George Washington’s Sword

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10 Geering Way
Fishkill, New York
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Washington’s sword now in Smithsonian Institution Washington, D.C. was made near here by John Bailey, a cutler from New York and Fishkill


State Education Department — 1935

What was there

Around 1777, Fishkill, NY became the primary depot of the American forces in the Revolution.

John Bailey was a prominent silversmith and sword cutler who made hundreds of swords of very fine quality.  The leather for the scabbards came from hides which were tanned on his 200 acre Fishkill farm.  Alongside him, Bailey’s (2nd) wife, Ann, stitched together the leather for the scabbards. This work was done in a small shop along Forge Brook. Bailey came to New York from England in 1755, at the age of 19 and is probably most known for making General Washington’s battle sword, which was carried by Washington throughout the Revolution.

Upon his death, Washington bequeathed 5 of his swords to his 5 nephews.

Exerpt from Washington’s will:

“To each of my nephews, William Augustine Washington, George Lewis, George Steptoe Washington, Bushrod Washington and Samuel Washington, I give one of the swords or cutteaux of which I may die possessed; and they are to chose in the order they are named. These swords are accompanied with an injunction not to unsheathe them for the purpose of shedding blood, except it be for self defense, or in defense of their Country and it’s rights; and in the latter case, to keep them unsheathed, and prefer falling with them in their hands, to the relinquishment thereof. . . .”

Samuel T. Washington was the nephew who received this Bailey-made sword, and on February 8, 1843, his son donated it to the United States Congress.  The sword now  resides at the Smithsonian’s Museum of American History.  
**As of this posting, (August 2013), The Smithsonian’s website lists this sword as being “currently not on view.”

What is there now

The marker stands at the busy intersection of Rt. 52 and Interstate 84.  A small creek runs along a side road called Geering Way.  A peculiar sight here, is a tiny rounded patch of grass which stands as an island on the entrance ramp.  This tiny island has a picnic table chained to a metal umbrella stand.  No remains of a farm or cutlery shop are evident, but if you stop to check out this marker, and you’ve packed a lunch – that picnic table may come in handy.  Park along Geering Way. (See photo gallery)

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We would like to thank the following for helping us with this entry:
Kelly Lucero


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