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Friday, May 27, 2016

GHS receives Washington portrait from Mt. Vernon

Monday, March 22, 2010

Greencastle High School history students and teachers pose in front of a portrait of U. S. President George Washington. Ethan Perdue, Alexis Williams, World History teacher Craig Callahan, US History teacher Bradley Key, Nathan Tharp and Maria Brown help show off the area near their classrooms where the picture is hung.
GREENCASTLE -- It was easy for Greencastle High School Principal Randy Corn to say yes to the Mount Vernon Ladies' Association's request to send a replica of the famous "porthole" portrait of George Washington to the school.

"They contacted principals all over the country and all I really had to do was say yes," explained Corn, who is proud of the new portrait hanging in the front hallway of the school.

The picture is a copy of Rembrandt Peale's famous painting of the first president of the United States.

The school also received a flag that has flown over the Mount Vernon estate. Corn isn't sure what he is going to do with the flag yet.

"Ideally, we will put it someplace in the building," he said.

The Mount Vernon Ladies' Association hopes to see George Washington's character, leadership and accomplishments celebrated by students.

"As commander in chief of the continental army, George Washington led our nation to independence. As president of the constitutional convention, he presided over the creation of our new instrument of government," said Ann Bay, associate director for education.

"And, as the first president of the United States, he led our country through the early, turbulent years of nationhood. George Washington's leadership, character and civic responsibility remain examples to follow today," she continued.

The Ladies' Association currently maintains the Washington estate. It was formed in the 1850s when the home was in shambles. Ann Pamela Cunningham organized a group of prominent women and returned the estate to its former glory.

The history is fascinating. Following the deaths of George Washington in 1799 and Martha in 1802, their Virginia home, Mount Vernon, remained in the family for three generations. The last Washington owner was John Augustine Washington, Jr., a great-great-nephew of George Washington. Throngs of tourists and a changing market for agricultural products left him without enough money to take care of the home and property.

Neither the federal government nor the state of Virginia had money to buy and restore Mount Vernon. John Washington refused to sell it to commercial developers and insisted the new owner preserve the site as a historic one.

According to the Association's Web site, one evening in 1858 South Carolina Socialite Louise Dalton Bird Cunningham stared out from the deck of her steamer on the Potomac and saw Washington's house in shambles. She wrote her daughter, Ann Pamela Cunningham.

"If the men of America have seen fit to allow the home of its most respected hero to go to ruin, why can't the women of America band together to save it?" she asked.

Cunningham sent a letter to the editor of a South Carolina newspaper appealing to American women to come to the rescue of Mount Vernon. She invited 30 influential women to serve as vice regents of the newly formed association, which was the first women's organization in America.

The group became the owners of Mount Vernon. There were few items left from the original home. When the Civil War ended, the vice regents agreed to take responsibility for individual rooms in the home. Thanks to detailed inventories taken in 1780, furnishings were identified.

It took years and a lot of money to get the original furnishings returned, but the ladies did it.

In the 1940s, Congresswoman Frances P. Bolton, who served as a vice regent from Ohio, launched an effort to preserve the view across the Potomac. The Association purchased 750 acres, which was the nucleus of the 4,000-acre Piscataway National Park.

Today, visitors at Mount Vernon can see the original furnishings in the home of the first president and a view of the Maryland shoreline instead of commercial development thanks to the efforts of these ladies.

The portrait project is one of many taken on by the association, which is dedicated to teaching students and adults about George Washington and American History.

"Ideally, I'd like to have pictures of our current president and governor. I know people have strong feelings about them but it's important that kids know who they are," added Corn.

To see the Washington portrait, drop by Greencastle High School. The display is in the front hall just inside the doors.

For more information about Mount Vernon or the George Washington Portrait Project, visit www.mountvernon.org.

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I think that is just great. Hopefully the History teachers can take some time out of class to explain the selfless sacrifices made by the Father of our Country. I wonder what he would think of the American dream now.

-- Posted by hardtobelieve on Mon, Mar 22, 2010, at 8:37 AM

How ironic, as the Republic crumbles here is the Great Washington to lead us forward by looking back. I urge everyone to read about this Incredible Patriot, A true Commander-In-Chief!

-- Posted by Thomas Paine on Tue, Mar 23, 2010, at 7:46 AM

The new American dream! Redistribution of wealth! Tax payer funded abortions! Health Insurance and government handouts for illegal aliens! Better tax returns for those who don't work! New American Dream, it is better to sit on your butt and collect a government check than go out and earn an honest dollar. And for those of us who are the so called rich, we will be taxed beyond belief, will not be able to provide a good life for our children because we are providing a good life for the mother of 6 who dropped out of school when she was 15 who can't read or write. Don't let me forget about the males who drop out of school at 15, impregnant previous said teenage girl and end up in jail by 16. Socialism doesnt work, the framers of this great nation knew it. Too, bad the American people did not see Obama for what he is a Socialist!

-- Posted by Heritage Lake Resident on Tue, Mar 23, 2010, at 10:02 AM

HLR.... Do you attend the Defenders of Liberty meetings locally? April 12, 6:30 Dixie Chooper Business center...

-- Posted by Thomas Paine on Tue, Mar 23, 2010, at 11:50 AM

Thomas, yes I do. I have not missed a meeting yet. I will be in attendance as my father in law Dan Stockton is one of the Republicans running for Indiana's 8th District Congressional Seat. I will be passing out flyers. However, with that said if he does not win the primary I will still attend the meetings and make sure my voice is heard.

-- Posted by Heritage Lake Resident on Tue, Mar 23, 2010, at 12:50 PM

Very good, Sir! See you there.....

-- Posted by Thomas Paine on Tue, Mar 23, 2010, at 9:00 PM

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