George Washington and Colonel John Fitzgerald

According to two sources in the Library, George Washington had dinner at the home of Colonel John Fitzgerald on St. Patrick’s Day in 1788, at which the proposed construction of the church was discussed.  George Washington is said to have given money to the church building fund at some point after that.  (See Historic Alexandria, Virginia, Street by Street:  A Survey of Existing Early Buildings  by Ethelyn Cox (McLean, VA:  Distributed by EPM Publications for the Historic Alexandria Foundation, 1976), Page 157; and Walking with Washington:  Walking Tours of Alexandria, Virginia, Featuring over 100 Sites Associated with George Washington, compiled by Robert L. Madison (Baltimore, MD:  Gateway Press, 2003), Page 51.

We can document that George Washington had dinner at Colonel Fitzgerald’s on March 17, 1788 (here’s the reference from the GW Diaries in the Rotunda edition of the online GW Papers):

  • Monday 17th. Thermometer at 37 in the Morning—[ ] at Noon and [ ] at Night. Clear all day and pleasant. Wind a little variable—in the Morning Easterly—in the evening Southerly.
  • Went up (accompanied by Colo. Humphreys) to the Election of Delegates to the Convention of this State (for the purpose of considering the New form of Governmt. which has been recommended to the United States); When Doctr. Stuart and Colo. Simms were chosen without opposition. Dined at Colo. Fitzgeralds, and returned in the Evening.

The Virginia Ratifying Convention was to meet in Richmond on 2 June. Election of delegates took place in each county on its appointed court day in March. George Washington wrote to John Jay on March 3, 1788:

“Our elections form an interesting epocha in our Annals. After the choice is made, the probable decision on the proposed Constitution (from the characters of memebers) can with more ease be conjectured; for myself I have never entertained much doubt of its adoption” (DLC:GW).

The results, which were not fully known for several weeks, indicated a thin margin in favor of the friends of the Constitution (FREEMAN, 6:133–34). Both Dr. David Stuart and Charles Simms supported the new form of government (Md. Journal, 28 Mar. 1788). 

[Cite as: The Papers of George Washington Digital Edition. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, Rotunda, 2008.

[Canonic URL:   Original source: Diaries (11 March 1748–13 December 1799), Volume 5 (1 July 1786–31 December 1789), Pages 285-286].


This information was from correspondence with Mary V. Thompson at The Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington on Monday, April 10, 2017.

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