Image courtesy of Colonial National Historical Park, Yorktown.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Meeting Notes: September 19, 2007

"George Washington in the West," William G. Clotworthy

The American Revolution Roundtable – Richmond met at the University of Richmond on September 19, 2007. The speaker was William G. Clotworthy (who was ably introduced to the gathering by Lynn Sims, the first Vice President for Programs) whose topic had to do with George Washington “in the west.” Mr. Clotworthy had written a book entitled In the Footsteps of George Washington but his emphasis for this talk was George Washington “In the West.”

Mr. Clotworthy was retired but had been in the broadcast business for many years. His last twelve years were with NBC where he had a job which he was sure no one thought existed – “the network censor for Saturday Night Live!”

Mr. Clotworthy’s talk was quite interesting and frankly he was very easy to listen to. He talked of how there were so many places in this country where George Washington either slept, battled, grew up, was born, or in fact “bathed.”

Mr. Clotworthy spoke of George Washington’s early years where he was acting as a surveyor and as a true “Western visionary.”

In 1748, George Washington joined a surveying party put together by Colonel Fairfax. He indicated surveying was arduous; there were plenty of snakes to deal with, mountains, rivers, and it was very physically challenging. However, this benefited George Washington greatly as he learned so much in dealing with all of these adversities, the various challenges, people to deal with, the Indians to be traded with, and so forth. In fact, one of the finer points of all this was that George Washington developed his sense that he was “the master of various events.” Mr. Clotworthy spoke of the effects of the Fort Necessity debacle, but in this, as was to be his lot later in life, George Washington seemed to lead a charmed military life.

According to Mr. Clotworthy, the West really molded George Washington because he learned in that setting as a surveyor, and as an officer during the French and Indian War the necessary attention to detail, dealing with shortages and all of the problems associated with that life and yet he was constantly drawn to the West and constantly thought of it.

In conclusion, Mr. Clotworthy felt that George Washington really always had the welfare of the country in his mind and heart and that his great object was the perpetuation of our nation’s strengths.