George Washington at Valley Forge

George Washington and his soldiers, such as they were, established camp at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. It was a week prior to Christmas. They stayed there until June, 1778. During those six months as many as 2,000 men died. It was cold during the winter months, but the men didn’t die due to the weather.

The close and unsanitary conditions at the camp became a breeding ground for dysentery, typhus pneumonia, and typhoid. But the main killer was not the disease either. The main problem was the surrounding farmers. Many of them chose to sell their produce to the British instead of the Army for the new United States. It seems they trusted the English sterling more than any recently minted American money. read more

Founding Fathers—Gifted Persons

History is full of stories of people who were talented and even gifted. Even then they were overlooked by many of their peers until someone believed in them.

A good example is Alexander Hamilton. He was born in Nevis, the West Indies, to an unmarried mother. Somehow he found his way to America. He was introduced to George Washington who made him a part of his Revolutionary Army. He served so faithfully that Washington eventually named him to be his Secretary. He was valiant in the War and later served as George Washington’s Secretary of the Treasury. read more

Not All Heroes Were Founding Fathers

Numerous strange stories come out of the Revolutionary War. For one thing, the practice of hanging criminals and spies was often the case in that war. We know about Nathan Hale, who regretted that he had only one life to give for his country. Hanging was popularized in the Old West.

However, hanging was practiced in the Revolutionary War on many occasions. On both sides. Colonel Charles Lynch was a farmer and also a justice of the peace before that war started. Lynch sometimes led a determined group of vigilantes to dispense swift and sure justice on British supporters and “other outlaws.” read more

Winter with the Founding Fathers

In the Revolutionary War the battles generally stopped in the winter months. That was mostly because of the cold and wet weather. George Washington didn’t consider that in his quest to cross the Delaware River and attack the British forces with the Hessian soldiers who were camped at Trenton, New Jersey. The main British army had stopped for rest, dining and dancing somewhat earlier.

You remember the victory of Trenton and Princeton. They were won when armies were usually resting and waiting for fighting weather. read more

John Adams and the Revolution

It doesn’t get much notice these days, but John Adams actually had quite a bit to do with our country becoming independent. One very interesting letter was written by Adams in support of William Hooper’s (William Hooper, who’s he?) preparation of a new written constitution for the State of North Carolina. This letter was later published by a Philadelphia printer. Here’s one sample paragraph:

“It has been the will of Heaven, that we should be thrown into existence at a period when the greatest philosophers and lawgivers of antiquity would have wished to live . . . . A period when a coincidence of circumstances without example has afforded to thirteen colonies at once an opportunity of beginning government anew from the foundation and building as they choose. How few of the human race have ever had an opportunity of choosing a system of government for themselves and their children? How few have ever had anything more of choice in government than in climate?” (“John Adams”, by David McCullough, page 102). read more

Benjamin Franklin and Air Baths

Benjamin Franklin and John Adams were commissioned to travel to New York to meet with the British at the request of Lord William Howe, a British General. As the two traveled to the scheduled meeting to try to resolve the problems that had caused the Revolutionary War, they had to spend a night at an Inn.

The two had to share a room as there was no other space available to the travelers. As they prepared to retire, John Adams began to close the window to the room, Franklin asked him not to and explained his reasoning. read more

Thomas Jefferson and the Crime Commission

After reviewing some things I have in common with John Adams, I had to remember why I started studying the Founding Fathers anyway. As a young lawyer I was appointed by the mayor of Phoenix, Arizona, to be a member of his “Citizens Crime Commission,” a group of volunteers who met monthly and discussed methods the Mayor could use to alleviate crime in the City.

In those days, every major city in America had such a commission. There was a National Citizens Crime Commission. It was 1976, the Bicentennial of the Declaration of Independence. The National Commission was holding its national convention in Philadelphia that year. I was elected to represent the Arizona Crime Commission at the national convention. What an honor. read more

Our Foundational Documents

People began moving to America for various reasons after it became a real possibility to make a life here. The real Founding of America as a new nation began with the French and Indian War in 1763. George Washington played a major part in that war as a member and leader of the Virginia militia, which was subject to the British General.

Then the Revolutionary War essentially began with the shots fired at the Battle of Lexington in 1775. George Washington was appointed to be the first Commanding Officer of the United Colonial Army soon thereafter. read more

George Washington and Thomas Paine

George Washington, of course, was elected unanimously to be the new General to lead the now United Colonial Army to fight the British in what was becoming the Revolutionary War.

He had some interesting help along the way. Alexander Hamilton, James Monroe, General von Steuben, Nathan Hale, and even Thomas Paine. Paine was there when Washington crossed the Delaware for that famous battle of Trenton (and Princeton).

By night Paine sat by the campfire and used a drum head for a desk to write his 8 page pamphlet “The American Crisis.” Thomas Paine then walked 35 miles to Philadelphia where the editor of the Pennsylvania Journal, a newspaper, read his thesis written from his notes. The editor found it all worthy of printing. He published it immediately, printing 18,000 copies. read more

Benjamin Franklin’s Parents

The parents of Benjamin Franklin don’t receive much fanfare, notoriety, or acclaim about the lives they lived. Ben talks a little about them in his Autobiography. One of the things they taught Ben was to obey the commandments of God. As a result, he did honor them. After all, Honor thy Father and Mother is the first commandment with a promise—that your life may be long in the land.

Here’s what Ben wrote in honor of his parents after their death:

“Josiah Franklin
and Abiah, His Wife
Lie here interred
They lived together loving in Wedlock
Fifty-five years
Without an estate of any gainful employment
By constant labour and industry
With God’s blessing
They maintained a large family
And brought up thirteen children
And seven grandchildren
From this Instance, Reader
Be encouraged to Diligence in thy Calling
And distrust not Providence
He was a pious and prudent man
She a discreet and virtuous woman
Their youngest son
In filial regard to their Memory
Places this Stone
J.F. born 1655 Died 1744 Aetat (age) 89
A.F. born 1667 Died 1752 Aetat (age) 85 read more