Academic journal article The Journal of Southern History

Where the Cherry Tree Grew: The Story of Ferry Farm, George Washington's Boyhood Home

Academic journal article The Journal of Southern History

Where the Cherry Tree Grew: The Story of Ferry Farm, George Washington's Boyhood Home

Article excerpt

Where the Cherry Tree Grew: The Story of Ferry Farm, George Washington's Boyhood Home. By Philip Levy. (New York: St. Martin's Press, 2013. Pp. [xii], 260. $27.99, ISBN 978-0-312-64186-3.)

There is a great deal of irony in the historical preservation efforts surrounding George Washington's boyhood home, for Washington himself saw so little of value in the place. As Philip Levy explains it, Washington, in his early twenties, kicked the dust off his feet, went to seek his fortune, and "turned his back on Ferry Farm, that crowded, busy, trouble-filled place of limited options [and] petty harassments" (p. 74). Ferry Farm received little attention until 1806, when Parson Mason Locke Weems, an evangelical Anglican preacher with a knack for writing moral pamphlets and a keen sense of salesmanship, published The Life of Washington. In it, Weems first introduced the tale of Washington's famous encounter with the cherry tree, among other anecdotes of doubtful accuracy. In so doing, Levy argues, Weems grounded Washington's republican virtues in the soil of Ferry Farm. From this point on, the two were inseparable.

Where the Cherry Tree Grew: The Story of Ferry Farm, George Washington's Boyhood Home follows the history of the farm as it endured neglect, encampments of Union soldiers hunting for relics, and the schemes of New South boosters and Yankee opportunists looking to profit from the farm's tourist potential. Local resistance derailed an attempt to sell off Washington's mother's gravesite. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.