Not only is today the birthday of the United States, but it is my fiance’s birthday as well and we are in Connecticut visiting his family. Earlier this week, we were driving down to visit Mystic Seaport (a post for another day!) and we decided to take a more scenic route than the highway. I’m really glad we did because the route we chose took us down through a little town called Wethersfield. Now I can spot an 18th century house from a mile away; imagine my excitement at seeing this house from a distance and then, as we got closer, recognizing the name that goes with it!
So, as a sort of prelude to today, we returned to Wethersfield yesterday to visit Silas Deane’s house.
Silas Deane was a lawyer and one of the United States’ first diplomats. He joined Benjamin Franklin in Paris during the American Revolution. Not as well known as Franklin, the independently wealthy Deane came under suspicion by certain less-than-admirable members of Congress while he was in France, and rumors and accusations began to fly. Deane returned to the United States to clear his name, but the damage had already been done. Having sunk basically all of his fortune into the war effort, Deane died penniless and in poor political standing. It wasn’t until long after his death that Congress cleared his name and paid his family just a small fraction of what they’d lost to help America win her independence. A sad story, really.
There are other fantastic things to see in Wethersfield, including the room where General George Washington and the Comte de Rochambeau made preliminary plans for the Yorktown campaign, as well as a fantastic heirloom seed store. I will be making a couple more posts about these later.
For now, happy Independence Day!