News-Antique.com - Feb 23,2010 - Feb. 23, 2010 -- George Washington was a weary traveler when he arrived at his farm in Mount Vernon in 1783. The winter was cold and the snow was deep on the banks of the Potomac. It blocked roads and Washington wasn’t able to even visit his mother in Fredericksburg.
It was a time of quiet, rest and reflection for the man who led the nation in its struggle for independence.
“I have not only retired from all public employment, but I am retiring within myself…I will move gently down the stream of time until I sleep with my fathers,” he wrote in a letter to Henry Knox.
When the weather warmed Washington hoped to spend his time close to the land managing his five, run-down farms at Mount Vernon.
It was the only place he could really be himself.
Toward the end of his presidency Washington sat for portrait painter Gilbert Stuart. Stuart tried to relax around the president by making small talk about history and battles. It didn’t help.
“You must let me forget that you are General Washington and that I am Stuart the painter,” he said.
Washington said he preferred they both remember who they were. Gilbert went on to paint the next five presidents of the United States.
On Nov. 14, Brunk Auctions, Asheville, North Carolina, featured a selection of Washington items in its auction.
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