A version of the following article authored by Bill Jeffway was published in the Northern/Southern Dutchess News/Beacon Free Press on June 26, 2019 as part of DCHS's Decoding Dutchess Past series.
Washington and Lafayette.These names have such iconic status that we might forget that these “mere mortals” put one foot in front of the other in the daily pursuit of ordinary life and work. In the spirit of understanding them in this way, let’s retrace some of their lesser-known footsteps in Dutchess County.
"The Immortal Washington"
In 1824, Col. Henry A. Livingston described "the immortal Washington" as a frequent visitor to Poughkeepsie as the guest of "the venerable [Gov.] George Clinton."
A more singular visit of General Washington involved a visit to the Poughkeepsie Lodge of the Masonic Order, Solomon’s Lodge No. 1, on December 27, 1793. Washington as an active Mason. Poughkeepsie had been important during the Revolutionary War for many reasons, among them it was the location of ship building for war ships, and the state capitol. And Washington had many friends and veterans of the war in the Masonic Order.
The item from DCHS Collections shown is a 19th century commemorative of that visit. Solomon’s Lodge No. 1 was on the east side of Market Street, across from Hendrickson’s Inn. The Lodge Master was Andrew Billings, another well-known veteran of the Revolutionary War in Dutchess County, and a renowned silversmith and metallurgist who had Washington as a customer.