No controversy or opinions in this column, because today it’s about Independence Day and a seldom-heard story of our nation’s first Congress and their trials and tribulations as they tried to find a home. And thus begins one of my educational columns.
Everyone knows the story about the Continental Congress writing the Declaration of Independence in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In July of 1776, Philly was our nation’s largest city with about 40,000 inhabitants, mostly God fearing Quakers. After signing their declaration of freedom from England, King George wasn’t happy and considered this as an act of war. Later that year, the King sent his soldiers and sailors to the colonies to deal with the treasonous rebels. The imminent arrival of the redcoats caused the declaration’s authors to flee the City of Brotherly Love.
The fleet of foot founding fathers gathered themselves in Baltimore, Maryland in December of 1776. For some reason, they passed on using the adequate Baltimore Courthouse as their capitol building and instead chose the tavern of Henry Fite. This new US Capitol was a three-story brick building at 10 Market Street (now known as West Baltimore Street). It was inside Fite’s Tavern that Congress learned of General Washington’s successful crossing of the Delaware River and his victory over the British at Trenton, New Jersey. Once the coast was clear, in March of 1777, the Congress returned to Philadelphia.