fully underestimated the time required, realizing that the people who do these are either paid as in a full time job or these people are basically unemployed and write in between rants out of the window.

College students have the time since their work loads appear light. To be a successful collegian these days it simply is a matter to blame all the world ills on Bush and ride the coatails of one parents through age 26 or so.

This blog will comment on some of the news of the day; however we hope to open to literature, philosophy, science and evn music commentary. We go forward....