James McHenry: Journal, June 18-July 23, 1778
Valley Forge -- 18 June
Early this morning by intelligence from McLane, Sir Henry Clinton and the British army evacuated Philadelphia and took post on the Jersey side.
Everything being arranged for our march--a division under General Lee proceeded towards the Delaware in the evening.
19th. The whole army in motion. --March to Norristown Township. Encamp on Stony run. Head Quarters at a Doctor Shannons.
A good farm house--good cheer--and a pretty situation.
A letter from General Dickinson to his Excellency--The enemy, the General writes, at Eyers Town, three miles below Montholly. --The militia collecting to give them opposition. Some little skirmishing--The enemy repairing a bridge which our people had broken down.
20th. March at 4 o'clock in the morning. --Hault at Mordecai Moors, about 7 miles from Shannons, and 22 miles from Philadelphia. . --A beautiful country & Every where the marks of industrious & happy inhabitants.
In going to Moors, we cross the Skippach and North Wales road.--
The army encamps for the night 8 miles from Moors and 25 miles from Philadelphia.
Head Quarters at a Jonathan Fells.
John H. Rhodehamel, The American Revolution: Writings from the War of Independence (New York: The Library of America, 2001), p. 459.
Miers Fisher, who was himself one of those exiled to Virginia, later became a friend of the President, was visited by him at his country-seat, "Ury," which was near the Fox Chase, and is said to have presented his portrait to the Quaker lawyer.*
*This portrait, by James Sharples, is still in the possession of the descendants of Mr. Fisher.
Anne Hollingsworth Wharton, Salons Colonial and Republican (Philadelphia: J.P. Lippencott Company, 1900), pp.82-3.
Ury House -- 1778
George Washington is said to have dined in the old hall.
Rev. S. F. Hotchkin, M.A., The York Road, Old and New (Philadelphia: Binder & Kelly, Publishers, 1892), pp.409.
Tradition says that Washington, shortly after the evacuation of Valley Forge [1778.06.19], some say on the evening of the same day, supped at Ury. One of the maids was so flustered by the presence of the illustrious guest that she mistook salt for sugar and presented his Excellency with a bowl of salt with which he "sugared" his strawberries. Great was the mortification of the household when the mistake was discovered.
Harold Donaldson Eberlein and Horace Mather Lippincott, The Colonial Homes of Philadelphia and Its Neighborhoods (1912), pp. 317.
General Washington, too, visited at Ury and had an untoward experience at supper. It was early in June, when the strawberries from the garden were at their best. Unfortunately, over the excitement over the distinguished guest, somebody mistook salt for powdered sugar, and the great man got his berries "sugared" with salt.
Harold Donaldson Eberlein and Cortlandt Van Dyke Hubbard, "Colonial Philadelphia No. 13 Ury House" (Evening Public Ledger, 1939.10.03).
Washington, of course, came to the old mansion. And this time there is a little humor attached to the visit.
The neighborhood was very la-de-da in Colonial times, although Miss Jean will tell you sadly, "It is not any more." Anyway, everyone was aflutter at his coming, and the young girls flocked in to help prepare dinner to be served in Swedes' Hall.
One bud in her excitement "sugared" the strawberries with salt--and the great man ate them like a gentleman.
Manning Smith, "Sisters in Historic Mansion Hold Off Invaders" (Philadelphia Record, 1940.01.29.
The grandmother of the Crawford Sisters had some anecdotes about Ury House, one connected with a visit of George Washington when young girls in the neighborhood helped prepare the supper for the general. One of the excited maidens put salt instead of sugar on the strawberries and the general nobly ate them. Grandmother Jane knew that must have happened, when one day, during her first summer at Ury, she was astonished to see a lovely old lady in hoopskirts step out of her carriage and mount the steps. She had come once more to see the raftered hall where Washington dined--because she was the girl who had salted the strawberries!
Rex Rittenhouse, "Ury House Guest Was Victim Of Jittery Maid" (Philadelphia: The Evening Bulletin, 1945.10.21).