Book Recounts George Washington’s Trip On The Severn River


The first president of the United States spent an unfortunate evening on the Severn River, and possibly, on Round Bay.

This anecdote was printed in Ron Chernow’s 2011 book “Washington: A Life” and shared by Severna Park resident Bill Chadwick.

According to his diaries, Washington sailed down the Severn River the night of March 20, 1791.

As Chernow wrote, “The succession of horrors started with the sail down the Severn River in Maryland. Washington had borrowed a large boat manned by an incompetent crew, and in the course of a dark, stormy night, with ‘constant lightning and tremendous thunder,’ the boat ran aground twice. The befuddled crew had no notion where they were. All the while, the president lay curled in a bunk below decks, so cramped he could not fully stretch out. The nightmare ended with the boat’s arrival at Annapolis, where Washington was installed in the familiar comfort of George Mann’s tavern.”

While Round Bay was not mentioned in the diary entry, it is a likely place for the boat to run aground.

Washington was in Annapolis to officiate a meeting of property owners in Georgetown and Carrollsburg who were competing to have government buildings for the new federal district erected on their land. In a pleasant surprise, Washington informed the groups that the 10-mile-square district would encompass land in both domains.

The president followed the meeting by taking a week’s respite at Mount Vernon.


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