When George Washington was just George

Being more familiar with Texas history, I’m ashamed to say there are people and places I learned about in my highschool history classes that are almost all but forgotten.

But that’s one of the perks of relocating your family to the northern U.S. – the opportunity to rediscover the founding of our nation through historic sites, military garrisons and, quite literally, battlefields of the republic.

On a recent vacation, we toured Fort Ligonier – a reconstructed British outpost dating from 1758-1766 – around the time of the French and Indian War. And although I realize this post isn’t as timely as a look at the American Revolution, the fort featured an exhibit on the Leader of the Continental Army.

At Fort Ligonier, George Washington was just George. As a military apprentice, George served as a colonel of the Virginia Regiment (under the British Crown) and led troops in the Pennsylvania back country. It was a time that forged George into George Washington, the man revered by Americans for both his military courage and personal integrity.

The Fort itself was beautifully reconstructed.

Wigwams, artillery garrisons, and covered wagons all gave the the twins a glimpse of early colonial life.

It was fun to imagine young George commanding the use of canons and artillery fire. (Incidentally, during the eight years of its existence as a garrison, the Fort was never captured by enemy forces).

Perhaps that was due to the tenacious quality of its young leaders.

Or the well-fortified resolve of its troops.

Realistically, it was a combination of both of these things. (And also these giant spikey things. A sure deterrent against enemy attacks).

For whatever reason Fort Ligonier remained an impenetrable outpost of the Empire, it clearly hinged on the integrity of the individuals who walked the grassy batteries inside. Men like Brigadier General John Forbes and young George Washington who were not overcome by the course of human events, but in a spirit of service and liberty acknowledged the “Invisible Hand” governing the affairs of the world.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”

The Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776


About melissa deming

Melissa Deming is a freelance writer transplanted from Texas to Pennsylvania with her husband of ten years, Jonathan, and two-year-old identical twins, Zacharias and Jonah. The family serves at a Southern Baptist church plant in Pittsburgh - Living Faith Community Church. Melissa is a regular correspondent for The Southern Baptist TEXAN newspaper and Crossroads magazine of the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention. She is also the creator and author of HiveResources.com - a site designed to sweeten a woman's walk with Christ through devotional articles, book reviews, and giveaways. Melissa holds a Masters of Divinity in Women’s Studies from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, Wake Forest, NC, and a B.A. in Journalism from Texas A&M University.