Many tales are told about George Washington’s connections with Berkeley Springs, West Virginia, which has even been dubbed the “First Summer White House.”
Some believe the “father of our country” discovered the mountain town or, at least, designed it. Others talk about his home here or the elm he planted, a tree that towered over Berkeley Springs State Park for the next two centuries.
At The Springs With George, the new book by John Douglas, sets the record straight on what actually took place and whether the facts match the legends.
While At The Springs is mainly concerned with Washington’s activities in and around Berkeley Springs, the story by necessity includes large chunks of history from nearby counties in West Virginia, Western Maryland, Virginia and southwestern Pennsylvania.
“Since Washington maintained contact with the Berkeley Springs vicinity and the greater Potomac River area throughout his life, the local story provides a good picture of the man and his interests at every stage of his career,” Douglas said.
As former editor of The Morgan Messenger and The Hancock News, Douglas wrote many historical pieces about the early days of this mountain region.
His newspaper articles about Washington’s area adventures were collected in a smaller book in 2002.
With At the Springs with George, he presents a much fuller tale with a lot of new information based on his later research, illustrated with more than 40 maps and pictures.
Included is considerable new material about the teenaged Washington’s work as a surveyor along the Potomac and Cacapon rivers, and his exploits trying to protect the region during the French & Indian War of the 1750s.
There is new material about every stage of his life.
At The Springs With George presents the real story of George Washington and his love affair with Berkeley Springs and the surrounding four-state region.
Douglas is also the author of A Fog of Ghosts: Haunted Tales & Odd Pieces as well as three mystery novels set in the Alleghenies.
He is a native of Cumberland, Md. and long time resident of Morgan County, West Virginia.