RAILCAR GOLD Chapter 11 . . Princeton . . Part 5
RAILCAR GOLD is a historically accurate multi-generational fictional tale of hidden treasure, primarily set in York County, Pennsylvania during the latter half of the Nineteenth Century. This is Part 5 of Chapter 11 . . . Princeton. A new part will be posted every Thursday. Recent chapters stand alone, starting here; however new readers may want to start at the beginning.
CHAPTER 11 . . . PRINCETON . . . Part 5
After the game, the Princeton and Rutgers teams gathered for a jovial meal; just like the week before in New Brunswick. George had previously made arrangements with a friend to take Charles, Charlie and Dan on a brief guided walking tour of the campus prior to darkness.
Later that evening, George Billmeyer informed his father that one final Princeton versus Rutgers football game would be played for the championship. Charles Billmeyer cautioned, “Don’t let these games interfere with your studies. I had a chance to talk to one of the professors, as we walked around campus. He said that many of the students seem distracted with everything going on with these games.”
After a hearty breakfast Sunday morning, George took everyone through the various buildings where he attended classes. He saved Nassau Hall for last.
George took great pride in explaining the roll of Nassau Hall in the early history of the United States. Specifically addressing Charlie and Dan, giving them a history lesson. George explained “You know the history of how the Continental Congress fled British Troops invading Philadelphia and met in York Town for nine months. Well, after leaving York Town, the Congress met for many years in Philadelphia until June of 1783.”
“The British surrender at Yorktown, Virginia, resulted in the ceasing of military activities. However nearly two years later, in June of 1783, the British still had not signed a treaty of peace that recognized an independent United States of America.”
“Fear was prevalent that renewed fighting with the British could resume at any time. The military was kept at the ready, however finances were in a sad state. General George Washington was able to personally squelch mutiny on several occasions; however was not present when mutinous troops caused Congress to flee Philadelphia for their safety. The Congress fled to this college in Princeton, New Jersey.”
George pointed into the library located on the second floor at the front and center of Nassau Hall, “Congress met in this room. It was during this session, in Nassau Hall, that the Congress received notification that the peace treaty giving final recognition to the nation’s independence had been signed with the British. In this very room, General George Washington accepted, in person, the congratulations of the Congress on the success of the war for independence.”
Charles Billmeyer interjected, “I still think that it is a shame that our Court House, where Continental Congress met while in York Town, was torn down. I grew up within eyesight of that Court House in the center of the square. I was only 16-years-old when the arguments flew back and forth to save the historic structure versus tearing down the old Court House. Many claimed that it had outlived its usefulness. I still remember the fall of 1840, just after the new Court House was completed, witnessing the old Court House, in the center of the square, as it came crashing down. I saved one of the bricks from that old Court House. I had the mason use it during the building of our house. Remind me to point it out to you sometime.”
George Billmeyer finished the tour by singing a rendition of ‘Old Nassau,’ the college’s alma mater, for Charles, Charlie and Dan. It was clear that George was almost equally proud that both York Town and Nassau Hall were the capitol of the United States for short periods of time.
Go to Part 6