George Washington Plaque, Hampstead
A bronze plaque on a small, rough-cut stone stele commemorates President George Washington's visit to the area on his tour of the southern states in 1791.
Images: View from the highway U.S. 17
IN / PATRIOTIC COMMEMORATION / OF THE VISIT / OF / GEORGE WASHINGTON / ON HIS / TOUR OF THE / SOUTHERN STATES / 1791 / MARKED BY THE NORTH CAROLINA / DAUGHTERS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION / 1925
November 24, 1925. The monument was rededicated on November 19, 2011.
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"George Washington Tree marker rededicated in Hampstead," Topsail Voice (NC), November 23, 2011, (accessed August 27, 2013) Link
"Washington Oak Tree on US Highway 17, Near Hampstead, Pender County, NC," in Louis T. Moore Collection 737, New Hanover County Public Library Digital Archives, (accessed August 28, 2013) Link
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
Farnham, Thomas J. "Washington's Southern Tour," NCpedia.org, 2006 (accessed May 28, 2014) Link
Henderson, Archibald. 1923. Washington’s Southern Tour 1791. Boston and New York: Houghton Miffin company, 1923, (accessed May 28, 2014) Link
Stamp Defiance Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution
The November 24, 1925 dedication reportedly occurred following dedication of a Washington memorial tree in Pembroke earlier that day. The event was reportedly presided over by Stamp Defiance Regent Margaret Lovell Gibson, and State Regent Mary Margaret Overman Gregory was the speaker.
The contemporary 2011 rededication was sponsored by the local Stamp Defiance Chapter. The event was lead by Stamp Defiance Chapter Historian Bettie Lettieri and included State Historian Lois Marlow as guest speaker.
In the spring of 1791, President George Washington began his
tour of the southern states.
Washington decided even before his inauguration to visit every state in the nation in order to gain a better understanding of the condition of the country and the needs of the people. His cross-country journey began in 1789 but, because North Carolina did not ratify the United States Constitution until 1790, his trip to the south was delayed.
Between March and June of 1791, Washington traveled along the eastern seaboard from Maryland to Georgia, and then took a western return route from Georgia to Virginia. During his 1,700-mile tour he sought to emphasize national unity, understand the region's political sentiments, and learn about the southern economy. North Carolina was of particular importance to the tour because of its late ratification and Washington used his stops in the state as an opportunity to reinforce its admittance into the union.
Washington was revered as the father of the nation and, because of his status; his visits to communities across the country were of important historical significance. Washington apparently stopped near Wilmington along what was then called Kings Highway to have his lunch beneath a tree and where he was met by an escort party. The original site of the marker was believed to be the tree where Washington stopped to eat his lunch, and according to an account given at the 2011 marker re-dedication, local lore had it that Hampstead got its name when President Washington asked for ham for lunch instead of sausage.
There are numerous markers across North Carolina commemorating President Washington's tour of the southern states in 1791 to include nine identical bronze plaques placed by the DAR in 1925. Notable among them are George Washington Plaque, Greenville, George Washington Plaque, Tarboro, George Washington Plaque, Salisbury, and George Washington Plaque, Guilford Courthouse. Other markers made of stone include George Washington and Henry Clay Marker in Wilmington, George Washington Boulder in Lexington and "George Washington Stopped Here" Marker in Arcadia.
The marker is located on the west side of U.S. Highway 17, near Hampstead, in Pender County.
The marker sits just off the side of the road and is shaded by a large, old oak tree.