Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Washington Post Article on John Hanson

From the article "Historian seeks to honor first 'president'".

"Mr. Michael thinks Hanson was buried at Mulberry Grove, in Charles County's Port Tobacco, after he died in 1783 at Oxon Hill Manor, in Prince George's County.

Mr. Ashbury thinks Hanson is likely buried on the manor because people were generally interred as fast as gravediggers and families could bury the dead."

And the debate continues.



Dancing Willow said...

T'was an interesting story.

Maybe there was enough of him to go around... you know all the signs we see; "Washington slept here... and here, and here". So Hanson was buried here... and here, and there"!

Jim said...

You laugh, but local lore has it that John Hanson was interred temporarily at Oxon Hill before being removed to a permanent burial place. Depending on how long he remained in his 'temporary quarters,' it is possible that not all of him was removed so he could be in two places at the same time. Too bad we have to wait for our demise before being able to pull that trick.

Dancing Willow said...

This may be a job for "Myth Busters". That way you get the funding by the broadcasting station and solve the mystery all in one!

Anonymous said...

If he was moved, Frederick, his home or Baltimore the home of his son is a more likely place though I think the Oxon Hill manor is where he rests. Same story for General William Smallwood. His actual grave is not known. When it was dedicated years ago, the place to mark was picked because it was accessible to the house. Guess they truly rest in peace.

Peter Hanson Michael said...

From Peter Hanson Michael

Certainly a primary cause of the nation's faded memory of John Hanson is that the location of his grave is unknown. Unlike Washington’s much visited tomb at Mount Vernon, there is no grave known today for the nation to visit to pay its respects to John Hanson.

John Hanson died at the home of his nephew Thomas Hanson at Oxon Hill, Prince George's County, Maryland, November 22, 1783, a year after completing his term as president of the United States. He would have been buried in one of three places: there at Oxon Hill Manor, 21 miles away in his family cemetery at his ancestral home at Mulberry Grove, or 95 miles away in Frederick, his home at the time of his death. Rumors and one or two unsubstantiated written claims have existed since the time of his death that Hanson was buried at his nephew's estate, a practice not uncommon at the time. For example, Harry Newman wrote in his 1940 book on Hanson that, “He [John Hanson] was interred in the ancient burying ground of the Addison family at Oxon Hill,” but Newman does not cite a source for this. The Addisons were relatives by marriage of the Hansons but I have not been able to determine what relationship they might have had to Thomas Hanson of Oxon Hill Manor. When several old burial tablets were uncovered in the estate's graveyard in the 1990s, it was theorized that one of these could be John Hanson's.

A stronger clue would be the grave of Hanson's wife, Jane Contee Hanson, which is at Mulberry Grove. When Jane died in Frederick in 1812, 29 years after her husband and having outlived all of her twelve children, her body was transported the 95 miles to Mulberry Grove for burial. If she had directed that she be buried at Mulberry Grove rather than in the existing family plot in Frederick, it is very likely that she would have done so to be buried beside her husband. There is a conspicuous unmarked sunken grave between hers and the graves of two Hanson children who died in infancy. But if the grave beside Jane's is that of John, why would it be unmarked?