On this President’s Day, it’s only fitting that I mention George Washington, the Father of our Country. We visited his amazing home, Mt. Vernon, a few years ago. Mt. Vernon is one of the most fascinating places I’ve ever toured. Walking in his footsteps, the ground is hallowed along the banks of the Potomac, the home is decorated with family furniture and heirlooms, the property is surrounded by historic gardens and orchards. His first love was farming. I bet he too would have blogged had Al Gore invented the internet by that time.
It was even more special to us because, John and I are connected to George Washington – just like Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon. George’s last known relative lived in our house.
1) George Washington’s first cousin was Reade Macon Washington;
2) Reade Macon Washington’s son was Captain Edward C. Washington; (as a side note for you history buffs, Captain Ed fought at Gettysburg & was killed in Vicksburg in 1863)
3) Captain Edward C. Washington’s son was Reade Macon Washington (named after his grandfather with the same name);
4) Reade Macon lived in our house in the early 1920s.
5) We own the house now.
Reade Macon Washington was born Jan 1, 1848, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He died in our house in Dallas on July 12, 1922. It was his house then. He was taking care of it for us. At the time of his death, the Dallas Morning News reported he was the last known member of George Washington’s bloodline. I discovered this while researching and preparing for home tour a few years ago. Now we had a name to go along with the bumps in the night – Mr. Washington still lives here… if you know what I mean.
We bought this home in 2002, when Tate was 8 and Kelsey was 12. We hadn’t been here long, when I was awakened in the middle of the night from a deep sleep by the smell of brownies cooking downstairs in the kitchen. It was as if the vent in our bedroom was pumping in the chocolate smell. It was wonderful, but at 1:30 a.m.?! I was a bit annoyed that Kelsey would be baking brownies at such an hour! She did love brownies, and she had perfected the recipe… But some of us had to work tomorrow! I threw back the covers, jumped out of bed and trudged downstairs. SeRioUsLy, the hair on the back of my neck stood up when I found the kitchen to be completely dark, the oven cold, the counters clean, and no midnight snack for me. But the smell of chocolate filled the kitchen. I cannot tell a lie. Kelsey was tucked away, sound asleep and falsely accused. This has happened several times since, but I have learned to just enjoy the smell and drift back off to sleep. Reade Macon must have loved brownies. Or maybe his wife was cooking for him? – she died here too, years later.
This is just one example of the goings on in our happily haunted house.
Similar to Mt. Vernon, our neighborhood is hallowed ground too. Munger Place was developed in the early 1900s to be the “city man’s home”- only minutes from downtown by carriage. It was home to some of Dallas’ biggest movers and shakers before the community fell into complete despair. By the 1960s most homes were condemned by the city and falling apart. Fortunately, an ambitious group of dedicated families saved the neighborhood from demolition, pushing for historic designation in the 1970s. Many camped out in their homes with no heat or air or even windows for years, with rats inside and drug dealers and prostitutes next door. But amazingly and thankfully, they saved it.
We newbies are simply the lucky caretakers of a tiny piece of history. Our home has had many owners through the years – they come and go. Some just come and never want to leave I guess. It features a fabulous wrap-around porch and the ghost of George Washington’s first cousin’s great-grandson… We should plant a cherry tree.
Sir Walter Scott, “Hail to the Chief”
K T Tunstall, “Black Horse and the Cherry Tree”