George Washington and Henry Clay Marker, Wilmington
The marker is a simple stone slab, approximately two feet tall with an angled front face. It features an inscription commemorating the location of lodging during during the visits to Wilmington of President George Washington in 1791 and Henry Clay in 1844. It is very similar to the other markers placed by the New Hanover Historical Commission at a number of historical sites in Wilmington. The names are given emphasis by their engraving in a significantly larger font than the rest of the text. The inscription also includes the sponsoring members of the New Hanover County Historical Commission.
Images: Street View
IN THIS BUILDING / GEORGE WASHINGTON / WAS ENTERTAINED / APRIL 25, 1791. / HERE ALSO HENRY CLAY / WAS A GUEST APRIL 9, 1844. / NEW HANOVER HISTORICAL COMMISSION / A.J. HOWELL, E.S. MARTIN, / JAMES SPRUNT, W.A. McGIRT.
City of Wilmington
The monument was installed likely sometime in the 1910s or 1920s.
34.234080 , -77.948500
"George Washington Historical Marker - Front Street, south 0 and 100 blocks," in Louis T. Moore Collection 761, New Hanover County Public Library Digital Archives, (accessed August 28, 2013) Link
Cape Fear Historical Institute. "Distinguished Wilmington Visitors Cape Fear Historical Institute Papers," (accessed July 23, 2013) Link
Clotworthy, W. (2002). In the Footsteps of George Washington . McDonald & Woodward.
Donald Jackson and Dorothy Twohig, eds. The Diaries of George Washington. 6 vols. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1976-79; a series of The Papers of George Washington. Scans 138 - 141, (accessed August 27, 2013) Link
Henderson, Archibald. 1923. Washington’s Southern Tour 1791. Boston and New York: Houghton Miffin company, 1923, (accessed December 6, 2013) Link
North Carolina State Department of Archives and History. The North Carolina Historical Review Volume XXXVI, No. 1 (January 1960). Raleigh, NC: North Carolina Historical Commission, 5, (accessed July 27, 2013) Link
Sprunt, James. 1916. Chronicles of the Cape Fear River. Raleigh, NC: Edwards & Broughton Publishing Co., (accessed July 27, 2013) Link
Washington, George. The Diary of George Washington, From 1780 to 1791 : Embracing The Opening of the First Congress, and His Tours Through New England, Long Island, and the Southern States Together With His Journal of a Tour to the Ohio in 1753, ed. Benson J. Lossing Lossing, (Richmond, VA: Press of the Historical Society, 1861). (accessed July 27, 2013) Link
New Hanover Historical Commission (A.J. Howell, E.S. Martin, James Sprunt, and W.A. McGirt)
After Washington was elected President in 1789, he resolved to tour the United States in order to better understand its makeup and culture. He visited many small communities across the country. His larger than life status made his visits important events for communities and the places he stayed became historically significant. In Wilmington, President Washington was received by a welcome party and a 45 gun salute. He stayed at the home of Mrs. John Quince, which was located near the location of the marker, and was treated to a military parade along an illumination of the town at night. A ball was given in his honor at the Assembly Hall. The original residence planned for the President's lodging became unavailable, and apparently Mrs. Quince graciously offered her home to the President.
Henry Clay made a presidential campaign stop in Wilmington in April 1844. James Sprunt reported that he arrived on a steamer to a large crowd and was then escorted to his lodging at the home of Mrs. Joseph A. Hill on the southeast corner of Front and Dock Streets. He was then escorted to the Potter Mansion on Market street where he gave a speech from the balcony. That evening a ball was given in his honor at the Carolina Hotel and Masonic Hall, and the next morning he left by train for Raleigh.
There are several stone markers across North Carolina that commemorate the President George Washington's tours of the Southern States in 1791. Notable among them are George Washington Boulder outside Lexington, George Washington Tree Marker in Hampstead outside Wilmington, and a stone marker at Guilford Courthouse.
Little appears to be known about the activities of the New Hanover County Historical Commission and their installation of similar small stone markers commemorating historical locations throughout Wilmington.
The marker is located on the east side of South Front Street, at the intersection of Dock and South Front Streets.
It sits on the sidewalk a few feet from the curb, flanked on one side by a fire hydrant and on the other by a municipal waste receptacle. Shops and restaurants are located on either side of the street nearby.