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Presidents in Kernersville

Most of the media reports of President Bush’s speech yesterday in Kernersville noted that it was the first presidential visit in the town since George Washington passed through in 1791.

Washington visited North Carolina on his tour of the southern states in the spring and summer of 1791, as part of his plan to visit every state in the union during his term in office. We know about his visit to Kernersville from an entry in his diary for June 2, 1791. Washington’s party was traveling from Salem, where he had spent several days, to Guilford, where he was to visit the site of the Revolutionary War battle of Guilford Courthouse. Washington wrote,

“In company with the Govr. I set out by 4 Oclock for Guilford — Breakfasted at one Dobsons at the distance of eleven Miles from Salem . . . .”

The “one Dobson’s” was Dobson’s tavern, located at Dobson’s crossroads, at the site of what would later become the town of Kernersville (incorporated 1871). Sadly, there is no mention in the diary of what was served.