Fact Friday 365 - Oh, how I disagree with George Washington

Fact Friday 365 - Oh, how I disagree with George Washington

Happy Friday!

This week's Fact Friday comes to you from WFAE. 


As part of his tour of the South, President George Washington was greeted [in Charlotte] by at least 500 people (many of whom who had fought in the Revolutionary War) who had lined the streets to see him. He stopped for a "gala picnic supper in the yard of Colonel Thomas Polk's home" on the Northeast corner of Trade and Tryon. Here's the text of his diary entry from May 28, 1791: 

"Saturday 28th. Sett off from Crawfords by 4 Oclock and breakfasting at one Harrisons 18 Miles from it & got into Charlotte, 13 miles further, before 3 oclock. Dined with Genl. Polk and a small party invited by him, at a Table prepared for the purpose. It was not, until I had got near Barrs that I had quit the Piney & Sandy lands -- nor until I had got to Crawfords before the Lands took quite a different complexion. Here they began to assume a very rich look. Charlotte is a very trifling place, though the Court of Mecklenburg is held in it. There is a School (called a College) in it at which, at times there has been 50 or 60 boys." 

But guess what? Charlotte’s not alone. Just a month earlier, Washington also described Greenville, NC as “a trifling place.” On April 19, 1791, he writes:

"I left Tarborough accompanied by some of the most respectable people of the place for a few Miles. Dined at a trifling place called Greenville 25 Miles distant and lodged at one Allans 14 Miles further a very indifferent house without stabling which for the first time since I commenced my Journey were obliged to stand without a cover." 

Excerpt of George Washington journal entry from June 1791. Library of Congress.

The author points out that when Washington states, "were obliged to stand without a cover," he's referring to his horses that had to stay out overnight who normally would be stabled, but in this instance were not. 

To read more about President Washington's impressions of Charlotte, check out the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Story by the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Library or the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library's Carolina Room.

Until next week!


"Charlotte: A Very Trifling Place (But Not the Only One)," by WFAE, February 6, 2013. 


Email chris@704shop.com if you have interesting Charlotte facts you’d like to share or just to provide feedback!

“History is not the past, it is the present. We carry our history with us. We are our history.” - James Baldwin

Back to blog