Contrary to very popular belief, while George Washington had false teeth and eventually dentures, none of his teeth were made of wood. His dentures were made of lead and filled with “teeth” comprised of human teeth (including those purchased from slaves and some of his own teeth), ivory and bone that were retained by gold wire. His first tooth was extracted when he was 24 and by the time of his inauguration he had only tooth in his gums. Apparently he was self conscious about his dental problems and that made him less willing to speak.
Not exactly something that makes you want to smile.
Photo from Mount Vernon
You’ve seen the enormous 1851 painting by Emanuel Leutze at least in an art book if not the real thing currently at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City…but have you been to the site where the crossing actually occurred?
In 1776, Washington was known for crossing rivers. First it was the East River in New York in August 1776 escaping the British undetected with about 9000 people (which you’ll learn about on the walking tour) and then it was December on the Delaware River with about 2400 people, the prelude to a march to New Jersey the night before the Battle of Trenton. Although Washington crossed the Delaware on Christmas Night 1776, the summer is a great time to visit Washington Crossing Historic Park in Pennsylvania. There’s a visitor’s center, a historic village and a monument, but most importantly you can contemplate the daring maneuver at a very low point for Washington and his army at the beginning of the Revolutionary War.
Here’s the website for Washington Crossing Historic Park.
Not PRECISELY where they crossed but a maker that says, Near this spot Washington crossed the Delaware on Christmas Night 1776 the evening of the Battle of Trenton.
Washington Crossing the Delaware by Emanuel Leutze