While Washington is most often remembered for his role in the Revolutionary War and the founding of the United States, this statue recalls his beginnings as an officer of King George III.
This statue commemorates the 1753 visit of then Major George Washington to the French Fort Le Boeuf. He was to deliver a letter demanding the relocation of French settlers from the Ohio Valley claimed by England. It was his first act as a major in the British Army, and the beginning of his military career. He was just 21.
The French sent Major Washington back to his commanding officer with a polite letter of refusal. Washington’s account of the expedition was printed in newspapers on both sides of the Atlantic, making his name as a personage of military leadership. He would remain a loyal member of the British provincial militia throughout the French and Indian War and afterwards, until the Crown began imposing undue taxes on goods imported to the colonies.
The statue was erected in 1922 by the citizens of Waterford, Pennsylvania, the small town on the former site of Fort Le Boeuf, to commemorate Washington’s first act of military diplomacy. True to the period, Washington is depicted wearing the uniform of the Virginia Militia and extends the cease-and-desist letter to the French.
Know Before You Go
Take State Route 97 South from I-90 in Erie. It is approximately a 20-minute drive. Park along High street. The statue is located in a small park next to the Waterford Hotel at the south east corner of town. Numerous other areas of historical interest are within a short walking distance.