Obama First President To Speak In Leesburg Since 1825 - Leesburg Today Online—Daily News Coverage of Loudoun County, Leesburg, Ashburn: News

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Obama First President To Speak In Leesburg Since 1825

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Posted: Thursday, August 2, 2012 10:30 am

Although Leesburg is only a stone's throw from the nation's capital, it has been 187 years since a sitting president made an official visit to town.

According to Leesburg Research and Communications Manager Betsy Fields, Obama is the first sitting president to visit the town in an official capacity since Aug. 9, 1825, when John Quincy Adams came with the Marquis de Lafayatte on the French nobelman's farewell tour of the United States. The two were accompanied by former president James Monroe, who lived south of Leesburg at Oak Hill.

James W. Head chronicled Adams and Lafayette's visit in his 1909 book, History and comprehensive description of Loudoun County. Head wrote that much of the attention was paid to Lafayette during the visit, which included a toast by Mayor John Henry McCabe. It was described by a Mrs. A.H. Throckman as "the greatest social event in the history of Leesburg."

After a banquet in the courthouse square attended by some 200 people, Head wrote, Adams toasted Lafayette, a hero of the Revolutionary War, saying, "The living records of the war of Independence, like the prophetic books of the Sibyl, increasing in value as they diminish in numbers."

Head estimated that 10,000 people attended the ceremony, significantly more than the expected capacity for Obama's visited Thursday night.

In the late 1940s until 1952, President Harry S. Truman visited Gen. George C. Marshall in his home at Dodona Manor four times, but none in an official capacity, Fields said.

More recently presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton visited Loudoun while they were in office, but neither made it inside the town's limits. Obama campaigned in Leesburg at Ida Lee Park in 2008, before he was elected.

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  • Bob_Smith posted at 12:07 pm on Mon, Aug 6, 2012.

    Bob_Smith Posts: 475

    Thanks, Paul, fascinating stuff. I bet that info and tons other exists at the Loudoun Museum....until it gets disbanded and sold off for scrap, for lack of funding by our County and host town (TOL). History is just the past, and not worth the equivalent of a dozen whiteboards or one teacher, so that it can also be part of our future. Sheesh.

  • Paul Gilbert posted at 8:46 am on Mon, Aug 6, 2012.

    Paul Gilbert Posts: 1

    The occasion of the August 1825 visit was a tour the LaFayette was doing of all the states (of that time). It had been over 40 years since the American Revolution and LaFayette had not been back since he was a 20-something General in the Revolution. Since that time he had sparked the French Revolution (it did not turn out as good), spent 8 years in an Austrian dungeon for being a troublemaker, had turned down a job working for Napoleon, and generally had an interesting life.

    After the festivities in Leesburg, LaFayette, Adams and Monroe all went to Temple Hall Farm. Not for the Corn Maze, but because it was owned by the nephew of George Mason, William Temple Mason. Mason and his wife Elizabeth had just had twin girls and LaFayette became the godfather to one and Monroe the godfather to the other.

  • mas954 posted at 10:43 am on Fri, Aug 3, 2012.

    mas954 Posts: 352

    I'm sorry I missed it. I would have loved to hear the President speak!

    @ Joan - I left Tysons at 5:30. There was no traffic on the toll road, and I walked in my house off Catoctin before 6:30. 65 was the minimum to even keep up. No need to get all hyper about a non-existent traffic jam.

  • Marshall posted at 11:47 pm on Thu, Aug 2, 2012.

    Marshall Posts: 18

    Obama had a great reception, with people waiting for hours to come through security and stand in crowded areas in the heat. But go ahead and denigrate the only visit we've had from a sitting President.

    And his visit four years ago doesn't count in the above mentioned historical statistics - he was only a candidate and NOT a sitting President in 2008.

  • Matt posted at 11:25 pm on Thu, Aug 2, 2012.

    Matt Posts: 1

    ... Except Obama in 2008

  • Leesburg NW posted at 10:24 pm on Thu, Aug 2, 2012.

    Leesburg NW Posts: 97

    I trust JQ Adams had a better reception . I could not believe all the protesters and Romney supporters out there today.

  • ji posted at 8:16 pm on Thu, Aug 2, 2012.

    ji Posts: 1

    Bet he didn't leave rush hour traffic stuck on the toll road.

  • Sundance posted at 3:16 pm on Thu, Aug 2, 2012.

    Sundance Posts: 177

    Head must have had a great memory. I'm not sure I could recall many details of anything that happened 84 years before I wrote it down.