Washington’s boyhood home throws birthday party

Kathy Stewart, wtop.com

STAFFORD, Va. – George Washington’s boyhood home threw the 281-year-old president a birthday bash Saturday.

He spent his boyhood years growing up in Stafford County at Ferry Farm. No structures remain on the property, which once was slated to become a Walmart, and archeologists continue to excavate the grounds looking for clues to help historians paint a better picture of Washington’s formative years.

The Washingtons moved to Ferry Farm in 1738, when Washington was six. He lived there until he was 22 years old.

Eight year-old Brandon Thitsone from Spotsylvania knows his history. He, his younger brother and their parents came for the birthday celebration Saturday morning.

Brandon’s mother, Heather Thitsone, quizzed him asking if he knew who used to live at the farm and how old the nation’s first president was when he lived here. Thitsone says her kids enjoy learning about history.

Of course, the birthday celebration included cake, unlike at Mount Vernon, where visitors were treated to a type of pancake that Washington enjoyed as an adult.

Visitor Lauren Bass, a Prince William County fourth grade teacher, made an exception for the special occasion and ate cake for breakfast with her her eight-year-old daughter, Jamie Bass.

But this teacher says while they came for the fun, they are also wanted learn more about the life of the future revolutionary.

Activities included a Washington impersonator, who explained to an 8-year-old that his false teeth were very uncomfortable. Guests tried their hand at 18th century games including nine-pins, a type of bowling game played on grass.

Guests also learned more about the artifacts that archeologists have discovered on the site. The researchers have found plates, wig curlers and straight pins – items that were likely trash to the family but offer a treasure trove of information about life on Ferry Farm.

The farm is still an active archaeology dig site. Very little is known about Washington’s youth and the dig is revealing details about his family’s life. For 11 years, archeologists have been digging at the property and have located the former farmhouse and fireplace.

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