Julia Grant's Mom Met Aaron Burr

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This thread is inspired by Friday's post by @Eleanor Rose in "The Traveler's Companion" about her visit to Blennerhassett Island in the Ohio River. (The island is now a historical park off of Parkersburg, West Virginia.)

The Blennerhassett family built an estate on the island. To make a long story short, they got involved in Aaron Burr's attempt to conspire to create a new empire in the early 1800's. Blennerhassett Island became the headquarters for this conspiracy. I'm under the impression that Burr and his conspirators intended to use the island to store weapons and a military force to carry out the plot. From what I understand, Burr's daughter Theodosia waited at Blennerhassett Island, thinking that her father would install her as his official hostess after he managed to create his own empire. The Blennerhassetts had to flee from the island when the plot fell apart.

I really enjoyed the post because Aaron Burr and all of the legends and folklore surrounding him and Theodosia intrigue me. I think that my younger sisters' love for the musical Hamilton play into this.

Anyway, I read in Julia Dent Grant's memoirs that Mrs. Grant's mother, Ellen Bray Wrenshall Dent, lived in Pennsylvania prior to her marriage and that she travelled between Pittsburgh and Philadelphia as a girl for her schooling. Mrs. Grant wrote in her memoirs that one of Mrs. Dent's favorite stories was about the time that she stopped in a tavern midway through Pennsylvania and Aaron Burr was at that same tavern! Mrs. Dent remembered Aaron Burr being kind to her at the tavern.

Actually, here is the quote from JDG's memoirs:

"Mamma has told me of riding on horseback all the way from Pittsburgh to Philadelphia, where she was sent to school, and of once meeting Aaron Burr and his army in the Allegheny Mountains encamped around the little tavern which contained one room and a kitchen. This one room was, of course, occupied by the officers. Mamma, though much fatigued, was very loath to lie on the settle, or bench, before them all to rest until they pressed around and made for her a bed and a pillow of their cloaks and begged her to rest, telling her she would be just as safe there as in her mother's arms. Lying down at last, they covered her with another martial cloak, and she slept as soundly as the princess in the fairy tale."

Now, I actually grew up in the Allegheny Mountains between Pittsburgh and Philadelphia. I never heard this story until I read JDG's memoirs. My thought is that if this particular tavern still exists as a restaurant or a historical attraction, then this would be a story that they would include in their advertising. For instance, there is another tavern in the Allegheny Mountains that is now a popular restaurant, and they certainly advertise their connection to the French and Indian War and George Washington.

Has anybody ever read anything additional about Mrs. Dent's encounter with Aaron Burr?

I wonder what year this occurred. Mrs. Dent was born in 1793, so I am thinking that she would have been a schoolgirl traveling across Pennsylvania in the first decade of the 1800's. The Burr conspiracy happened in 1804/05 - 1807, and Aaron Burr was arrested in 1807. So, was Burr actively planning the conspiracy when JDG's mother met him at the tavern? When JDG said "Aaron Burr and his army," did JDG mean the militia that Burr was attempting to raise for the conspiracy?

This story stands out to me because, in my mind, Mrs. Dent is saying to her children, "Did I ever tell you about that time that I met a very famous person? Wait until you hear about this!"
 

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Arioch

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That is a good one!....I'd never heard that....I also never knew that Julia Dent Grant had written her own memoirs...a 2 'fer for me...
 
Joined
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Location
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That is a good one!....I'd never heard that....I also never knew that Julia Dent Grant had written her own memoirs...a 2 'fer for me...
Julia Grant couldn't find a publisher for her memoirs in her own lifetime. Her memoirs were published in 1975. Wikipedia told me that she was the very first First Lady to write a memoir.
 


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