Whiskey Rebellion Statue
Benjamin Harrison 1876 and 1892: Funeral Procession
Benjamin Harrison, the twenty-third President of the United States (1889 – 1893) and the grandson of former President William Henry Harrison, made two visits to the borough. Neither occasion was a happy one. Harrison attended the funeral of his mother-in-law in 1876 and his father-in-law in 1892. Harrison’s wife Caroline had family ties to Little Washington. Her father, John Witherspoon Scott, had graduated from Washington College in 1823. John Scott, an ordained Presbyterian minister, went on to become president of Farmer’s College near Cincinnati, where Benjamin Harrison met his future wife. Although the Scotts spent most of their life in Ohio, they retained family connections back in Washington, Pa., and celebrated their fiftieth wedding anniversary here. When Mary Scott died in 1876, she was buried in the family plot in Washington Cemetery. John Scott and the Harrisons came to Washington for the funeral. When Harrison, a Republican, was elected President in 1888, the widowed John Scott came to live in the White House. The White House brought personal tragedy to the Harrison family. Caroline Harrison died of tuberculosis on October 25, 1892, a few weeks before Benjamin Harrison was defeated in his bid for a second term. Little more than a month later, Caroline’s father died on November 29, 1892. The grieving President boarded a train several days later to bury his father-in-law in Washington Cemetery. Washington & Jefferson College suspended classes as a token of respect. If you look to the south, you can see Washington Cemetery on the hilltop to the left of Trinity High School. The house connected to Trinity high school was once Trinity Hall and was significant to the visits of Ulysses S. Grant that will be described at Stop 14.
Directions to next stop:
Proceed down S. Main St. to the blue Pennsylvania state historical marker for The Globe Inn.
The Globe Inn Historical Marker The Prestigious Globe Inn
The Globe Inn hosted more Presidents than any other building in Washington, Pennsylvania. Five Presidents are known to have stayed here: James Monroe, Andrew Jackson, William Henry Harrison, James K. Polk, and Zachary Taylor. Built in 1798 by David Morris, the Globe Inn became the most prestigious hostelry in the borough in the first half of the 19th century. The completion of the National Road in 1818 brought many visitors both famous and anonymous. In addition to the Presidents mentioned above, General Lafayette stayed at the Globe Inn in 1825 during his extensive tour of the United States to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of American independence. Most of the presidential guests at the Globe Inn were travelling to Washington, D.C., from their homes farther west. Taking advantage of steamboat navigation on the Ohio River, they typically disembarked at Wheeling and then made their way east to the national capital by means of the National Road. For more information on the National Road, see Stop 15. The Globe Inn was torn down in 1891.
Directions to next stop:
Proceed just a few steps down S. Main St. to The David Bradford House, which also has a blue Pennsylvania state historical marker in front of it. (Top Left) James K. Polk (Top Right) Zachary Taylor (Bottom Left) William Henry Harrison
The David Bradford House
A Frontier Rebel Against Washington
George Washington definitely did not sleep here. This 1788 stone house was the home of David Bradford, the leader of the Whiskey Rebellion (1791 – 1794), one of the major crises that Washington had to face as the nation’s first President. The Whiskey Rebellion had many causes, but the fuse that lit the powder keg was the whiskey excise tax that Congress approved in 1791. The whiskey excise imposed a tax on the distillers of what had become America’s most popular beverage. These distillers included not only large-scale commercial operations but thousands of farmers on the frontier from western Pennsylvania to Georgia who ran small stills to convert their surplus grain into alcohol. A passion for whiskey and economic necessity encouraged these stills along the frontier. Bad roads to the East meant that it was impossible to ship bulky rye grain across the mountains profitably, but a train of pack horses loaded with whiskey could do so. The whiskey excise tax thus struck at the economic livelihood of many frontier areas and revived popular views that taxation amounted to tyranny. The whiskey excise met with protest all along the frontier. Whiskey rebels tarred and feathered several excise officers and forced the rest to resign. The excise tax was unenforceable on the frontier for two years.
Corner: Maiden/Main (former Hotel Auld) Andrew Jackson, 1820s and 1830s: Familiar Salutations
You are now standing at the former site of the Hotel Auld. The Hotel Auld was demolished in the 1960s. Andrew Jackson, the seventh President of the United States (1829 – 1837), may have been the most frequent presidential visitor to Washington, Pennsylvania. Jackson made at least five stops in the borough while traveling between his home, The Hermitage, in Nashville, Tennessee, and Washington, D.C. Jackson stayed overnight in Little Washington both on his way to being inaugurated President in 1829 and after he left office in 1837. Jackson took advantage of steamboat service on the Ohio to get to Pittsburgh and then traveled over land south to Little Washington en route to his inauguration. As the editor of the Washington Examiner commented, “It really was an interesting spectacle to see that great man who had been chosen by the unbiased suffrage of a free people to the most exalted situation on earth, mix among the hardy yeomanry of the country, and exchange mutual and familiar salutations.” Jackson’s entourage then took the National Road east toward Washington, D.C. Jackson was a guest at the Globe Inn on Main Street while headed for his inauguration. Eight years later, he stayed at John Dagg’s Mansion House while returning to Nashville.
Washington himself led a 13,000-man force across the mountains to deal with the rebels, coming as far as Bedford, about 100 miles east of here. He turned back to Philadelphia when it became apparent that there would be no major armed resistance. The rebellion dissolved and Bradford fled in October 1794.
One of Jackson’s early visits to Washington proved to be quite controversial. In 1824, General Jackson was a candidate for the Presidency, and rumors surfaced that the General had met secretly with an anonymous political operative while he was here. A local newspaper’s editor went to considerable lengths to prove that this was a fabrication, producing affidavits from leading citizens and a letter from Jackson himself that Jackson had had no secret visitors. The editor attributed this rumor of a clandestine meeting to a “tribe of corrupt and mercenary politicians” who wanted to deny “this second Washington” the presidency. Jackson ultimately lost in 1824 to John Quincy Adams but won the Presidency in the election of 1828.
There is considerable irony in that a town named after George Washington would house the leader of a revolt against Washington’s presidential policies. Note that Washington’s statue on top of the courthouse looks down upon Bradford’s residence.
During his stop in Washington, Pa. in the fall of 1824, Jackson stayed at James Briceland’s Inn. For obvious reasons, this inn later became known as the “Jackson Hotel.” It eventually became known as the Hotel Auld.
Directions to next stop:
Directions to next stop:
In 1794, however, the Washington Administration sought to enforce the law by issuing summons for local rebels to appear in court. Bloodshed soon followed, and David Bradford emerged as the local leader who urged outright resistance to the Washington Administration. In response, Washington became determined to crush this domestic insurrection.
Proceed down S. Main St. toward the intersection, and stop at the corner of S. Main St. and E. Maiden St. You will be standing in front of the Miracle Ear Parking Lot.
Cross S. Main St. at the intersection with E. Maiden St. Proceed on E. Maiden St. back toward the W&J campus. Stop partway down the first block at the blue Pennsylvania state historical marker for the LeMoyne House.